An excerpt from a previous article penned by Bob Paden reads: “Why would anyone want to work for you and your business? I ask this of clients from time to time when the subject of hiring and retention comes up. Usually in the context of ‘I just can’t find good employees.’ While there is nothing wrong with that statement on its face, it ignores an underlying cause – not being able to find good employees is a symptom. Let’s not address the symptom, let’s address the root cause. There are usually a few root causes of this challenge for business owners.”
The article continues, “First, they really don’t know what they actually want or have never defined what a ‘good’ employee is. Is it in writing? Is there a job description with outlined responsibilities, more than the usual ‘I just need a salesperson?’ Does it outline responsibilities, expectations, goals? Is it clear to a 4th grader what the person is truly responsible for? What can they do on their own without approvals? Behind that, if they do meet the criteria for ‘good,’ what is in it for them? What’s possible? Where do they fall in the succession plan?
“Second, the method of how they find employees is in question. ‘I’ve put the job on Indeed, I just get a bunch of junk.’ I hear this one a lot. So my question is, why are you putting it on Indeed if all you get is junk?! I find that most businesses don’t really have a recruiting method or pipeline defined. Where are their current best employees coming from? How did they find you? How did you find them? Is there a common thread in those answers? As an example, in one business I coach that is more hands-on and industrial, they get their best employees from farms – farm kids. They already work with their hands, they understand machinery and they have a great work ethic. So that’s where they recruit. This brings up another common theme I run into – the pipeline. You can no longer rely on the old way of gaining employees out of trade school or college – other employers are beating you to the punch if you just sit and wait for the next tranche of kids to come out of school. You need to identify the source and work to develop your own pipeline source and methods. This requires you to work on the last thing.
“Last, why should someone come to work for you and your business? You cannot assume they just will. Why? What makes your place of business so enticing to come work that they’ll not go somewhere else? I’m not talking foosball tables and Friday beer parties (well, maybe). I’m talking culture. I’m talking atmosphere. I’m talking purpose. Why do you exist? If you can’t answer that question, you’re going to be faced with the same problem you have in finding clients – you cannot articulate why someone should trust you with their livelihood and why they should get out of bed, get up and come to work for you. It’s a unique value proposition, same as in marketing and sales. It may even be the exact same value proposition.”
Address these three critical areas, and you may just find that attracting and keeping good talent becomes much easier, more profitable, and far less frustrating.
Need help addressing these three issues? I can and have helped many businesses solve this problem. With people exiting businesses right and left, there’s never been more urgency. Let’s talk. Bob Paden
Drilling down to the nuts and bolts
A December 2021 Forbes.com article describes the high cost of dissatisfied employees: “Recruiting an outsider will cost about 84% of their yearly salary, according to Deloitte. The numbers on opportunity cost are going to be squishy, but that doesn’t keep consultancies from making estimates…Gloat cites Gartner on the cost of turnover due to a lack of career development and internal mobility to just an average-sized company is $49 million…Another study says that on average employees stay 41% longer at companies that regularly hire from within. Gallup says disengaged employees have 37% higher absenteeism, 18% lower productivity and 15% lower profitability, resulting in a cost of 34% of that employee’s salary to the business…Deloitte says it takes two years for a new hire to learn an organization and its processes.”
In assessing hybrid workforce opportunities stemming from the pandemic, a cmswire.com article details steps to “Countering the Great Resignation: 4 Tips to Creating a Connected Hybrid Workforce.” While this article focuses on hybrid workforce evolution, the tips offered are very valuable to getting and keeping top talent in any situation.
Notes the article: “While none of us can predict the future, one item should be at the top of every company’s to-do list: employee care. Why? Your employees want a better work experience. And if they can’t get it from you, they’ll go somewhere else…The long months of the pandemic planted the seeds of employee flight. As employees got a taste of working remotely with a more flexible schedule and increased autonomy, many began to reevaluate their aspirations. The suffering brought on by the pandemic, and the extreme isolation of widespread shut-downs served as stark reminders that life is short and relationships — with co-workers, friends, family, employers and even their work itself — are essential to their quality of life. Because of this, the environmental and relational aspects of a job now outpace pay incentives for many employees.”
The article identifies four steps to help create a positive workforce environment, thereby encouraging employee loyalty and longevity:
“1. Nurture Connection and Inclusion Through Recognition”…The article notes that recognition needs to come from everywhere (top-down, bottom-up, and peer-to-peer). The article points out that belonging is basic to human well-being, and employees increasingly are looking to work to provide it—linking a culture of gratitude helps build relationship.
“2. Encourage Performance Management Grounded in Empathy”…According to the article, team managers who work from a place of empathy and put employee needs first are “more innovative, better-engaged, more productive, and less prone to becoming embroiled in conflict.”
“3. Provide Generous Opportunities for Growth”…The article emphasizes that building professional development opportunities is a major factor in employee decisions to work with a company, and adds that more than half of employees don’t feel they get sufficient growth opportunities: “If you want to keep your best employees in this competitive talent market, lean into mentorships, opportunities to develop new skills and conversations about emerging interests.”
“4. Supply Whole-Person Care”…Notes the article, 60% of employees prioritize mental health benefits and say they will influence future job choices: “Yet an equal number believe their employer prioritizes profits over people, which doesn’t bode well for those organizations when it comes to recruiting and retaining a talented workforce. That’s why employee well-being must be a priority for business leaders in 2022…Employees are fleeing environments they experience as merely transactional, in favor of workplaces where physical wellness, emotional and mental health, community connection, career growth, financial resilience and a sense of purpose-filled work are prioritized.”
The challenges are clear. The needs and wants are clear. The future of many companies is inextricably tied to getting and keeping good people. If now isn’t the time to make this a top priority, when will the time be right?