The success of a business is directly linked to the strength of its team, particularly in a marketing agency such as ours. As my good friend Arvid Albanese always says, “It’s never the What – it’s always the Who”. Hiring talented people who are great at their jobs, particularly during times of full employment can be quite the challenge. Retaining them is even harder, considering recruiting platforms such as LinkedIn, where people can easily find other career opportunities. So, below are my 5 keys to hiring and retaining a strong, unified team.
When an organization’s mission, values and culture are misaligned, it creates conflict, confusion, mistrust, and a bad reputation for the entire world to see. As an example, when an organization claims to be customer-centric, yet the company systematically avoids client problems, makes excuses for miscalculations and mistakes, or exaggerates commitments during the sales-process that are difficult to keep, everyone involved is affected.
Employees who take pride in their work are embarrassed and/or even appalled when they feel compelled to cover up organizational misalignments and screw-ups. The result is high employee and customer turnover.
Organizations that flourish are evolving with the times. Continual business-model adjustments and process changes are hallmarks of today’s successful companies. To survive and thrive in their roles, employees must constantly learn new skill-sets and up-skill to maintain the value they bring to their employers.
So, if you are hiring new people, doesn’t it make sense to hire people who are willing to evolve with the organization? Doesn’t it also make sense to sift through applicants and find people who already embrace self-improvement opportunities and ongoing learning?
Hiring a team of individuals who want to grow, and then integrating ongoing training into their roles; creates a new kind of stability in an organization. This new dynamic stability you’ve created within your team can be a game-changer, preparing you to be much more competitive in the future.
There are many reasons people work. The most obvious reason is to earn money. But that is not the only reason. People also want to work for a company that adds meaning and purpose to their lives. Therefore, when there is misalignment between organizational and employee values it creates discontentment, resistance, and turnover.
For example, our organization spends a significant amount of time servicing our clients, therefore, our agency values and rewards teammates who are strategic in their thinking and are great at customer service.
If we changed our organization to focus on volume and low-margins to achieve better profits, we would have to operate differently, and our core values could not be the same. We would not have the time to focus as much attention on each client; and instead, would need to be more focused on efficiency to drive profits.
Hence, in this second example, we would need to adjust our hiring of account service people and focus on those who were production-oriented, and placed more value on efficiency, rather than quality of service. And anyone who valued quality of interaction over efficiency and spent too much time with any one client would fail to get all their work done and would not be happy and succeed in this environment.
Both business models work. But the cultures and values necessary to succeed in each model are different. So, hiring employees with values that misalign with company values leads to instability and workforce disruption.
The days of ‘Command and Control’ business model hierarchies are over for most kinds of companies. This is particularly true for organizations focused on service, where employees must be able to make instant decisions instead of waiting for someone above them to give their approvals.
Service organizations that are most successful using this approach have technology infrastructures that incorporate just-in-time information reporting systems, which alleviate bottle-necking, and enable solid decentralized decision-making. This makes it easier for people to do their jobs, add needed speed to the decision-making process and makes everyone happier.
My father once told me “don’t ever believe that you work for anyone else but yourself”. Think about it. Do people work for their employers, or do they work for the benefit of themselves and their families? Sure, we all ‘work’ for our employers. But we work for them to benefit ourselves.
If employees hate what they do, they will only work at the company until they find another job that suits them better. Now what if money and benefits are more important to an employee, those factors will guide their decisions. And if time away from work is more important to them or working from home is an important factor, employees will focus on those benefits more than salary.
Learning what motivates our teams will go a long way to hiring and retaining great employees. Not understanding what motivates people will lead to turnover and be extremely disruptive on the entire organization.
Things have changed in this digital economy and the power has shifted from the companies to the individual workers, which adds a whole new complexity to the way we must think and staff our organizations. An organization that evolves as technology speeds up will thrive with the right people guiding its way.
Remember, technology platforms are assisting people in finding new jobs. And not adjusting our thinking and organizations to adapt will lead to your demise. Hiring and retaining talent is critical, and to do that effectively, changing your organizational structure to enable you to adapt is requisite to succeeding in our new technology-driven society.
Remember, it’s never the What. It’s always the Who!
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