Big Ideas for Small Businesses…How to Attract (and Keep) Good Employees

By Teri A. Coutu
Teric Enterprise Solutions

How is 2022 treating you and your business so far? It seems like everywhere you look there are “Help Wanted” signs, and many employers are unable to stay open regular hours because they don’t have enough staff. In small communities such as ours, the recent “Great Resignation” movement made the already challenging task of finding and keeping good people even more arduous.

I wish I could wave a magic wand and send awesome candidates to your door, begging for a job, but I haven’t mastered that skill yet. However, I can share the number one “secret” for attracting and keeping good employees…. Here it is: Make sure your company is THE place people WANT to work.

To do that, you must start building a positive, productive culture right now. While building a great corporate culture takes time and energy, the sooner you start implementing some of the basics, the sooner your business will become a place people want to work.

First, you need to understand the importance of culture and what it is and does.
Culture is what your people think, say, and do each day. Your corporate culture drives employee behaviors: it affects motivation, and motivation affects productivity and performance.

So, how do you build a positive culture? The answer is you nurture it by investing time and energy into your people.
Know your people. Know what they need, what they expect, what motivates them, and how they communicate. The more you know about each team member, the more you can relate to them and vice versa. Cultural surveys and questionnaires, DISC and motivators assessments, and team “town hall” meetings can help.
Communicate with your people. Reach out to them regularly and consistently so they can stay informed, and even offer their suggestions for improvement. Communication builds trust, and trust creates commitment, teamwork, and success. However, when there’s a lack of clear, positive communication, people assume the worst. Don’t allow fear and negativity creep in and affect productivity and morale.
Treat them like family. Spend time with them, remind them of their importance, and let them see they can trust you. If people know they can trust you and that you care about them, they will do anything possible to help.
Give your best self. If you want people to be their best, you need to give them your best. Set a good example by being a good listener, being caring and considerate, appreciating them regularly, and truly showing them that they matter. When you treat them with respect, they are likely to treat your customers and their co-workers with the same respect.

There is a LOT more that goes into building a positive culture that attracts and keeps good employees, but this is a good start. If you’re not convinced that building a positive culture is crucial to your success, take a quick inventory – are your employees consistently acting like quality professionals and growing your business? If not, either your culture is bad or they are a bad fit. And, if many employees are a “bad fit,” you probably need to step back and look deeper – it’s more likely a corporate culture problem.


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