Every year, valuable employees leave companies for reasons no one really understands—not even the departing employees. In fact, when asked why they quit, many employees simply state: “I didn’t like the job.” This leaves many business owners, managers, and HR professionals scratching their heads, as they believe it’s impossible for anyone to pinpoint what constitutes “like.” In reality, what makes people like their job is something you can control, although it’s also something most companies don’t focus on. Those who lead a company or department, or those who are responsible for hiring employees, tend to focus on the tangible aspects of employment, such as wages, benefits, job duties, etc. As such, when they bring new people into the organization, they do so on the premise that if Bob was successful selling widgets at ABC Company, then he’ll be successful selling widgets here. But just because someone was successful in a past company doesn’t mean he or she will be successful in your company. And just because someone has the technical skills to do the job you have available doesn’t mean she’ll like working at your company. That’s why you need to go beyond skills and technical expertise if you want an organization filled with productive people who actually like their job and stay with you.
So if you sometimes feel that your company has a revolving door of talent, consider the following suggestions for hiring and retaining the staff you need.
- Enhance your hiring process.
Gone are the days when hiring an employee meant reading a few resumes, conducting a couple of interviews, and then hiring the person with the best professional and/or academic background. Today’s companies and employees are more complex than ever. And since most interviewers and most managers don’t have a background in psychology to really discover what’s going on inside a job candidate’s head, pre-hiring behavioral and/or personality assessments are vital to any hiring decision.
A simple assessment tool—many of which people can complete in less than 15 minutes—can reveal a wealth of information that can help you better determine the person’s strengths, weaknesses, communication style, work style preferences, etc. While you can’t use the assessment tool’s results as your only hiring criterion, you can incorporate the results with your formal interview answers to get a clear understanding of the job candidate’s preferences and tendencies.
- Get a good fit.
By now, most people have heard that you want employees who “fit” in your organization. But what exactly does a “good fit” mean? It means that the person will be able to work within your organizational culture, not that he or she is technically competent to do the job. For example, is this person someone who enjoys being around others, or does he prefer to work alone? Does this person like to do things “by the book,” or does she thrive in a flexible work environment?
Knowing more than just someone’s skill set is important, because chances are that someone who was successful in a structured environment will not be successful in a flexible environment. And while few employees will ever pinpoint the disconnect in work style preferences as the root of their job dissatisfaction, any employee in that situation will complain about “not liking the job,” even though it’s the same job they did elsewhere and excelled at. A good assessment tool will reveal much information about a person’s potential fit within your company.
- Help your managers manage.
Often when a manager has an employee who isn’t working out well, the manager will tell the employee, “You need to do X differently.” But rather than expect employees change, companies need to help their managers manage better. After all, managers are supposed to manage—that’s their job. Unfortunately, most managers are so focused on meeting quarterly financial goals that they don’t take the time to understand the personality of each employee and interact with that employee accordingly. An assessment tool can actually help managers manage better by giving the manager suggestions of how to manage that particular employee, based on the employee’s behavioral tendencies.
For example, one of your managers, Bill, may tend to give long, drawn-out instructions to people. But one of his employees, Mary, may do better with directions that are short and to-the-point. Imagine how much more effective Bill could manage Mary if he knew that. By simply giving Mary bullet point information rather than page long instructions, Mary can go from being frustrated with her boss and not liking her job to understanding what her boss wants and being cheerful about work.
So often we hear that managers have a “style.” But no manager can be successful if they treat and interact with every employee the same way. Managers need tools that will help them work with an employee in the way he or she will work best.
A Happy and Profitable Future
In many companies, high turnover is a lot like a sore toe. Yes, the toe hurts, but you eventually get used to the pain and it doesn’t bother you as much. Don’t get used to high turnover and say, “That’s just how it is here.” High turnover is a solvable problem once you acknowledge it.
By having a reliable assessment tool that helps you get a good fit and manage better, you’ll build a solid company of loyal and happy employees who are eager to get to work every morning. And remember, happy employees equal happy customers, and that leads to more profits for you and your company.
About the Author:
Paul is a nationally recognized consultant and expert in the application of psychology to the business world. His expertise in the areas of communication, hiring and retention is the result of more than twenty years of entrepreneurial experience and over five years of research. Paul is President of Maximum Advantage International, a firm specializing in hiring and sales solutions. For more information on his speaking and consulting, please contact: www.maxiumadvantage.com.