How is Staffing a Company Like Filling a Bathtub?
Don’t leave your drain unplugged
Staffing Power is about:
- Finding the holes in existing staff and fixing them;
- Finding the holes faster in newly hired experienced staff and fixing those holes; and
- Ultimately choosing to build staff from scratch by recruiting willing people and providing all the training they need to be successful.
There are five must dos for Staffing Power, and they are:
- Always be recruiting;
- Always be hiring;
- Always be orienting;
- Always be training; and
- Always be retaining.
Today, I’m going to focus on just the last one — always be retaining.
Most, if not all of us, know we have to recruit. We know we need to hire people. Some may be enlightened enough to know they must also orient people better as well as train them constantly as they progress with the company.
But how few of us think about retaining? Very few. I didn’t. The only times I thought about retaining is when they’d be at my door at 5 o’clock telling me, “We need to talk,” which is never pleasant. That’s because it was either to tell me they had another job already, were giving notice, were demanding a raise, or were going to work elsewhere. Otherwise, why would they be asking to see me when they’re off the clock?
Many times, it was already too late to keep them on the team because they had one foot out the door. Sometimes, I’d cave and end up resenting them. All were awful experiences for both me and for them.
Sometimes, I got two weeks’ notice, which was helpful. Sometimes, I got a week’s notice, and that was still good. Sometimes, I had the keys left in the mail slot because they had quit that day but didn’t want to face me. Sometimes, we’d have to go and find the truck, because we didn’t have GPS tracking back then.
So, why do I say staffing at your company is like filling a bathtub?
The answer is, if you aren’t focused on retaining the right staff, it’s like trying to fill a bathtub with the drain wide open.
Not being focused on actively retaining staff takes an awful toll on the company because it costs a lot of time, money, and energy to always be replacing people, especially really good people.
Retaining actually starts with the first step of Staffing Power — what you’re saying and doing in your recruitment efforts. My company and those I’ve worked with run ads that stress they provide careers not just jobs.
Believe me, this gets noticed by the right type of potential employees.
Retaining starts at recruiting, because you need to be attracting candidates who want to build careers and are willing to stay onboard because they aren’t just looking for a quick buck. But, you’ve got to have the systems and skills to deliver on that promise because it makes you “The Employer of Choice.” It distances you from all your competitors who are also running ads looking to attract the right job candidates.
Next up is the hiring phase, which takes powerful resources, such as:
1. An Organizational Chart — This will show candidates where they are starting at your company today, who they will be reporting to, and who they can go to for help. It also is the perfect time to show them the boxes on the organizational chart that they can ascend to with the proper training that you’ll provide as they demonstrate their worth through objective measurements.
2. A Salary Level Template — This will show candidates the level of salary they’ll start at and when their next merited salary boost will come. Again, it’s tied to the objective demonstrated ability to train for the next level up the organizational chart and the salary level — aka salary ladder. The employer of choice knows that it’s no fun for an employee to have to come hat in hand to ask for a raise. It’s also no fun for employees to not know when and how they can earn a raise. No one wants to work somewhere they feel like they have to go to their “parents” to ask for an increase in their allowance.
Only after you’ve completed a detailed hiring process can you engage a structured orientation process. What I do for clients is put together new hires’ first five to 10 days with the company, so they are as effective as possible. New hires often fail all too often because they were thrown into battle without the proper orientation. The best companies I work with appoint someone to be a trail guide of sorts. The trail guide is there to be both a mentor and a friend to show them the ropes and get them acclimated as soon as possible.
It becomes invaluable for the long-term success they have with your company.
After this burst of orientation process, they need to settle into their first 60-90 days and be clear on what they need to observe, learn, demonstrate, and do in the field or in the office.
Orientation and training is how they earn their way up the salary ladder. Ongoing training makes them feel like they’re a valuable part of the team, and you’re making good on your promise of a career not just a job.
One more tip to retaining is to find out where prospects are mentally. Are they onboard, or do they have one foot out the door already? I made it a goal to talk to each of my employees at least once a week and ask the following questions:
“What’s going right, what’s going wrong, and what should I know right now?”
This isn’t a sit-down meeting. It can be in a hallway, out by the truck, or at someone’s desk.
I got so good at doing this that I knew by not just their words but their body language as to what was up. This meant I could do something right now before it got worse, and that helped me retain good people more easily.
So, start plugging your wide-open drain on your Staffing Power bathtub today. You’ll be glad you did.
Publication date: 9/4/2017