How to Find and Keep Awesome Employees

Think about the last time you purchased a car. I'm willing to bet you spent hours scouring the internet, visiting car dealerships, researching makes and models, only to get to the test-drive phase.

After you settle on your car of choice, there are features to choose, payment plans to discern and endless paperwork to read and sign before you hit the road in your new ride. If we put this much time and consideration into buying cars, why don't we do the same with hiring those who work in our companies? 

Assembling a team is a lot like operating a vehicle. You have to give it the proper care and guidance to perform correctly. Just as your car can't run without an engine, your business can’t run without the right people. The better the team, the better the business will run. 

Hiring rockstars is only one part of the equation, now you have to keep them. Turnover is inevitable; needs change, relocation happens and passions shift. However, a recent study found that 75% of the reasons that employees leave don't actually come from these scenarios, but instead from factors like lack of career development, a toxic work environment or management behavior, according to Employee Benefit News

Turnover isn't just bad for morale, it's detrimental to your wallet. Save your time and money by getting it right the first time. Hiring the best employees for your business takes effort, but I promise you it’s always worth it in the end. 

So, how do you find – and keep – these awesome employees? Here's your go-to navigation guide.

Fuel up

Without the essentials, we can't even get going. When it comes to hiring, a structured process is going to be the fuel. First, do your research to identify the best websites to broadcast your position. Tools like LinkedIn Jobs, Indeed and Monster are a great start, but don't discount the power of your social media platforms to spread the word as well.

Once you know where you'll be finding candidates, craft a clearly defined job description, specifying the requirements as well as any qualities and experiences an ideal candidate would have. Lastly, don't forget to include your company's mission and values to ensure you attract someone who will perform well for you both professionally and personally. 

Use qualified mechanics

Once you have your detailed job description finalized and posted, it's time to narrow down applicants. If you don't have a designated HR team, identify a senior member of your team to lead or assist you in the recruiting and hiring process, in order to bring another set of helping hands and a second opinion to the decision.

While personality fit and skillset are important, you should also consider your long-term goals for this position and how it may evolve. I like to create a job scorecard that details desired objectives and outcomes of the position for the upcoming three months, six months or a year and look at your candidates' past experiences to see if they are able to fulfill those goals.

Test the spark plug

When one plug is off in a car, the entire system can be derailed. Similarly, it just takes one person to disrupt a carefully curated company culture. Besides including company culture information prominently on your job posting and company website, make it a point of discussion in your interviews and see how the candidates respond.

Ask them if company culture is important to them and what aspects they value. I've found that most of the time, employees that value the system will play an important part in maintaining the system. To further ensure continued camaraderie amongst the team, I always recommend having other members of your team conduct a group interview with the top few candidates to gauge the potential relationship between the candidate and your team. 

Take a test drive

While you'll never be able to get a complete view of how a person works until you hire them, make an effort to get to know them for more than just what is listed on their resume. Ask applicants to tell stories that illustrate the successes and challenges they've had throughout their careers. Can they reveal their biggest professional accomplishment? How they have overcome a workplace disagreement? A way they found an innovative solution to a problem? Where do they want to be professionally in 10 years?

The goal of your interview should be to grasp not just a picture of a candidate's experiences but their emotional intelligence level as well as situational behavior. This comprehensive knowledge will give you insight into how they will function in your organization, both personally and professionally. 

Keep up with maintenance

Don't wait until an emergency light is on – in your car or your business, to make a change. Keep your company running smoothly by being in tune to your team’s emotional state. How is the workload? Are they pleased with the current benefits being offered? Is there something easy and inexpensive you could do to recognize their hard work and loyalty?

The power of a thank you is underrated, with 79% of employees who quit their jobs claiming that a lack of appreciation was a major reason for leaving, according to CNBC. Appreciation doesn't have to be expensive. Start a "kudos" board where employees can write notes of thanks and recognition to each other. Implement a quarterly giveaway with prizes like gift cards or a free PTO day. Even just stocking the fridge with drinks and snacks is a small way to score big on the employee satisfaction chart. 

Look at potential upgrades

Just as your car will start to age, so, too, will your skills. The harsh reality is that what brought your company to where it is today isn't going to get it through to the next 10 years. Technology innovation and workforce change is inevitable, so do your part to make sure your staff is strong and prepared. Do you encourage professional development by offering tangible resources? If not, start by analyzing your budget to see if you could implement a professional development budget.

Besides financial resources, provide your employees with a list of local professional organizations, free online learning tools or opportunities for mentorship inside and outside of your company. Doing your part to decrease the skills gap in your team will help keep rockstar employees thriving. 

We spend more than 13 years of our life at work, according to the Huffington Post. That's a lot of time to be stressed, unhappy or surrounded by those who are. If you hire and keep people who aren't A-players and don't mesh with the corporate culture, it can hurt productivity, morale, and the company’s bottom line. Get it right the first time by solidifying your hiring goals, going deeper in the interview process, including your team, showing appreciation and encouraging growth. 



* This article was originally published here

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