employees

Five-Star Employees Are Out There. Here’s How To Find Them

By Bill Higgs

It’s no secret that in the business world, your employees can make or break you.

If you recruit top-notch talent and create a culture where they can thrive, your business will reap the rewards.

If your hiring practices are an afterthought—and you view your people as interchangeable and expendable – you will likely be dealing with constant, costly and debilitating turnover.

So, how do you go about finding and hiring the right people? Let me offer a few ideas that I have seen work firsthand:

Tap into your current employees’ networks. Whether you realize it or not, you already have a great resource. Your best employees likely know other talented people who would be a great fit for your culture. All you need to do is ask them. At first blush, this seems obvious, but surprisingly many organizations don’t do it. They are missing out. After all, why go scouring the world for a top candidate when someone in your office can put you in touch with a top candidate right now? For me, this is more than just theory. When I started my company, Mustang Engineering, in the 1980s, our entire workforce consisted of my two co-founders and me. By year five, we had 280 people, and every single one was hired through a recommendation from someone already working with us. (As the company continued to grow, we did reach a point where we needed to use other means as well to find the high-level talent we desired.)

Create an environment that draws the best people. If you build a people-oriented company with a strong team culture, you will also have created a built-in recruiting advantage. Eventually, you might not need to launch a search for great employees. Word will get around and they will come to you. This is just one other area where companies that don’t value and respect their employees fall behind in the recruiting competition.

Don’t discount young people. Many businesses prefer to hire seasoned people who can hit the ground running. It’s hard to argue with that, so I won’t. But at the same time I will caution you not to discount talented young people whose enthusiasm and intelligence can make up for their lack of experience. The first intern we hired at Mustang taught us this lesson. She was a mechanical-engineering major who just finished her sophomore year. We expected to teach her a lot over the summer. We didn’t anticipate how much she would teach us. This computer-savvy young woman watched our designers at work and figured out how they could do the same tasks more efficiently using tools in the computer-aided design (CAD) software. Within three weeks, she had professionals with 15 years experience singing her praises.

Finally, remember this: Great employees aren’t the norm, so when you find talented, hard-working people, you want to hang onto them. One way you accomplish that is through communication. Talk with them regularly. Let them know they are valued. 

With any luck, your top performers will stay with you for a long, long time.

 

Bill Higgs is an authority on corporate culture, former CEO and founder of Mustang Engineering, and ForbesBooks author of the just-released book Culture Code Champions: 7 Steps to Scale & Succeed in Your Business. His culture podcast and training modules are available through www.culturecodechampions.com.