Good work is hard to find! You’ve been in business for 10 years! Your customers think you have a great product line that works well for their needs. There is just one problem. You can’t get anyone to work for you! The ones that do come work for you don’t stay very long. It’s ‘just a job’ to them. But, you need them. You have grown, and you can’t do everything on your own anymore. You think to yourself, the economy is still rough, people should be banging down my door wanting a job! Why aren’t they?
Your culture is not attractive
The next wave of employees are millennials. We are very different than previous generations. I’ve talked extensively about that here, here, and here. Just being a cog in the wheel until retirement isn’t going to cut it for millennials. We have an entrepreneurial spirit and are not willing to work for companies that don’t allow us to develop that part of our careers. Forbes wrote a great column on the topic as well. Many companies have revamped their culture to fit the needs and wants of millennials. Thus, they are the ones who have the top talent pool to choose from. Frankly, if you are unwilling, or unable to adapt to this cultural shift, you will only have the bottom rung applicants. You will be a placeholder until they can find something better. You don’t want your company to be a revolving door.
Your ‘perks’ aren’t attractive
This is surprising to many people, but money is not the top priority for most applicants. It never was to me either. The one time I did take a position because of the higher pay, I was miserable. There are many other reasons people choose to work where they do. Vacation time, work-life balance, work-life integration (a more popular term), knowing that their work is making a difference in the world, the recognition that their contributions are making a difference; that’s just to name a few. If you try to name a seeming high salary but expect your employees to be married to their job; you may have some difficulties hiring good talent.
Your expectations are unreasonable
You poured your life into your business! You dealt with the uncertainty, you lived out of your parent’s garage for a while. Just because you poured your life into your business, does not mean that your employees will feel the same way. Your employees are helping you to grow your business. This is not their baby. Telling employees to work day and night, and be on call 24/7 all for a low wage, will not get you very far.
Is the view of your company reasonable?
If you think that applicants are going to bang down our door for minimum wage, and experience you have another thing coming. You can try to blame the economy all you want. However, it is growing (finally) and most people do have their self-respect. Remember, you get what you pay for. If you are offering long hours and minimum wage, you aren’t going to get anyone long term, and if they are any good you would be lucky. A cocky view of your company will not entice people to apply.
Are you even a good manager?
Making products and selling services to your customers, is very different from managing people. Now that’s not to say management is easy, it is not trust me! I found it to be rewarding, but it does take learning. Not everyone is cut out for it, I’m not gonna lie. However, if you intend to hire employees and grow your company you need to be a good manager, or learn how.
It is so tempting to micromanage employees. I would see it all the time in retail! But, it’s actually pretty insulting to your employee’s intelligence. You may be doing it unintentionally if you are you need to stop. If you feel you must micromanage your employees why did you hire them? They were hired to take a load off you, to help you grow your business. If you have the added responsibility of micromanaging them, then that’s only adding to your plate, not taking away. You are much better off hiring good people up front even if it takes longer. Hiring just a warm body will only lead to more struggles down the road.
Are you really motivating your staff?
I’m not saying you have to go up on a stage and be an extraordinary motivational speaker. You also don’t need to plaster your workspace with motivational posters either. But, you do need to get to know your staff and learn what motivates them to work hard, and put in the extra mile. The days of being an aloof CEO in your ivory tower are gone. Your employees are not your peons, they are your teammates and you need to treat them accordingly. They bring value to your organization, and if you don’t value them, they will take their skills to your competition.
Communication and training
This is one where even the best companies can improve on. No company is perfect with this, we are all human 🙂 But, do you communicate your needs with your staff? Via email, phone, text message, meetings etc. They don’t know what you don’t tell them. Are you communicating in a timely concise manner what your expectations are? This goes along with training too. Does your training program properly prepare your staff to do their job effectively? or are they in the dark?
Are you a boss or a leader?
People are drawn to leaders but can give or take a boss. If you are nothing more than a boss, don’t expect anything more than an employee. If you are a leader, you will motivate employees to turn into teammates, on your team! Employees want to be more than a cog in the wheel, and you want more than a cog in the wheel. This will lead to your success! An employee that feels empowered to succeed, will help your business grow. It may not seem like rocket science, but a lot of people don’t do this. How many bosses have you worked for? How many leaders? I bet you remember the leaders.
What does your reputation look like?
Your reputation may be good with customers, but what is it like within your industry? People do talk, and nowadays a viral post can really set you back. There is so much information available at our fingertips, and it is very easy to research a company before even applying. If you are a harsh or bad manager, that is going to catch up with you. This article by the Huffington Post backs that theory up more. You may find yourself struggling to get new talent to replace the one’s that left. They may even be warning people to steer clear of you.
I am all for entrepreneurship! I love the idea of small businesses growing, I believe it’s great for the economy! But, as you start to grow it is so important that you change as need be. The only constant is change, and if you don’t realize that you will not be in business for long.