Memo To CEO: Don’t Be a Good Place to Work. Aim for great.</strong
What is one of the best ways to grow a successful business? That is a constant dilemma for CEOs. Of course you have to have a great product or service. Your pricing has to make sense. You must be timely when attempting to solve your customer’s pain. You must build a memorable brand and communicate your brand story.
There are lots of elements in the secret sauce of creating a successful company. A company that people want to work with and to work for. And what is the purpose of starting a company or growing a company? Who are you serving: customer, stakeholders, employees? It is a bit of a chicken and egg question.
But there is a big difference between being an okay company, a good company and a great company. And becoming a great company to work for should be one of the CEO’s top priorities. You want your employees out there saying: “This is a great place to work!”. When you are a great place to work, the effort and cost of hiring comes way down. You are able to attract top talent and retain them, and that is half the battle.
Start with management
Your managers are the one of the keys to making your company a place where your employees are happy to come to work everyday. Give them responsibilities, accountabilities, manage to their objectives and cut them loose. Don’t micro-manage them. Set the expectation that they will in turn, do the same for their own staff. No one wants to be micro-managed and successful managers don’t have the time.
Get picky: put recruitment effort into hiring the right employees
Look for people with passion. Passion for anything! Trained and supported, people with fire in their belly will transfer that go-getter attitude to your workplace. Look for patterns of initiative in past roles, school or community work. Skills can be taught. Experience can be acquired. Invest in your staff for the long term. They will return that investment many fold.
Get comfortable hiring Millenials
No matter what you read or hear, Millenials are not really that different from any other demographic group. They have their challenges, but in my experience, those are far outweighed by what they have to offer. Embrace their characteristics and turn them into assets. Figure out where a Millenial might shine in your organization, give them challenges, stretch their goals and watch them lead. By 2020 this population will make up 50% of the workforce. Put effort into hiring, training and retaining this cohort and this is your competitive advantage.
Treat your employees well
One of our local large employers has a “First Day” policy. Your first day on the job at this company was a celebration. They made it an experience. It was part of the corporate culture of being employee-focused. Did it help them attract employees? Absolutely it did; who would not want to work with a company that celebrated their employees?
Another company in our region allows you to bring your pet to work. Is this problem free? Doubtfully, but for them, the benefits must outweigh the costs, I think, as I share the elevator with a poodle.
There’s something important we’ve forgotten about work: how to have fun. Your employees need a place of trust, of balance, with a sense of humor. We’ve forgotten that work is, or could be, or rather, should be, a community. Employees spend at least one-third of their lives at work. Workplaces need to remember that their employees have lives outside of work and not grudgingly acknowledge it, but celebrate it. Their families, their partners, their hobbies and pastimes and their volunteer communities. They are proud of these and you should be too.
We are more brand-aware today than ever before. We all have brand affinities, we wear icons on our clothing, we talk about brand preferences and are acutely aware of brands when we shop or when we choose not support certain brands. CEOs need to think about their corporate brand and brand citizenry. When employees can be invested, excited, and proud to tell people where they work, they’ll be more inclined to stick around for the ride and tell everyone they know about it.
Our employees need a connection to the big picture. They need to understand the mission and the vision for the company and how that translates into the goals, and to answer the question “Why are we doing this”? They need to know where their own work fits into realizing the company goals and and how what they do everyday supports their managers and the CEO.
On the question of who you are serving when you start or grow a company, I am going to go with employees. Without great staff, without motivated employees, there is no innovation, invention and loyalty. Your customers and stakeholders know this and if they don’t, they will. And isn’t that the reputation you want.
This was originally posted on www.customerattraction.com/be-a-great-place-to-work
A shout out to my graphic artist at @cartoon_of_milk on Fiverr which must be a great place to work, because he is still working there.
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