Your people are your most valuable asset. When you are a start-up, they are critical. They represent your company to your customers, vendors and your associates. When your people interact well with each other, they will make your workplace productive and satisfying on many levels.
Remember, most top producers aren’t found, they’re made. Most often, you create top producers with positive culture, mentoring and coaching. Here are some tips that worked for us to attract and keep the best people:
- Ask your buyers and vendors for potential employee referrals. They already know several top performers because they have worked with them. Since they have a stake in the hire, they will help them be successful. This is especially true with sales personnel.
- Paying for Performance is the best way to attract and keep performers. When your staff creates extra income, share the “found money” with them. Always take a smaller piece of a larger pie. Performers can’t afford to quit; non-performers can’t afford to stay.
- Have your Employees’ Best Interests at Heart. Build loyalty by showing you care about what’s important to them. Beyond their achievement and work ethic, the things they care most about are their income, acknowledgement of their work, time off, career development and security.
- Fit the Job to the Skill Set. Once you have found the people who demonstrate the integrity and attributes you are looking for, reorganize to build the ideal jobs for their skill sets. Everyone will benefit, especially your customers.
- Give Public Acknowledgement. When a staff member has an anniversary, send the entire staff a memo listing how that person’s last year’s accomplishments improved everyone’s job and security. This builds appreciation, team spirit and improves morale. It also encourages everyone to work hard to get that acknowledgement.
- Give extra days off with pay. There are 3 months during the year when there are no official 3-day holiday weekends. We actually increased production among office staff by creating extra 3-day weekends in those months — March or April (depending on Easter), June, and August. They all put in extra hours to complete their work before the get-away.
- Share the ups and downs. Relate to your staff as partners, especially in the early days. Once they understand their raises, bonuses, and benefits are based on the success of the business, they will be more interested in achieving that success.
Invest in your team and reduce turnover. You’ll save recruitment and training costs, protect your relationships with buyers and vendors, and increase productivity and profitability. The dollars you spend maintaining continuity and stability are investments in your most valuable asset, the team you’ve built.