We all struggle with attracting and keeping the right people for our businesses. It is a challenge that encompasses all industries and business sizes.
There is good news. If you understand today’s workforce and focus on maximizing the right things, you’ll never have a shortage of great people.
Understanding the Workforce
The workforce is a multi-generational, diverse group of people. As you look for candidates, consider why they’re looking for a job in the first place. Are they unemployed? Are they uninspired, or bored, in their current job? Are they underappreciated? The first key to understanding each candidate is to understand why they’re applying with your business.
Develop Your Strategy
The first key to a successful strategy for attracting and retaining great people is to have a clear idea of who is right for you. What kind of person fits your company culture? Do you know exactly what you’re looking for?
Some people hire based on an applicant’s technical skills. Yet all the experience in the world cannot cancel out a toxic attitude or poor work ethic. Training can’t fix that.
In addition, sometimes experience at another company can work against you. For example, as a Kansas City landscaper, at my company, we often discover that it’s difficult to hire people who have worked at other landscape companies because we hold ourselves to a higher standard. When someone is used to lower standards, they may have a difficult time raising them, although it isn’t impossible. But it’s usually easier to work with a person on their technical skills.
So, identify what kind of person is right for you. Then, consider whether your company culture attracts that type of person.
Remember to hire for attitude and work ethic, and train on the technical skills.
Ignite a Purpose and Passion
We all want to be significant. More and more employees are motivated by the idea of being significant. They want to be part of a bigger mission or purpose. Younger generations, in particular, tend to desire having a purpose. Older generations tend to value stability. The truth is, no matter which generation you’re focusing on, most people value stability and purpose.
So, have an inspiring vision and coach team members to understand how their roles are significant.
Consistently remind your team they’re not average; they’re important.
When critical feedback is needed, use it as an opportunity to remind employees of two things:
- Failure is an event, not a person.
- They have talent, and challenge them to develop and use it fully.
Believe in your team. Believe in your vision. Communicate that you believe.
Live the Culture
Your company culture is a combination of what your company believes and how you act behind the scenes and in public. You must intentionally create a culture. If you don’t, a “default” culture will be in place. Cultures can be either positive or negative. By creating a culture and living it, you’ll create the “secret sauce” that helps set your company apart for your staff.
Five core values shape the culture at High Prairie Landscape Group:
- Do the right thing. ALWAYS.
- Over-achieving is a way of life. Why be average when you can be amazing?
- People matter. We’re a team. We succeed together and we fail together. We build each other.
- Innovation and growth are our core differentiators. We believe in always growing and educating ourselves.
- We serve others first. Our unique culture works because we’re all servants at heart. We’re here to help. Help each other and help our clients.
On first contact with a potential employee, talk about your culture and tell potential staff your core values. Their reaction to your values will tell you if they’re a good fit. Watch their body language. Are they excited by your values?
Post your values on your website. Tell people what you believe and how you operate.
Remind existing staff of your values. Create core value posters and place them where your team can be reminded.
Act according to your values. Don’t claim to do the right thing and then cut corners. Always “walk the talk.”
Reward and Appreciate
Reward the staff who make your company special by living your values.
Determine what is most important to track and reward staff for succeeding. Rewards should match what is important to your team. Remember, it isn’t just monetary gain. Hiring someone who is chasing more money or expecting to keep someone just by paying them more is not a sustainable business practice. Somewhere, some desperate business can offer more money at any time and steal your staff. If your staff doesn’t have other reasons for being at your company, they’ll be gone as soon as the offer comes in. Show them appreciation and make them feel significant. Pay them well, but don’t use money as your sole tactic.
Intentionally show appreciation. Acknowledge specifically what they’re doing well. Don’t give a blanket “thanks” statement.
Grow Your People
If you invest in your team and help grow them, they’re less likely to feel stagnant or like they’re hitting a glass ceiling. Growing your people helps provide purpose. The only argument for not investing in your people is being afraid of losing them and having them become competition. One anonymous quote that summarizes this message is:
CFO asks CEO: “What happens if we invest in developing our people and then they leave us?”
CEO: “What happens if we don’t and they stay?”