17 Rules Successful Companies Use To Attract And Keep Top Talent
Is your organization ready to build a way of behaving and conducting business that improves the likelihood of attracting and keeping people? And do you want those people to be loyal, engaged, productive, and aligned with the organization’s goals? 17 rules successful companies use to attract and keep top talent by David Russo lays out a list of to-do’s for you. To keep the list manageable , I have limited the to-do’s to one or two for each of the seventeen rules.
If you manage to adopt six or more of the rules as leadership guides, and you are able to implement six or more of the suggested items from the list, I can promise you a wholly different and improved work environment, as well as a far more engaged and productive workforce. So, get about changing your company!
Rule #1—Why They Come and Why They Stay
Take a new approach to employee orientation. As a standard aspect of orientation, create a conversation with all new employees about what they can expect from the company, its management, and other employees. Make sure that each new hire hears from someone (of status and authority) all that is expected of employees with regard to work ethic, productivity, and behavior.
Executives should participate in orienting new hires. Require that at least one senior management person communicates an official welcome to all new hires, and that the senior management expresses confidence that the new hire will have a great opportunity and be a valuable contributor to company success.
Rule #2—Play “Win-Win”
Make a concerted effort to build an internal communications system that is biased toward clear explanations of decisions; communicate how the execution of plans benefits the customer, the company, and the individual.
Enforce a ban on office politics. Let those in power positions know that political maneuvering and manipulation of data, situations, or people will be treated with swift and visible discipline. Let the employees know that they are working in an environment where they don’t have to watch their back, or worse, CYA.
Rule #3—Cultivate Leadership
Find your leaders and train them in the skills of leadership. A plethora of “leadership” development experiences are available for purchase. Yet have you noticed that the quality of leadership in our organizations is not improving—regardless of the dollars spent? Maybe the wrong people are being exposed to the opportunity.
Executives should look for leadership qualities in their people, and begin to concentrate time and money on those who have a natural talent for and interest in leadership. You can train a person to be a manager, but you can only develop inherent leadership qualities already in the possession of individuals.
Rule #4—Provide Resources
You want your staff to be successful, and it’s up to them to choose the path to that success. That said, conveying resources and control to the employee indicates how you feel about them, either positive or negative. So, hand over control of resources to someone who is inextricably linked to the success(or failure) of the project. That will motivate them to take ownership of the project and to invest pride and extra effort in doing it well.
To convey the expectations that accompany resources, the manager should express that he sees something in an employee or subordinate; the manager should verbalize that he recognizes the employee’s or subordinate’s talents and skills; that the employee’s or subordinate’s potential is clear, that you want to see it actualized, and here are the tools to make it happen.
Rule #5—Demand Contribution; Be Worthy of Receiving It
Don’t demand effort; demand contribution. And the only way to effectively demand contribution is to show employees where their contribution adds to the big picture, where an employee’s contribution adds to the organization’s overall goals.
A carefully nurtured culture is only part of the battle to draw an employee’s best possible contribution. The culture has to be regularly communicated, so the employee recognizes what part she plays in the company’s progress and the customer experience. The employee must be told what a contribution means and what it looks like, and she must be told that contribution is what is expected, what counts, and what will be counted.
Rule #6—Applaud Effort; Reward Contribution
It’s toxic to reward effort. If you start to reward effort, the people really making contributions will see their efforts as denigrated. So, don’t reward the churners, at the same level that you are rewarding the people who are propelling the organization forward. The contributors will see that rewards are tied to the wrong metrics and that the company is indeed rewarding motion not results.
Punishing people isn’t a good use of time and energy. It’s not a sincere effort to motivate a deadbeat employee, and it ends up being focused on revenge. If someone isn’t capable of focusing on outcomes, there’s little you can do with that person anyway, as he is unmanageable. There’s little that can motivate him...except the powerful force of withholding recognition and rewards.
Rule #7—Become a Cheerleader
It’s not childish to cheerlead, because you have to let the employees know that they’re doing a good job. You’d be surprised how much employees crave a little encouragement, and how quickly that encouragement translates to high levels of commitment.
It’s wrong to think that all people invariably want is more money. Pay and benefits are just substitutes for warmth, caring, and recognition of worth. Don’t set up your organization so that the only way you can express your appreciation for an employee’s value is with money, you’ll find it’s just not enough; it’s never enough.
Rule #8—Build on Respect
By not giving and demanding respect in the workplace, organizations become politicized, and you are destined for decline when ideas and initiatives are not judged on their merits but on the personal allegiances of people within the organization.
