It happens every day: your best and brightest employees up and leave with little warning. You shake your head and wonder what has happened to cause them to decide to go after years of dedicated service? As the manager, you might immediately assume that it is because the employee was snatched up by a more prominent firm who can offer them more money, but in most cases, you’d be wrong. Countless studies show that income is only one piece of the puzzle that draws an employee into a job and is an even smaller piece of the puzzle that keeps them there in the long run. Because younger employees are so quick to change jobs, even if the money is good, this leaves employers like you scrambling to try to figure out what to offer your employees to keep them around. If money doesn’t speak as loud as it used to, how can you set the tone to get and keep good employees for the long haul? Let’s find out.
Start From Day One
You need to start setting the tone for your company long before you even hire your first employee. And that first employee will help set the tone for the next employee, and future employees will set the tone for the next group, and so on. It all starts with you, or whoever you are going to put in charge of the hiring process. If you want your business to be successful, it is essential to spending time thinking about how you want your company to run, who you imagine being in charge of certain aspects of your business, how they will treat the projects and tasks, where they will work, and the flow of a typical day. And then set the tone. While more and more companies are moving away from a top-down management style, founders, and senior management are still very influential.
The Hiring Process
Check out any online job board, and you’ll see plenty of companies trying to sell their culture like it’s made of gold. They all start the same way: “Do you want to work for a company that is innovative and likes to work hard and play harder?” Well, duh. Every company thinks they are innovative, and of course, companies are working hard to build their businesses. Don’t bother stating the obvious. Obvious breeds obvious. The more specific you get, the easier it will be for you to find the kind of people you WANT to work with, not just choosing from the pile of people who apply. If you want to work with people who are like you or the complete opposite for that matter, then put pen to paper and get specific.
Don’t Do All the Talking
When you finally comb through applicants and invite some in for an interview, let them do the talking first. Let them wow you. And be open to being wowed. People do incredible things, and they notice when people listen to them. So if you want to set the tone for your company as one that is open to hearing to its employees, let the interviewees talk. And don’t just tell them about the culture of your organization, show them. Of course, this is tricky if you don’t have any other employees. If that is the case, be clear that you need to hire someone who can paint the picture of the ideal culture, see it for what it should be, and then help to execute on it for the greater good of the company and its employees.
Money Matters… But Not Really
If you flash some cash in front of people, their eyes will light up. Everyone loves money. But if you highlight the opportunity for advancement, travel, training, mentorship, co-working, leadership, or any other of the great aspects about jobs that often get passed over because of money, people will also sit up and pay attention. A lot of really qualified people will take a role with the opportunity to grow before deciding on a high paying job that has no room to grow. If you can’t offer a lot of money, provide experience and a chance to have a hand in creating something amazing.
You Must Deliver
If you think that you can draw potential employees in with promises of glitz and glam and then skimp on the delivery, you are wrong. People remember what they were told, especially during an interview. You’ve probably had more than one employee say to you over the years that they expected to be making more money by now, or they thought they would have promoted faster, or thought they would have been able to travel more. Be very clear about your expectations as an employer, and give the potential employee a chance to express their aspirations. Give them room to clarify gray areas so they don’t come to you six months down the road asking what happened to their bonus.
If you want to attract and keep good employees for the long haul, it all starts with the onboarding process and setting the tone for the rest of their experience with your company. Happy hiring!