Column by Janine Popick, Inc.com "Women in Business"
You need rock stars, not Milli Vanilli! Here are a few things you can do to ensure your hiring and retention efforts attract and keep genuinely great employees.
The economy is doing great! The unemployment rate is at an all-time low. Things are awesome, right? Wrong.
If you have a business it's tough in this economy to attract good employees and keep them motivated. I've had my share of ups and downs. At this moment, I've got a company of stellar employees that think about our customers first. Was it always this way? No way.
There was a time we would hire employees just because they answered an ad or would keep employees because they did at least 70% of their jobs! Why does a company do that?
Desperation, desperation, desperation!
What happens then? You spend time and money attempting to train someone who ends up not understanding company values, or you have an employee dragging down his peers. As women we're known to be especially sensitive in relationships — and if you wouldn't date someone you wouldn't be proud to introduce to your friends and family, why on Earth would you hire someone you wouldn't be proud to represent you and your brand to current and prospective customers?
Especially in this day and age, with user-generated reviews so prevalent, your own employees can really hurt your brand, not to mention the morale of other employees. The employer/employee relationship, like any valuable relationship, takes time and investment.
Stand tough! You need rock stars, not Milli Vanilli! Here are a few things I've learned after being stung.
We market our company to prospective employees like we market our product. If your company wins awards, tout it. Talk about what you're proud of. People want to work for a winner. Our copy for job postings:
Who we Are: VerticalResponse, Inc is a leading provider of self-service email and direct mail solutions. We've been recognized as one of the top 100 best places to work in the bay area and top 100 fastest growing businesses in San Francisco (SF Biz Times) as well as one of the top 500 fastest growing businesses in the country (Inc.com)...
Our Culture: "Work hard, play hard" sounds so cliché but it's really the best way to describe VR. To say we're passionate about helping small businesses grow is an understatement and to say we take ourselves too seriously along the way is an overstatement. Our employees thrive on challenges and we celebrate our hard-won accomplishments with a weekly libation. You will usually see us, including our CEO, in our jeans and with our nose to the stone.
Once your new employees are in the door you need to keep them, remember, the economy is good.
All in all, it's a process that you need to constantly evolve and never take for granted. Too many companies in the early stage (including ours) do — and lose time over it. Don't be one of them.