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Posted: January 20, 2014

Create a company worth working for

Three simple steps

Kendra Prospero

In today’s competitive job-seeking and hiring environment, experts continually provide noteworthy advice on best practices and recruiting skills. While it is crucial to narrow down resumes, pre-qualify applicants and conduct in-depth interviews, it is equally important to know who you are as a company before the process begins. Often companies lose sight of their identity, goals and direction when they need to replace or bring on new employees. Focusing on the current team and their success would yield more benefits in both your current and future employees.

I understand as the owner of a job seeking and recruitment company that this may be counter intuitive for my business, but if we are truly searching for the best people to be placed in strong companies where they match the skills, culture and attitude, then it is also necessary to help managers and executives learn how to get the most from their team. Entrepreneurs and start-up companies face these realities as they ramp up efforts with a few key individuals and then hire people to keep up with the demand for their services. They quickly find themselves managing growing pains instead of developing a team that is successful today and in the long term.

As business owners and managers, we must develop an organization that has little turnover, engaged members and encourages employee input. Three simple steps can provide the basis or a company changing attitude.

First, simply listen. How many of our grandparents would repeatedly say, “You got two ears and one mouth. There’s a reason for that you know!” Unfortunately, in an age where we can digitally control what we hear, read, see and watch, we often tune out conversations or insights we don’t want to hear or more appropriately don’t agree with what we think. I’ve seen corporations spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on consulting firms who in effect just came in and took the time to listen to their employees.

Second, reward your team. To date I think there are over 1 million books about how to reward employees in order to foster growth. Your team is the most crucial part of your organization. If you’ve done your job correctly and hired the most skilled and best fit for the position and culture, their actions should then be a reflection of your leadership and coaching. Sometimes this is as simple as a “thank you” or “great job”. Other times an afternoon off or small gift card is a nice token of appreciation.

Spend time with the people you work with. The most successful CEO’s are committed to meeting and talking with executive and warehouse level employees alike. They are creating teams who respect who they are, and they will go the extra mile for everyone’s success. Sometimes your employees will deserve raises because they are fantastic at what they do. If you have an indispensable employee that works hard and consistently makes an impact, surprise them with a raise without making them ask or go through a formal review. They obviously deserve it, and it will show them they are valuable and appreciated.

Finally, be proactive. If you’re reading this you have the responsibility and privilege of leading people and creating jobs. Whether you are a president, CEO, manager or a member of the human resources team, you affect the lives of all those around you. When you have an employee leave the company, find out why. If they were let go, discover the circumstances that led to the dismissal, it could have been a company issue or an employee problem. Find ways to fix challenges before they arise again.

As a fan of great sayings one of my favorites is, “It is easier to pull a chain, than push one.” I wish I knew who to attribute this great quote to as it so often seems contradictory to the leadership style of today’s managers and executives. We want to push our employees to where we want them to be rather than lead and pull them towards the goals of the company. If you are a company that leads, innovates and listens you may find you have the opportunity to hire less often and be able to bring on more top echelon employees. The bottom line is, what kind of company are you, and are you willing to become what you really looking for?

Kendra Prospero started Boulder-basedTurning the Corner, LLC after realizing she was spending all her time thinking about how she could help people be more fulfilled in their jobs. Prior to founding Turning the Corner, Kendra spent 13 years at IBM, working in personnel development, professional services, software development, sales and human resources. Contact her at 720-446-8876 (TURN) or info@turningthecornerllc.com

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