Recognize that the workplace has replaced the family social circle. It’s a club that meets every day, and workmates engage with their extended “family” at work very much as they did with a blood-related family decades ago. At work, we seek advice, we commiserate, we support each other, we argue...and we trust each other.
Rule #9—Cultivate Trust
Trust must flow from leaders and managers to employees, but it also must flow back from employees, and employees have to trust that the leadership cares about them, not only as a means to an end, but as people. So, you must demonstrate that you care about what your people care about.
Leaders have to communicate the truth while being clear about what they expect from people. Organizations should have transparent financials, processes, and decision making. That’s a key element for fostering teamwork, trust, and camaraderie.
Rule #10—Make Room for Fun
Pride yourself on building and nurturing a healthy and creative work environment by believing and behaving as though your people—given resources, guidance, and recognition—will amaze you with what they can accomplish.
Introduce fun into the workplace. Foster lightheartedness. Leaders and managers should be pleasant to be around. Remember that fun in the workplace is not mutually exclusive to productivity. Indeed, one actually enhances the other.
Rule #11—Seek Alignment
Cultivate engaged employees by building “linking opportunities” between an organization’s wants, needs, and culture and the issues that drive what the employees’ care about. The first steps for creating that alignment is to know your employees at a very deep level.
Establish an open culture where employees feel integral and essential to the organization. They must feel as though they are directly contributing to the organization’s goals. When employees are aligned with the organization’s values and mission, and the organization displays its respect for individuals, employees will engage more actively. Guaranteed.
Rule #12—Understand Human Capital
Human capital can also be understood as the wealth generating potential that exists within the people who work for an organization, and it embraces all facets of their knowledge, skills, and intellectual properties; it encompasses the skills, experiences, and effort of your workforce. It is their ability (and their willingness) to “do” things on behalf of the enterprise.
Progressive, insightful human resources experts (and I like to put myself in that category) have had to work very hard to discourage organizations and management from looking at people as nothing more than interchangeable parts. We have made an effort to show that people are just as valuable to organizations as the buildings and the equipment that the organization owns, maintains, and invests in. In short, organizations need to see their people as investments, and each one individually unique.
Rule #13—Treat Employees as Volunteers
Remember that your employees are volunteers; treat them as such. The labor market will not always favor the employer. Your challenge? Get your own employees to want to come back to work each week, to want to boost your competitive advantages, to want to contribute at the highest level possible for the tasks assigned. You can meet that challenge by behaving as though you really need them to show up again tomorrow.
Employees are far more willing to consider other work options, all the time. They are willing to risk their skills and aptitudes in the marketplace, including the skills you taught them. Any hint of a “plantation mentality” on the part of management is justification for the employee to seek work elsewhere.
Rule #14—Know the Culture
Survey your employees and regularly ask questions about their feelings about how the company is doing. Ask if they believe they are learning, growing, and contributing, and if management is doing a good job. Ask if management is communicating well, behaving appropriately, and listening to comments, suggestions, complaints, and feedback from employees.
Follow up on survey responses that indicate trends and consensus with clear answers about what you heard, what will be done, what will be considered, and what is not possible. Then, take high-profile action that is focused and clearly connected to the feedback.
Rule #15—Understand Change
Whether change is perceived positively or negatively is often a matter of how change is communicated and experienced. The response to the change can be managed, if the reason for and benefits of the change are carefully articulated, and the expected outcome is seen in the light of these benefits.
If you are implementing change, be forceful. Communicate it; communicate it again. Have a plan in place for dealing with people who are passive-aggressive and recalcitrant. Those types of people will emerge, and if you don’t immediately address their negative behavior, that behavior gives permission to others to act negatively; non-action is interpreted as an indication that the leadership isn’t really behind the changes being put in place.
Rule #16—Cultivate Ethics
The consequences of unethical behavior are that you don’t just start down a slippery slope, you tumble down the slope and crash in a heap at the bottom. The bond of trust between the organization and the employee precipitously falls apart, and it affects your competitive edge.
Beyond the competitive disadvantage presented by unethical behavior, far worse deeper damage can be done to your organization, at the cultural level, at the visceral level, with ethical lapses of any magnitude: Jaded employees won’t be proud to go to work for you nor will they be proud to tell others about their workplace, turning away potential employees, customers, and vendors.
Rule # 17- Tell the truth
Fact is, many people in positions of power and influence just don’t understand that you can’t lie—even little lies, white lies—to the people on whom you depend for success and prosperity. The result is that those people feel as though you don’t think they count. Those people feel as though you think they are stupid, unworthy, and not to be trusted.
Related post: How to recruit top talent