The Key to Hiring & Keeping the Best Employees For Your Company – Part 1
Nothing but the best employees.
I saw my first human totem pole under a fiery sunset reflecting off a rolling-molten glass of an ocean somewhere in Mexico.
I don’t know what it’s really called.
Around 12, I think that was the number they’d stacked – 12 grown men standing on each other’s shoulders – when a little guy near the bottom sneezed.
You know what happened next.
All it takes is one weak link to bring a team crashing to the ground.
It happens to business owners every year, when they fail to hire the best.
Nothing but the best employees.
That should be your mantra. Or you know, motto or something.
Sadly, most people don’t focus on hiring the way they should.
Let me put it this way. Nothing shifts your company’s culture like hiring.
It WILL make your organization. Or break it.
Why People Don’t Make it a High Priority
We burn through loads of time and energy on marketing, because we know how important it is.
So why not hiring?
Fact is, recruitment is marketing.
You’re putting out an advertisement (your job post) to attract a new asset (a strong employee).
Just because your ad’s purpose is to pull in human capital instead of sales, doesn’t make it any less valuable than any other form of marketing.
In fact, a good employee should be saving and/or making your company money on a regular basis. So in reality, a good employee is a cashflow generator, making human capital incrementally more valuable than a one-time sale.
Here’s the real reason people don’t spend much time on the hiring process.
It’s not fun.
It’s less glamorous. It’s tedious. Boring. So they spend less time on it. And when they do take action, they hire in short, desperate bursts to catch up.
That’s one of the worst mistakes you can make. Rushing the hiring process results in poor employees slipping through the cracks.
Sure it’s an overused concept, but it’s worth repeating: Hiring is a marathon. If you treat it like a sprint, you’ll run out of time and energy, which leads to burnout. Which leads to hiring bad employees. Which leads to a rotting team culture, including poor work ethic, attitude, communication and values.
Why You Should Make Hiring a Higher Priority
Alright. We’ve established that hiring moves the needle more than any other activity. But why?
Employees are the building blocks of your company’s culture. That makes hiring the foundation of getting and keeping golden, granite-solid talent. Which is truly what makes or breaks your company.
Your culture is everything. You can hire the best people ever, pour non-stop buckets of cash all over them, and they still won’t stay if you missed that memo.
If you throw people into a poor culture, it doesn’t matter how good they are. They’ll either get pulled down to everyone else’s level, or leave.
Here’s another thing. You aren’t the person doing most of the work. Your employees are.
Your name is associated with your customer experience, but they’re the face of the organization.
Thankfully, you can influence them in a way that enhances your culture from the top down. And when you do that, it’ll come back to you from the bottom up.
That influence starts with the job post you write (or have written). But the most vital time to demonstrate your values and culture (and evaluate their’s) is during the interview (s) and the first few weeks.
That’s when your new employee grows an understanding of his or her new community. Speaking of understanding (and lack of it)…
There’s a lot of misconceptions in the hiring process.
Here’s one of the biggest hiring myths:
Good employees are expensive.
Fact: They aren’t. Strong employees are solid business assets.
They help make more money and create a good experience for everyone who comes into contact with your organization.
Inside and out of it.
It’s not how fancy your building is, or how great it looks, and it’s not even about how professional or skilled you are. It’s about the people.
Are they building your organization up or tearing it down?
Team culture is the difference between a 6 and 7 figure business.
5 Steps For the Perfect Hiring Process
It’s not easy to perfect your hiring process. But it is doable, and necessary.
The steps below are the closest we’ve come to the holy grail of the hiring process.
First things first. Priorities. The best thing you can do, by far…
…pull hiring up to at least your top 3. Should it be #1? Yes.
Is it unrealistic to shift hiring from last-ish priority to first, right away? Maybe. Maybe not. It all depends on you and the people helping you, as well as your leadership and ability to adapt.
Here’s 5 steps for a (nearly) perfect hiring process:
► Have a Solid Recruiting Pipeline. Some people call it a recruiting pool or recruiting network. The goal is to create a deep and never-ending ocean of high-skill, high-potential recruiting prospects who are interested in working for you NOW. When your pipeline is healthy and deep, you’ll be able to fill a recently opened position by simply calling a few of your best prospects, scheduling a few interviews and picking the best fit for your company. It’s a never-ending process, built for the long-term, so stay on top of it at all costs.
► Stay Organized. Keeping all your paperwork and processes in order can be tough. But it pays off big in the end.
► Make it Your Top Priority. It’s worth saying twice. Your culture depends on it, so there’s nothing more vital to your company’s success.
Spend 25% of your week on hiring. And spend time meeting with them. 2-3 mornings per week is about right.
► Make sure all your paperwork is in line. Make it super-easy to understand, and ready to roll right out the gate, and again, prioritize. Have a gameplan.
► Fine-Tune Your On-boarding Process. What does your on-boarding experience look like? Make sure that everybody in your company is creating a value-adding first impression.What metrics must the new hire hit to be successful?
The first few weeks, again, are vital, as your new employee transitions into your company.
Here’s a true story about a lioness (from one of those nature channels, I forget which one) to demonstrate why.
She was possibly the strongest member of a pride she’d recently joined. She was the best huntress, the healthiest and had the biggest pearly fangs of the bunch. Three brothers led the pride that they’d recently inherited from the deceased king of the pride, who had just died in battle over territory. They were young, scruffy-maned males who instantly started fighting for her attention. They had loads of future potential, but right now? They were inexperienced, physically and emotionally fragile teens. Worse still, the lionesses were jealous, lazy, and catty (pun thoroughly intended).
The lioness stayed with the pride for about a week. Just long enough to assess her new community’s culture, leadership, and future potential. She had not only herself, but her future cubs to think of. By the end of the week, she had relocated to a competing pride. The narrator pointed out how she quickly gave up the #1 position in her new tribe, and a sure guarantee of a steady flow of animal-income (cubs), for a pride where she was only average.
Why? Culture. That’s why.
Similar to a strong lioness, a strong new employee will:
► Either bail (or worse, become a bad employee) if the community is weak.
► Prefer good leadership, a strong potential for growth, stability and a positive, hard-working team culture over a big salary.
► Search out a stable, high-potential environment until they find it, then work like an animal to build the company up in every way they can (Hence the importance of this stage of the hiring process).
► The key difference between the lioness and your new employee is a massive gap in intelligence. They’ll figure out whether their new community is good or garbage pretty fast.
Sidenote – Ever wish you had a culture-measuring gauge? Well, now you do. Keep your eye on your new employees and you’ll learn a lot about your company. If your culture is going bad, they’ll show it.
They’ll show it if it’s good too.
Behavioral trends – that’s what you’re looking for. Everybody has a bad day every once in awhile. Everybody has good days too. Your employees should trend almost completely on the good side of the culture coin.
So other than apathy, why do most companies fail to hire amazing employees?
From what I’ve seen, it’s mostly a lack of empathy. Which brings us to the meat and potatoes…
…in The Key to Hiring & Keeping the Best Employees For Your Company – Part 2 (next week on Thursday).
See you then!