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Re: (OT) Finding the Ideal Employees

by Trimbach (Curate)
on Oct 02, 2003 at 04:20 UTC ( #295814=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to (OT) Finding the Ideal Employees

Finding the ideal employee, attracting them to your company, and retaining them after they're there, are all topics that can (and do) fill libraries full of books. There are as many opinions as to exactly how to do that as there are people (and companies). The truth is there isn't a perfect answer to any of these questions for anyone. Each job, each company, each person is different, and has to be addressed individually.

However, you might benefit from shifting your perspective away from finding the "ideal employee" to finding the "best fit." Just because someone's good doesn't mean they're good for you or your company... those two factors are mutually exclusive. It often helps to imagine the kind of employee you want, the perfect one, with all the skills (the capability to do work) and competencies (the way someone works) that your company desires. Maybe you've had a high-performing employee like that before. What made he/she so good? What abilities did they have? Didn't have? How did they work? Write all of this down and pretty soon you have a good blueprint of who you're really looking for. Don't just focus on raw skills: believe it or not things like education and degrees and years of experience are not very good predictors for success in a job. If your mental description of the perfect candidate is comprehensive enough you should have a good idea on how to separate the wheat from the chaff in your recruitment exercise.

As far as attracting and retaining them remember that people value more things than just money. You can pay someone top dollar to entice them to your company, but what if everyone works in cubicles and this person needs an office? What if this person loves to surf and your office is in Omaha? Money certainly plays a big part, but really you're trying to sell your business to the applicant just as much as the applicant is trying to sell themselves to you. Again, you're looking for a good fit, not just a good employee. If your tightly-regimented, wear-a-tie-to-work coprorate culture isn't someone's cup of tea, then they really shouldn't work for you (and you really don't want them), even if they're the very best in their field.

After they're onboard if you want to know how to retain them the easiest, best way to do that is to simply ask them. It's amazing what people will tell you if they're asked. If they're unhappy they'll tell you why. If they're happy they'll tell you so. You can use this information to do the sorts of things that they value, and thereby make it worth their while to stay. Does this mean you do different things for different employees? You bet... one employee might need a parking space closer to the building. Another could care less about parking spots (they walk to work) but could really use a nice ergonomic chair. The possibilities are endless. Remember, one size never fits all.

Of course the devil is in the details on all this, and although it seems relatively straight-forward that doesn't mean it's easy. Talk to your HR department about this stuff and they'll be glad to help (or, if they can't, you should get a better HR staff. :-D) It's hard work, but well worth the effort... studies have shown that in IT "high performing employees" are 100% more productive than average employees, so you really should shoot for the best fit you can in order to maximize your productivity and stretch your salary dollar.

Gary Blackburn
Trained Killer and HR Dude


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