I hear it over and over again; “I can’t find any good people to work for my company.” For owners who have repeatedly worked the employment-ad routine and come up empty-handed each time they tried, they may no longer believe talented people exist. Maybe it’s not a case of reaching talented prospects, but rather a case of what you’re using for bait. What do you have that would attract talented people to your company? In other words, why would I want to work for you?

Here are a couple facts to keep in mind when fishing for your superstar:

• People don’t make lateral moves.

• Talented people already have a job and are not necessarily looking for a new one.


Now, I’ll bet the question - why would I want to work for you? - is looking a little more difficult to answer. Good question, isn’t it? Too many owners and managers focus on whether this candidate is worthy of working for the company, when they should also consider if this company is worthy of the candidate.

In order to hire the best people that will catapult your company leaps ahead of your toughest competitors, substantially increase profits, eliminate headaches, inspire repeat business and word of mouth advertising, and bolster an impressive company image, (lots of benefits to hiring superstars, huh?), the first step to making this happen is to ask yourself if your company is the company of choice. If it isn’t, what actions should be taken to create an appealing company the next superstar will want to work for?

So, if creating the ultimate company sounds good to you, let’s go for it! We all know to set a goal you must first visualize the outcome - so let’s do that. What would your dream company look like? Does it have a thriving, upbeat, energetic, and enthusiastic environment of top producers enjoying above industry wages and incentives?

Do the managers pump their people up daily with the best tools for success? Do the employees have a great benefits package that includes full family health, medical reimbursement plans, dental program, life insurance, education and training, disability insurance, company fully funded 401(k) plan, and a fully funded company profit-sharing plan?


My mentor, Frank Blau, made this statement to me time and time again, “You have to be the company of choice; you must provide an employment compensation-benefit package that is second to none. The bottom line is creating an environment where the employees cannot afford to leave.”

So the first order of change is to see how your benefit package compares to other companies in your market area. I like the mystery shopper approach for gathering this sort of intelligence. Call an employer posing as a job candidate and ask what they are offering by way of benefits and salary range. You’ll be amazed how much information you can gather just by asking over the phone. I suggest you include a few companies that are not direct competitors because your next superstar could be coming from outside your industry.

When you have an idea of what benefit plans and pay are attracting the best of the best, it’s time to top them with a package of your own. But how will you pay for it? This may be the toughest pill to swallow - you’ll have to plan for the expense. That may mean adjusting your prices.

You’re probably going to need help assembling a superior benefits package. Most shops are too small to support a benefits administrator on staff. Luckily, there are independent providers for these kinds of services.

The first resource I suggest you check with is your accountant. Since 401(k) programs have tax implications, accountants commonly know what company would be a good fit for you, at least in the area of retirement programs.

Your insurance agent is another good source for packages and/or referrals. Julie Wieman, of MacGregor Plumbing and Heating, set up a Health Reimbursement Account (HRA) on her own with the help of the Internet and her banker. I did a search on Google for a benefits service in Kansas City and found a few local leads that looked promising. Perhaps Google will find a partnership in your locale.

Keep in mind when you interview candidates, they too will be interviewing you. It’s a two-way street. They will be looking at your compensation package as well as how the company operates. Too many times candidates don’t accept offers because the prospective companies didn’t seem like a happy and supportive place to work.

Ray Kroc, founder of McDonalds® restaurant chain said, “You’re only as good as the people you hire.” Now that you have the tools to hire, attract, and retain the superstars needed to create the company you’ve always dreamed of, the big question is, when are you going to start? No better time than now.

Note:This article was reproduced from Nexstar’sAt Your Servicenewsletter.

Publication Date:12/10/2007