After a recent speaking engagement, an audience member approached me to discuss the challenges he had in filling some open store positions. During our conversation I asked him to name five reasons great people want to work for him. (You can see the irony in the question, since it seems that people don’t necessarily want to work for him.)
I stipulated great people because most companies can find people to hire. There are rarely times when absolutely nobody applies for an open position. However, if you’re going to be a great company you need to hire great people. You know the kind. The ones you get so excited about after the first interview that you want to offer them a position on the spot. The people that make you want to call your friends to tell them about the most amazing applicant you just interviewed.
The audience member’s top five reasons great people want to work for him was very interesting, and not necessarily in a good way. There wasn’t anything unique on his list. Although his wages are competitive, they aren’t above market. He sells nice products, but nothing that can’t be purchased elsewhere. Like most owners and executives, he said his company is a great place to work and his people are treated well. That may well be the case, but doesn’t everyone say that?
At the end of our conversation I came up with three ideas he could work on. They might apply to you, too.
1. Identify one or more distinct benefits of working for your company. This one is important, because the top five lists of most companies are pretty similar. I’ve always liked offering paid days off for community service; something Timberland has been doing for twenty years. You can also do something as easy as giving people a paid day off on his/her birthday. That’s fairly unique, and it says boatloads about how a company’s top management views their employees.
2. Be specific. Again, almost every company will tell you they’re a great place to work. Why are you a great company to work for? What do you do that makes people feel they’re treated well? Do you strive to honor requests for days off so employees don’t miss important family events? Besides a great discount program, do most of your employees win excellent products and company “bucks” in contests throughout the year? The more specific you are, the better.
3. Do a better job of communicating the top reasons for working for your company. People are the most important differentiator for the specialty retailer, but we don’t always do a great job of marketing our stores to potential employees. Most companies have room for improvement in this area.
Do you have a “Careers” or “Work for us” page on your website? Does it communicate what a rewarding place your company is to work? Does it feature some current employees and possibly some quotes from them? Do you link to that page from Facebook? Do you have a quality brochure that customers and staff can share with others, or applicants can take with them?
Remember, those great people you want working for you probably already have a job. The better you are at identifying and communicating your five reasons why they should work for you, the better your chances of attracting and hiring them.
So let me ask, what are the top five reasons great people want to work for you? Hit reply and share your five. I’d really like to know.
Doug Fleener is a proven retail and customer experience expert that helps companies dramatically improve their customer experience and their results. Visit our website or call Doug at 866-535-6331 to discuss how he can help you create an extraordinary experience and results.