How to Recruit and Retain the Best People

How to Recruit and Retain the Best People

More than half of businesses across the nation report a talent shortage, which means employees are calling the shots.

Failure to treat your people well and recognize them for a job well done causes turnover, which costs a lot of money for your business.

In a recent report by TINYpulse, employees who don’t feel recognized for their work are almost 2x as likely to job hunt. And the average cost of losing an employee, according to an Employee Benefits News study, is 33% of their annual salary.

Recruiting, retaining, and engaging your employees is an investment that shouldn’t be overlooked.

To help you prevent employee turnover, ActionCOACH’s Mark and Rick Phelps provide guidance on how you can recruit and retain the best people.

Hire Slow, Fire Fast

It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of filling a position right away. Time is limited, and you’re already stretched thin.

So before you fill a role with the first able-bodied person you find, try to take a step back and look at the person holistically.

Do they have a passion and vision? A spirit and heart for the work? 

Taking a slower, more qualitative approach to hiring will prevent you from making the one common mistake that most business owners make – hiring fast and firing slow. 

“I talk to business owners all the time, and they say the biggest mistake that they’ve made is taking too long to fire someone who is not a good fit for their company,” said Mark Phelps.

Under the ActionCOACH system, Mark and Rick advise to hire slow and fire fast. 

First, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got the right person during your recruitment. 

Depending on the role, Mark suggests recruiting candidates based on qualifications, credentials, cultural fit, or past experience. 

It’s also a good practice to consider if the candidate’s personality style matches the type of work required within the role. 

For instance, if you have two, equally qualified candidates for a role that requires solitary work, and the first candidate enjoys interacting with people but the second candidate prefers to work alone, the second person might be the best fit for the role in the long term. 

Once you’ve found a candidate who is the right fit for the role, you’ll want to set expectations of him or her on the day that they’ve been hired.

This can be included as part of the employee’s onboarding process. 

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Set Clear Expectations

A successful onboarding experience helps new hires understand their roles and day-to-day responsibilities, and it won’t leave them guessing if they’re meeting your expectations. 

Expectations should be clearly communicated up front by the manager, as well as the consequences of what will happen if expectations are not met.

Coaches Mark and Rick suggest putting the new hire on a 30-day or 90-day probation period. 

“If the candidate doesn’t meet the expectations during that time frame, that will be the end of the engagement. There won’t be any confusion or questions,” said Rick Phelps.

Additionally, to ensure all parties involved stay accountable, Mark and Rick suggest regular performance reviews between managers and employees.

“Do the due diligence with the person, and score him or her based on the original agreed-upon expectations,” said Mark. 

You’ll do a better job setting up your team for success if you slow down your hiring process, hire the best-fit candidate, make expectations known right away, and continuously follow up on the employee’s progress in meeting those expectations.

Pay at the Top

Now that you’ve got a great team in place, how do you keep them?

There are many factors to consider when it comes to employee retention, including salary and benefits.

Coach Rick says offering exceptional compensation is a good place to start when trying to retain top talent.

“One of the key questions we like to ask our clients early on is, ‘From a pay standpoint, are you compensating your employees at the top of the scale or the bottom of the scale? Where do you fall?’” said Rick.

Most of the time, business owners pay their team members a livable wage that falls in the middle of the pay scale.

“At ActionCOACH, we advocate to pay at the top of the scale,” said Mark. “If you want to have an exceptional team, pay them exceptionally well.”

“And if your business can’t afford top-notch people then improve your business; improve your value proposition, or improve your pricing so that everyone wins.”

Rick goes on to say that employees who are compensated well will likely provide customers with better service. Happier customers means the employees, too, will have a better experience.

“Running things tight and lean, is just mean,” said Rick. “Work on making your business viable so that you can pay your team livable wages.”

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Open Lines of Communication

Retaining the best people starts at the top with strong managers and leaders. 

The effect of poor management on employee retention can’t be understated. Nearly half of employees leave a company because of a bad manager.

To keep people longer, Mark and Rick suggest setting clear lines of communication that flow both ways between employees and managers.

Tools such as 360-degree feedback and ActionCOACH’s WIFLE can be administered to your team by a coach to facilitate communication and create greater alignment. 

The 360-degree feedback is a tool that helps a person understand what others think of them, mainly their strengths and weaknesses. Typically, it includes confidential and anonymous feedback from an employee’s manager, peers, and direct reports. 

For leaders, the assessment provides greater insight into the opinions of the people on their team and whether they’re engaged and committed to the organization’s goals.

“Sometimes we assume people are on board because they smile and nod. Or we can make assumptions about other people that don’t need to be made,” said Mark. “The 360-degree assessment is a great tool for understanding what others really think of you.”

ActionCOACH can also administer WIFLEs to help bring small and large teams into alignment.

“WIFLE stands for What I Feel Like Expressing. It’s a structured process that gives everyone on your team the opportunity to voice their concerns or whatever it is they’re feeling,” said Mark.

The WIFLE creates a safe space for all employees to speak up, but it’s especially conducive for quieter and less outgoing employees to make their voices heard.

“If all we do is listen to the outspoken employees, then we lose out on a lot of great insight into our organization and what we can be doing better,” said Mark. 

Align Your Team

Creating a culture where everyone feels appreciated and valued is integral to employee productivity, employee loyalty, and business success.

“Life is about being significant…Feeling that you are significant, and that your work is meaningful and has a greater purpose,” said Rick.

When you create open lines of communication with your team, each person is empowered to speak up and knows the role he or she plays in achieving your business’s goals. 

“Once everyone in your organization understands the common goal, your business is aligned, and all of your people are moving in the same direction,” said Rick. 

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Rick Phelps coaches business owners and their leadership teams to create and sustain cultures and systems with the goal of providing spectacular results.

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