by Mike Campion — Originally published in the June 2017 issue of ISSA
Do you have employees that you constantly need to coddle, and cajole? Are their needs and wants constantly changing? Do you feel like you can’t afford to pay what it takes to get—and keep—top talent?
You are about to discover five actionable strategies to help you find—and keep—the best employees without spending the gross domestic product of Uzbekistan in payroll; none of the five strategies are about base salary, benefits, or bribing. Think more effective and less expensive. Imagine your company as the sole provider, the only source of something special that your employees are desperately looking for and can’t find anywhere else.
Key strategies to find and keep top talent
No. 1. Build a community—not a workforce
Creating a sense of community works just as well for new hires but chances are you are not hiring people for their first job. Some may even be coming from jobs they hate, employment that paid the bills and nothing else. Invite prospective employees to join a community, not sign up for another less-than-fantastic job.
When you create a community of people with shared values that care about each other, the tendency to steal, quit, come in late, complain, whine, or partake in other nonproductive behavior decreases exponentially.
Typical onboarding of new employees:
Step 1—Comply with these many rules
Step 2—There is no step two
Community-based onboarding of new employees:
Step 1—Build an appealing community
Step 2—Invite talented people into that community
Step 3—Reinforce what it means to be a good community
Step 4—Work happily ever after.
No. 2. Provide a sense of purpose
Once you build a community, your team will have a sense of belonging. Supercharge that with a sense of purpose, and your organization becomes extremely sticky to top talent. People desperately want to be a part of something bigger than them. Something they can—and do—believe in; provide that for your employees and prepare for an avalanche of talent on your doorstep.
Don’t be fooled by the old, “Sure that works for brain surgeons, but MY business is different…” nonsense. Whether you own an industrial plant, a distributorship, or a cleaning company, the only reason you are in business is that you provide value to and for the people you serve.
If you are categorically closed to the idea that your business changes lives (and in the cleaning business there is really no excuse for this) adopt a cause. Become active in your community; give to a charity. Do something as a team that creates value and gives everyone a reason to be excited to get to work day-in and day-out! If you aren’t careful, you just might find yourself and your employees becoming addicted to making the world a better place.
No. 3. Offer experiences over expenses
Do you have a trip that you took as a child that you still look fondly back on or a holiday that you will never forget? Maybe you took a vacation years ago where everything went wrong, but you and your family still vividly remember and talk about it?
Salary and benefits are commodities. A sense of purpose in a community of people you care about are not. A study by Harris Group found that 72 percent of millennials prefer to spend more money on experiences than on material things. Shared experiences build bonds, families, communities, and companies.
Don’t just hope these experiences happen, create them! Hold monthly events. Rent a bounce house. Find comically oversized sumo suits employees can battle to the death in….Whatever appeals to help create experiences for your employees that build community. And don’t keep the fun to yourself. Invite employees’ families, customers, prospects, prospective employees, even vendors! All of this creates an environment your team is proud to be a part of and makes it very difficult for them to leave.
No. 4. Show appreciation
This is your “secret” weapon. Not only can it be had for the low, low price of zero dollars, it can be the most valuable.
Once you have built this community that the members are proud to be a part of, are working towards worthy goals, and sharing experiences that bond everyone together, your employees will crave recognition from you and the community. Give it to them by the boatload. When you have events give awards, lots of awards. Not just the typical performance-based awards. Go award crazy. A few examples to get your creative juices flowing: Best hair, customer favorite, arm-wrestling or ping-pong champion, Most organized…., Whatever comes to mind!
Small things like this make big differences in employees’ lives and their contributions to your organization. Few things are more rewarding than receiving awards and having pictures taken of you handing an employee an award and seeing it proudly displayed in his /her home years later. So let loose; use your imagination and show your workers how much you care. You might just be surprised that you are the one who reaps the most benefit.
No. 5. Pull it all together with core values
Core values are your true “secret sauce” to attracting top-level talent without breaking the bank. Shared core values are the rules your company lives by to create community. These are not an old-school string of meaningless words displayed on a plaque at your front office, but rather, three to four key beliefs summed up in a word or two each. They are the guiding principles that provide your company’s special brand of awesome. They are the final secret that brings the first four all together and gives them power.
Core values are a golden thread that runs throughout your company and should be visible everywhere, included in your employment ads and on your website, sprinkled throughout your interview and employee review processes—even scripted into your on-hold phone messaging.
It is impossible to get people to act outside of their true beliefs for an extended amount of time. It is much easier—and far more enjoyable—to help people live out mutual beliefs and values for the benefit of a larger shared purpose.
Mike Campion is a speaker, entrepreneur, and author of I’m a Freaking Genius, Why is This Business So Hard? For more information, visit www.MikeCampion.com.