Manager's Corner: Gaining Employees

Manager's Corner
Gaining Employees

Here's something you already know: it's hard to find good, well-skilled employees. However, here's a truly scary fact: according to The Herman Group, national surveys are predicting that within 12 months, 75% of today's workers will be employed somewhere else.
That fact alone should be enough to cause you to break into a cold sweat -- if you haven't taken the steps to ensure your company's employee pool doesn't follow the national trend. Because this is such a huge issue, I want to focus this and the next two articles on this topic. In this article, I'll share some thoughts on how to first gain good employees. In the next two articles, I'll share ideas on how to train and retain your new and current employees.
Gaining, or finding and hiring, good employees is one of the most challenging, and re-curring problems confronting most organizations. We've all done it, and many still do: in our desperation to fill the empty position, we simply hire the most interested, and sometimes, the only applicant who appears close to what we're looking for. Then what often happens, is we end up paying an under-qualified individual more than current staff -- and quite often way more than we would have paid them if we weren't desperate. If that weren't bad enough, this overpaid new employee is quite often one of the first employees to leave, for the next job offered that pays even more -- and thus the cycle starts all over again. So what do we do? Stop acting for the short-term and start thinking for the long-term.
Ask yourself, is it really better to simply put just any one in this job and hope for the best? Or would it be better for my customers, my other employees, and my company in the long run, if we took just a bit more time and hired a good-fit for this position? If we panic over the possibility of having an open position, what overall damage could we do to our entire organization by placing someone who is not qualified in the position? We alienate current staff, we alienate customers, and we potentially damage our company's reputation and overall future growth. Given that, is it worth it?
So how do we streamline this hiring process and minimize its time-consuming and costly impact? Go direct to the potential employee. The days of running ads in newspapers, on-line, and posting Help Wanted signs are losing favor, because you and every other organization out there seeking qualified help are doing the same thing. As the marketing saying goes, What's your differentiator? What's going to set you apart from everyone else to position your ad (i.e., company) to be more attractive than everyone else's? Quite often, the differentiator becomes price - or the wage you are willing to pay.
The real solution takes a bit more time, but increases the potential for a better long-term fit. First, develop a solid, clear, and specific job description of what the individual filling the position will need to be able to do immediately, within the first 30, 60, and 90 days, as well as long-term. This provides a very clear roadmap for you and for them, as to what specific skills, characteristics, and behaviors you'll be looking for and they will need to exhibit. This helps in the screening and interview process, as well as on-the-job performance. Second, join the Internet age, and do what many other organizations are doing: social networking. Direct e-mail contacts you have and ask if they know of anyone who fits the description of the candidate you're looking to hire. This warm lead now draws you into an arena of individuals who are not actively looking for a new job, but are looking for one that provides growth opportunities, a better working environment and a "personalized-fit for them. These individuals can then look at the advertisement you've posted on your website or elsewhere and determine if it's right for them or someone else they know. This, in combination with other advertising modes, spreads the word quicker, faster, and wider than traditional ads to the general public. And third, interview well. Easy to say, not easy to do. It's well worth the money to hire a Human Resources consultant to help you learn how to interview well. A solid interview will help you identify stronger candidates from the weak. Pay now or pay later.
There are no guarantees to a good hire. But taking time up-front to lay the groundwork will reduce the likelihood, that your company faces a 75% turnover in employees over the next 12 months. Stop acting for the short-term and start thinking for the long-term.

Liz Weber of Weber Business Services, LLC. WBS specializes in Strategic, Business, and Succession Planning, as well as employee and leadership training. Contact: liz@wbsllc.com or 717-597-8890