A group of CEOs are sitting around a table, and one asks, “What is the greatest challenge in your business today?” The answers were all the same, “Finding and hiring great talent, the demand exceeds the supply.” No, this is not a comedy sketch, it is today’s reality.

If your answer is similar, you may be scratching your head trying to come up with your own creative solutions to attract, identify, and hire great talent for your business. The first step in this equation, is to be “ready” to hire when a great candidate is knocking at your door. This topic was discussed in the last “What the Hecht?” blog, titled “Ready to Recruit – Three things you need to do, right now!” Topics included, job descriptions, accelerated interviewing, and standards. In case you missed it, here is the link.

Ready to recruit? Three things you need to do, right now!

Now that you have recruited, interviewed, and hired the right candidate? What is next?

The first day on a new job is typically relational, educational, and memorable. Employees go out of their way to answer questions and help get the new hire off to a great start. The leader provides feedback and is encouraging, patient, and available. Everyone is on their best behavior this is the honeymoon phase.

After a few weeks, employees are more relaxed with each other. The new employee is trained, and the “normal” day-to-day rhythm returns. The leader is more focused on their own duties and may not be as attentive or approachable. The new employee is now having a different experience, and may wonder what has changed and which experience reflects the “real company?” The new employee may not feel as supported or special. If they have a question, there may not be the immediate response. The employee may see a gap between what the company says and what the company does, this is reflection of an inconsistent culture. Over time, their enthusiasm may diminish. Guess what, another company comes along and offers a “supposed” better experience, more money, coaching and upward mobility, and the employee quits! The leader heaves a sigh and says, “here we go again” and the cycle repeats.

How do you break this pattern? Hire employees every day of their career!

What does this mean? The leader must put in place processes, feedback, systems, etc. that are personal and engaging, and recapture the feeling of the new hire experience.

Here are things you can do to hire employees every day of their career!.”
Say hello to your employees every day. Ask, “how are you?” Listen to their responses and follow-up in successive conversations. Take a note in your phone or on an index card as a memory jog, then the next time you can ask, “How is your new car?” or “Is your daughter excited about prom?” This may sound like relationship 101 but acknowledging and remembering those things that are important, tell your employee that you are listening.
Schedule a one-on-one meeting (10 minute) with each employee once per month or quarter. The purpose is to focus on their job, performance, and needs. Discuss strengths, successes, goals, training, ideas, and areas of opportunity. Take notes for follow-up.
Be available. The leader must make time to answer questions, gather ideas, and role model the behaviors desired by the team. When the leader is always busy and responds in a rushed manner, it sends a message that the employee’s needs are not important, and this type of behavior is acceptable.
Identify and provide opportunities to learn. Cross train, this enhances the skills of the employee, fosters relationships, creates camaraderie, and prepares the company for a future “what if” situation.
Schedule “ad hoc” team meetings. Celebrate success, recognize performance, and communicate company information.
Encourage and reward ideas that help the company move forward. Encourage idea generation, after all they know how the operations work and what may need to be changed. Thank employees for their creative insight and reward those that you implement. Consider COVID-19, many new modes of operation and changes were identified through out-of-the box thinking. Many of these had positive impact and will be maintained in the future.

You are probably thinking, it sounds like a lot of work, I do not have time for this. You are correct, it is work! But, the time you spend fostering relationships and providing feedback with your team is significantly less than the time and money spent recruiting, interviewing, and hiring.

Consider, if you took a snapshot of your work environment today, does it reflect the energized and positive first day experience of a new employee? Or is the business you in a typical rhythm, and it feels “same old-same old?” What needs to be changed to impact morale, and communicate the leadership commitment to retain existing employees?

During the COVID-19 lockdown, I craved living things, and filled my home with plants. I would purchase a new plant, place it in a beautiful pot, ensure it was in the right spot for appropriate sunlight, water it feed it, play music, and tend to it. My plants are thriving and growing. I care for my plants and because I nurture their growth, I do not need to buy new plants. The characteristics I practices are true for your business and employees!

When you create an environment that fosters growth, your employees flourish. When you treat your employees with concern and respect, they thrive, and stay in your organization for a long time.