Hiring In A New Era
“I’d be happy to get any applicants, much less well qualified applicants,” a woman said to me as we sat on a patio in Ericeira, Portugal overlooking the Atlantic ocean. We were at a business conference discussing our focuses for the week and hers was hiring.
I also spoke with someone at the conference who has a team member who simply isn’t performing in the way the company needs them to. In fact, multiple business owners have spoken to me about this issue in the past few weeks.
At the same time, some companies aren’t performing as well as they need to. Mass layoffs are taking place and I’ve watched as multiple friends and family members have lost their jobs and are now re-evaluating their careers entirely.
It’s hard to get a read on exactly what’s happening right now. Some articles say we’re in a “workers labor market,” while others say we’re in an “employers labor market.” The conclusions being drawn depend on who you ask and what industry they’re looking at. And as with anything, there is nuance and complexity.
But one thing is clear to me about this moment in time - our agreements about why and how we work are getting re-written. What once worked is no longer yielding the same results.
So, what can founders do to adapt? Focus on connection, relationships, and creativity. As with any relationship, a working relationship needs to be mutually beneficial for it to be healthy, productive, and long-term. Here are 3 foundational components of attracting team members in a way that is both relationship-focused and effective.
Create a Communication Strategy
Do you have a strong message about why your business is unique? In the same way you would do this for a customer, do this for your team. Why should they want to work with you as opposed to someone else?
What do you stand for and what is the role the business plays in society? What’s the impact you’re making?
Is there something that potential team members may not fully understand about working with your business? Are you providing educational content about this?
A great example of this is Gusto’s Careers page:
If you’re not sure how to answer these questions, talk to your current team members. Ask them what they enjoy about working for the company and where they see opportunities for improvement.
Remember, you’re in a relationship with your team members, so how can you continue to make the experience feel relational? The best way to understand the perspective of your team is to ask them and then listen.
Clearly Define Who You’re Looking For
Do you have clear job descriptions?
What are the hard skills and the human connection skills (aka soft skills) required for the position? What does your business need from this person?
What does it look like on a daily basis to have a fully engaged and successful person in this role? How will you measure success?
What does your ideal team member need and desire in their life? Can you provide that?
Who are they outside of work? What do they enjoy? Where do they hang out? (This will help you understand where to post jobs.) Again, in the same way you’d identify this for a customer, do it for your team.
For examples, click into the job descriptions on Gusto’s Careers page or check out Chani Nicholas’s Careers page.
Notice the way they describe both the hard skills and the human connection skills. See how they write the job descriptions to present an opportunity that is mutually beneficial to both the company and the potential team member.
Every time a team member is hired, relationships are formed that will need to be maintained. So who do you want to be in a working relationship with?
Think About The Full Path
How can people continue to grow and ascend in the business if they want to? Does this position lead somewhere else in your business? If it doesn’t now, could it in the future?
If this position doesn’t lead somewhere in your business, could it lead to another job elsewhere? Are you comfortable with that? How might you create systems and processes so when people leave it's a smooth transition?
Do you have performance reviews or regular conversations where team members can express their feedback? How might you continually seek to learn about and utilize team members’ full potential?
While some people are content showing up to their job, getting it done, and then signing off, many people thrive by being able to grow into more responsibility over time. Sometimes team member dissatisfaction can come from simply being bored, which is usually an indication that the person’s full potential isn’t being met.
We all start with entry-level positions at some point, but providing a pathway out of that entry-level position, even if it won’t happen for some time, helps set expectations and gives people something to work towards.
Interested in working together? I’m opening up a few spots to work one-on-one with clients.
I specialize in balancing company culture aspirations with the real demands of small businesses. The custom solutions I design increase impact, expand and retain the customer base, and protect profits through enhanced team member retention.
Dive into these topics more with this two part series on the Dare to Lead podcast:
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