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6 Things the Smartest Leaders Do to Hire and Keep Great Employees

Practical tips on attracting top people are good. But ways to keep them from jumping ship are even better.

By G-Stock Studio/Shutterstock
By G-Stock Studio/Shutterstock

In a tight labor market, competition is fierce to recruit top talent. And while recruiting presents its own distinct challenges, retention is what makes the difference for the long-term success of your company.

I recently had the chance to connect with four high-powered executives who have mastered the art of doing both for their businesses. Their insights offer practical tips on how to not only hire top people that will grow your business but the ways to keep them from jumping ship.

Here are six key strategies they shared with me via e-mail:

1. Refine your search process to be mission-driven.

Retaining top talent starts at the recruiting process, way before anyone actually joins your team. According to Frank Milner, President of Tutor Doctor, the search process for any potential job candidate requires one to measure not only the individuals’ skillset but also their interests and mindset.

Milner explains, “It is about finding people who truly connect with the purpose of your brand, and are looking to develop both themselves and your organization throughout the whole process.”

He adds, “When we find individuals who share our mission, the steps we take to invest in their long-term growth and development become so much more worthwhile.”​

2. Seek to complement skills and fill your gaps.

When it comes to hiring top talent, Cathy Skula, Executive Vice President of Franchising for Rent-A-Center encourages leaders to have the discipline to hire someone who complements their skills and fills in their gaps.

Skula explains: “Resisting the urge to hire someone who reminds you of yourself is key to finding the right person for the job and not just someone who mimics your strengths.”

Skula says leaders should be looking for talent with not only the personality to fit in with the team and culture, but someone who also possesses the confidence and influencing skills to challenge the team to improve.

Once you have found the right fit for your position, get to know them right away by connecting with them. Skula suggests finding out what is most important for each person to get from their job (is it money, promotion, recognition, time with family, etc?) and then help them achieve it.

3. Identify shared passions.

Matthew Eichhorst, President of Expedia CruiseShipCenters, argues that it’s imperative to identify if your talent shares the same passion for what your company does.

Eichhorst, who oversees the performance of over 7,000 team members suggests that during the interview, “tailor conversational questions that will clearly reveal whether or not the potential employee supports your company’s mission and cares about your work and your customers.”

Eichhorst says this strategy allows you to ascertain whether the candidate understands who your company’s true customer is and the value they can bring them.

4.  Continuously check-In.

Once you officially hire your highly sought out employee, carve out time quarterly to sit down with them to temperature-check their experience, says Dan Tarantin, President and CEO of Harris Research, Inc. (HRI), the parent company of home service franchise brands like Chem-Dry Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning and others.

Are they happy and challenged in their roles? Are there things you could be doing that would help them to be more productive or more effective? Allowing for honest and regular (not once a year) communication on their performance, accomplishments, and development opportunities will demonstrate that not only does their performance matter to you but their professional growth and happiness matter as well.

5. Challenge your employees.

During those check-in meetings, Tarantin explains that you’ll be able to determine which employees are looking for more opportunity, want to learn, and have a growth mindset.

“Give those individuals added responsibility, expose them to more areas of the business, empower them with the necessary tools needed to succeed, and have them report back,” shares Tarantin.

This will build a culture of recognizing, rewarding and supporting people who want to step up and increase their impact on the business.  He adds, “Making sure they understand the value of what they do for the company and how they fit into the big picture is immensely valuable.”

6. Foster respect in the workplace.

For Tarantin, so much of retention lies in employees feeling appreciated, valued and respected in the workplace. You can foster a culture of respect and employee value by creating a work environment that practices these things on a regular basis:

  • Continuous constructive feedback.
  • Recognition for outstanding work or results.
  • Demonstrating the impact that the company’s work has on its customers.
  • Encouraging creativity and risk-taking.
  • Creating a committee who brainstorms and plans company activities and gatherings.

Originally published on Inc.

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