How do businesses get the results they want while creating an environment in which people actually want to work?

Posted online

Hiring good people is a tough job. That’s not even always the bumpiest part of ensuring your business runs smoothly, but it is the most important aspect of running a good business. Once you’ve found that great employee, the next difficulty becomes retaining them. How do you keep employees from being lured away by what they consider to be greenest grass at that moment?

In general, Americans spend at least 1/3 of their life at work (professionals average over 45 hours) and, as such, they want to have harmony between their job demands and the other parts of their lives. Today, top employers need to create an environment where employees feel connected to the organization and have a positive work experience that’s part of a rich, fulfilling life.

We all want happy employees who like their job and their workplace. After many successes/failures at hiring and retaining employees, I adopted four points:
• Know your mission and company values and put them first,
• have unquestionable integrity,
• listen for opportunities, and
• be a good partner.

Know your Mission and Company Values and Put Them First—Your mission can be drawn out or simple, I prefer simple and easy to understand. Recently, I read a book called
“Make Money for Bob” by Bob Gourley. “Make Money for Bob” is Bob Gourley’s very to the point mission statement. Simple as that. Most importantly, everyone in his graphics/printing company understands it and work towards it because of its simplicity. One of Bob’s most important ideas is to value his employees. He shows that by rewarding them with extras once their mission is accomplished. Train every one of your employees to appreciate the mission and before hiring find out if they align themselves to the professional values of the company.

Have Unquestionable Integrity—Integrity starts from the top. It is all encompassing as the unwritten rule to do what is right. The rule, when followed, builds trust among employers and employees, develops a good reputation for the company and raises the standards for everyone hired. Trust your employees, too. People searching for a long-term career seek out employers who they trust and who trust them, have good ethics and a stellar reputation.

Listen for Opportunities—Believe that new and good ideas come from everyone and everywhere. Listen for opportunities when an employee speaks. As employees are doing their work, they are often developing opportunities for the company quietly in their heads and you’d never know your next million-dollar opportunity was there the whole time. Encouraging an employee to share his or her ideas will only do great things for you. The opportunity could be as slight as changing a process that saves time for the staff. Or perhaps, it is an opportunity to create new markets through the development of new software that the employee has been researching (on their own time). Employees value co-workers, managers and owners who listen and communicate effectively.

Be a Good Partner—The definition of partner, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary is “one of two or more people, businesses, etc., that work together or do business together.” Personally, I try to remember who runs my business, it is my partners, my dedicated staff who provide ideas and opportunities for growth, appreciate and follow the unwritten rule of integrity and put the team first by living the mission and following the core values of the company. Respect your partners and they will respect you.

Retaining top-notch staff members is not always easy. Sometimes it feels like an uphill battle, but if you follow the outlined points, you’ll find that you’ll keep those great workers in their seats for a longer, nicer ride.

“If I were running a company today, I would have one priority above all others: to acquire as many of the best people as I could. I'd put off everything else to fill my bus...and the single biggest constraint on the success of my organization is the ability to get and to hang on to enough of the right people.” -- Jim Collins, Good to Great

Meet the Expert

Anne Williams has been the President and Owner of this Missouri-based staffing firm, JobFinders Employment Services, for 34 years. In 1986, Williams opened her first small office, and today, that business has steadily grown into one of Inc. 5000’s list of fastest-growing companies with seven branches.

Williams oversees a team of 27 employees who place candidates in direct-hire, temporary, and trial-to-hire positions.

Williams and the company have been recognized with honors such as “Woman of the Year,” “CEO of the Year,” and in 2012, she was named the United States Small Business Administration’s top “Woman Owned Small Business” in the St. Louis district. JobFinders has been named the Top Company in Columbia, MO and has been awarded Reader’s Choice award in several communities. Williams enjoys spending time in the community, traveling, and hanging out with her family. She is a proud member of the American Staffing Association, National Association of Personnel Services, Missouri Kansas Search and Staffing Association, Society for Human Resource Management National Association and the Springfield, Sedalia, Central Missouri branches and serves as the Chambers of Commerce in each community the company serves.