A New Perspective On Hiring And Retaining Employees

Arlene Vernon

Many of us struggle to find the right employees for our organizations – finding the keepers. And many of us struggle to keep our top employees – keeping the keepers. In fact I just spoke on this topic for the MN Veterinary Practice Managers Network, as they were seeking some practical guidance on the topic.

The first question to ask yourself is whether you have a hiring issue, a top-performer retention issue or both. The second question is whether these issues are across the organization, or are they only issues for specific positions, departments, or locations. Once you’ve identified the problem, then you can start taking new actions and creating new solutions.

A colleague of mine, Cathy Fyock, has co-written a new book Hallelujah! An Anthem for Purposeful Work, that outlines key principles for developing a focus on what drives your employees to become engaged in their work.

Here are some practical “finding and keeping” tips from the book.

  • If you can’t tell an applicant why your service or company is important without words like “money,” “revenue,” “assets,” “profit,” or “market share,” then you’re hiring a laborer, not a committed employee. Discuss the opportunity you have to offer and how you make a difference in the lives of your employees.
  • You buy labor; you earn commitment. Salary and benefits are necessary to attract good employees, but not sufficient to retain them or to motivate them to excel. People will work for money, but they’ll show up with heart and soul for a cause.
  • Hire for values, train as needed. You can teach skills, but you and your staff can’t expect to teach work ethic and related values. Those were taught by parents, teachers, coaches, etc.
  • When screening applicants, search for those with proven accomplishments and talents, but with the added quality of overcoming obstacles, barriers, and hardships. These are the applicants who implicitly understand the power of commitment.
  • A mission statement is ultimately a statement about hopes, dreams, and purpose. If you don’t have a mission statement, write one now. In 40 or fewer simple, jargon-free, descriptive words, immediately comprehensible to all audiences, answer this question: How does our company improve the quality of life of its customers? Do this, tidy it up, and you have a mission statement; refer to it often.
  • Re-think your employee orientation programs. Turn them into employee welcoming programs focused on building loyalty. Teach your new hires policies, rules, and benefits after they have been formally welcomed and embraced, not before.
  • Ask applicants why they want to work for you and listen very closely. At that moment, they are practically telling you how good a fit they are for your organization.
  • If you’re a newer organization, talk about the legacy you want to create. If you’re an established organization and proud of your legacy, talk about it. If you’re an established organization and embarrassed about your legacy, start changing today.
  • Long-term success is driven by Why, What, and How. Short-term success is driven only by What and How.
  • Don’t get lost in the big data. Stay focused on your organization’s mission and on small, daily acts of purpose.

We get so wrapped up in how we’ve always done things, perhaps it’s time to hit the “refresh” button and try some new approaches to our old methodology. Whether you start by taking small steps towards changing your hiring and retention methods or whether you start from scratch to rebuild your hiring and retention strategies, what’s most important is that you start making strategic changes. Then evaluate each change to see whether it’s producing the results you’re seeking…tweak…try again…evaluate…tweak or move onto another area…and keep going until you’ve developed the right set of solutions.

If you want more information on Cathy Fyock’s co-written book, here’s a link: www.HallelujahTheBook.com

©2015 Arlene Vernon

About Arlene Vernon

Arlene has provided HR consulting and management training services to over 500 organizations since starting HRx, Inc. in 1992.

If you’re seeking a hands-on, practical HRxpert to assist your organization with employee relations, policy development, strategic HR activities or fun/doable management training, call on Arlene – Your HRxpert.

If you’re planning a conference, seminar or special event, Arlene specializes in keynotes, seminars and workshops to meet your talent management needs. And if you’re seeking a more lively entertaining activity, Arlene’s custom songs and musical-inspirational keynote may be perfect for your organization!

HRx, Inc., Eden Prairie, MN 55344, 952.996.0975ww.HRxcellence.com. Arlene@ArleneVernon.com

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