One of the most overlooked major expenses of a business is high turnover. This comes from employees that are dissatisfied, disengaged, or simply a bad fit for your business – but many businesses chug along, hiring and rehiring, training and re-training, without breaking down just how much money all of that is costing them. Well, I’m here to tell you: it’s a lot.
Instead of continuing to make bad hires and hemorrhage employees, why not focus on how to hire better workers and keep them longer? Let’s talk about how to do that.
This is not an article about how to pretend you have a great workplace – this is about how to convey your strengths as a company in your branding to attract better and longer term hires. One of the best ways to do that is to have an authentically good workplace and culture. You can do this in a number of different ways: investing in a nice, modern employee break room with amenities like craft beer on tap or video game consoles in the corner has basically become a meme for startups hoping to attract the “work hard, play hard” crowd that appreciates a company that wants to have fun. You can also set values that reflect the culture you wish to create: whether it’s making a commitment to being more eco-friendly or organizing volunteer events in your local community such as a fundraiser for a local animal shelter or kid’s baseball league. Showing that you care — and proving it in actions, not just words — will speak volumes to potential employees about the sort of place your business is to work in. It’s becoming more commonplace for companies looking to hire younger talent to include things like mission statements or values manifestos, and this is a good way to do that.
When you run a business that people genuinely want to work for, they will be your biggest fans and, in a way, your best salespeople. Happy employees tell other people how happy they are, and leave great reviews online about how great it is to work at a company that values and respects them. When you focus on the workers you have, they’ll pay you back tenfold – and they’ll stick around for the long run.
In a similar vein, when your employees are happy enough at work to brag about it online on Glassdoor (or any other review site), use it! Show that you’re proud of what your past employees have to say about working for you and showcase it on your website, and link to it in your job postings. Applicants trust third party, “neutral” judgments of what it’s like to work for you far more than anything you could tell them, so let the reviews do the talking.
It’s no secret that good benefits are hard to come by these days. A job that pays less can be worth far more if it comes with an incredible benefits package, especially one that includes healthcare and paid days off. When you add value to your positions by increasing benefits, you show your employees (present and future) that you care about them and want them to have an increased quality of life. Employees who don’t have to worry about paying for their own healthcare or feel like they can’t afford time off will stay longer (unless other companies offer significantly more), and applicants will weight those benefits highly when deciding where to apply.
One of the strongest signs of loyalty to those who have put in the time is to promote from within whenever possible. An employee that is promoted already understands the company, the needs of the position, and the work culture, whereas an outsider will have to pick up all of that information when they start (as quickly as possible). It shows your current employees that you want to have a long-lasting relationship with them and appreciate their diligence and willingness to grow and learn over time. Leveling up an employee as opposed to hiring an outsider does come with risks of choosing the “wrong” person and making whoever doesn’t get the promotion feel either jealous or disappointed that they weren’t picked for a position with more responsibility and better pay. But that’s still probably better than dropping in a completely new outsider into an authority position and making them take charge.
If you started from the bottom of the company and worked your way up, make note of the fact that there’s plenty of room for hard workers to rise like you did.
Your employees can often be your best source of ideas for inspiration and improvement, and when you brand yourself as open to ideas and suggestions, you’ll motivate your current workers and attract future ones that want an open environment. Some ways to do this are more literal in their nature: You can put up a problem board or suggestion box where ideas can be posted – and rewarded financially if they’re implemented. You can schedule “open” office hours where anyone who wants to talk to you about something may do so, without feeling tied down by a hierarchy or chain of command that normally dictates decision making.
Let folks know from the moment they interview for a position that they are going to get the same level of receptiveness and attention from you now as ever.
It’s the easiest — and hardest — thing you can ever do as a boss: admit you messed up. It’s not fun taking the blame, however deserved, for a mistake that was made. But when you’re in charge and can admit fault in front of the people on your team, it demonstrates a level of maturity, humility, and honesty that can heal damage and inspire others around you to hold themselves more accountable. As a result of that, you may lose face in the short run but win the loyalty and respect of the people who work
Do you have to tell prospective employees about all the times you were mistaken? No. But is it the sort of trait that will bring those Glassdoor ratings up when someone is researching your company and trying to decide if it’s worth applying? Absolutely.