Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Business Management: Hiring and Retaining Quality Employees

For a business to succeed, you must be hire quality employees who will share your vision and be a part of your company. Though they won’t be a partner who shares a financial interest in the company, they must take pride in their work and have the ability to contribute to the growth and success of your business.

The first thing about choosing your employees is to measure their competence based on the following characteristics:

Attitude – willingness to do the job that is assigned to them
Aptitude – ability and capacity to be competent in their position
Integrity – honesty and loyalty when you’re not there
Intelligence – common sense and the level of academic skills required to perform their job
Intensity – their ability to focus

You will choose your employees from among those who are applying for a position with your company. Among your applicants will be those who are looking to change jobs and those who are unemployed. The ones who are unemployed are a red flag; there is likely a reason they are unemployed; they don’t get along with co-workers; they are not productive; there is likely something negative about their quality as an employee. There are exceptions; but you don’t have the time to investigate this. Your best bet is to look at those who are changing jobs.

The common reasons for changing jobs are:

To acquire a position at a fun, exciting place to work
To acquire a position that allows them to make a difference, do good and be appreciated
To build their career experience, to grow with your company
Salary is number 4 on the list; they understand that it is necessary, but they are mainly focused on their education and growth.

Remember that the best employees you hire are not necessarily going to stay with your company forever. The best, quality employees are likely to grow and succeed as business owners themselves some day. These are the people you want working for your business now. The important thing is the difference they will make with their contribution during the time they have this relationship with you.

So, how do you go about recruiting new employees? The best people to get referrals from are your current employees. They do their jobs well and they want others on the team to do their part. They are not likely to recommend that you hire slackers who will take the company down by not pulling their weight. Offer a bonus incentive to anyone who recommends a good employee if you should hire them.

There are four items that are crucial in your ability to retain high-quality employees. Remember, you likely will not keep them forever, but they are likely to perform more and stay longer if they are shown:

Respect – recognition for their contribution
Appreciation – thanks and acknowledgment for a job well done
Vision – share your vision; let them know where your company is going and the likelihood of growth within your company
Perks – money, benefits, rewards

Notice that money is last on the list of items that encourage employees to stay with a company. Of course, the income is needed, but so is the respect and appreciation they are shown. A good employee will take pride in his work and be happy if they are recognized for their contribution to your company.


Never negotiate salary with employees. Know what your pay range is, then ask them what they think would be a fair wage to be paid for the position which they are applying. Let’s say, for example, you are prepared to pay $40 to 50 thousand a year for a quality employee and their answer is $45,000. You have three choices of how to reply:

Agree to pay $45,000 – you’re both happy as you have someone to do the job for a salary that is within your range
Offer a little less, say $42,000 – they will likely accept this, but they may be somewhat disgruntled
Counter at $50,000 – already, your new employee loves his job! He is eager to start work; you have offered him more than he asked for; he will likely give you more than you ask for by being a very productive, hard worker.

Now, what if the employee says that their salary expectations are $55,000? This amount is outside your range; therefore, this is when you will discontinue the interview. Thank them for their time; they likely have other interviews to go to; one of them may be better suited to them.

Lead by Example

Are you the type who manages people or leads people? Employees are human beings; they don’t want to feel they are being managed or manipulated. They want strong leadership. Don’t isolate yourself from your employees; set an example; show up to work every day; be accessible; don’t always be in your office with the door closed. Be a role model in attitude and in action; share your vision. Your vision impacts everyone in your organization. Let your employees know that they are contributing to the growth of your business; they are working together to build something rather than each performing their individual tasks separately. Show them that their contribution is making a difference.

Measure Results

People will only do what is measured. Hold your employees accountable for whatever is most important to your business. Measure for productivity. It is better to let an incompetent employee go than to keep them on as this will only cause stress and frustration while holding them back as well. Letting them go can be an opportunity for them to find work where they fit in and can grow as well as an opportunity for you to fill their position with someone more suited to your business.


Your relationship with your employees depends on your ability to communicate and to be sure they understand exactly what is expected of them. A good relationship depends on the 3 C’s

Communication – what you expect and a deadline
Concurrence – the employee should be able to repeat back to you exactly what is expected to show they understand
Compliance – you don’t have to stand over them constantly, but ask when is a reasonable time for you to check on their progress

It is important to communicate in this manner to remove all doubt and to avoid misunderstanding. Employees do not like to have to guess what you want and they don’t enjoy getting into trouble for failing to do what they didn’t understand they had to do.

You are showing your employees that you respect them and that you want them to feel good about accomplishing just what is required of them. When you assign them to a specific project, ask them how long it will take them to accomplish it and have them repeat back to you what they agree to do. This may sound strange, but it eliminates doubt and reinforces an understanding. Finally, let them know that you will not be hovering over them; you trust them to get the job done, but you want to be able to check on their progress at some point to see if they are on track.

Create an environment where the employees think of themselves as a part of your company rather than one where they distance themselves by saying things like “at the place where I work;” rather, they say, “at our company,” or “our policy is to…”

Bill Bartmann has had over 10,000 employees over the course of his career. The time and energy spent on employee relations has proven to be well worth the effort for the rewards to the business. For more information on good employee relationships go to http://www.billionaire.com and check out Bill Bartmann’s Billionaire Business Systems, an online business course for entrepreneurs.

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