You’re Great! So It’s Not Quitting, It’s Just a Long Leave of Absence

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Jul 1, 2019

Note: As you begin your week, here are some tips from the Humetrics blog to help you recruit, hire and retain great people more effectively.

Shouldn’t it be ‘Talent required’?

Skim through any online job ads and you’ll find about 95% of them have one word in common: “Starting wages based on experience…” “Looking for experienced, energetic servers and kitchen staff…” “We are currently seeking an experienced office assistant…”

Why is it that experience is so often our No. 1 criteria?

Because we assume an experienced person will require less training and be able to get up to speed faster.

The problem with this assumption is that just because a person has done a certain type of work before doesn’t mean he or she is necessarily good at it or even likes doing it. Many people fall into jobs or a career path and, over time, become skilled at them. However, when you look at the top people in any trade or profession, what sets them apart is talent. Their innate ability or that internal motivation (attitudes) that makes them what we call “a natural.”

Some people are motivated to help others and they make great office assistants, retail clerks, and healthcare workers. Some people are born optimists and are gifted with persistence and the power of persuasion; they’re great salespeople. Others are good with their hands and enjoy making things – perfect for manufacturing, assembly lines, and the building trades.

Skills, the how-tos of any job, can be taught. Start hiring for talent instead and you’ll have a real competitive edge.

Appreciate them before you hire them

I wholeheartedly concur with the lead off to this article by Ron Thomas:

“A person who feels appreciated will always do more than expected, therefore, the two most powerful phrases any leader can use are: Thank you and I appreciate you.”

The only way to improve upon that advice is to point out that the appreciation and respect start before you even hire the person. It needs to be extended from the onset of the hiring process. If you show your applicants how much you respect them and appreciate their interest in your firm, you are way ahead of your competition when it comes to hiring and retaining great people.

Appreciate them after you hire them

When 5,000 people were asked if they’d received any praise or acknowledgement from their employer in the past year, only 7.6% answered “yes.” More importantly, when those 380 people were then asked how long ago it happened, the answers were from one week to 37 years ago. Finally, and most tellingly, when asked if they still have the letter or certificate to show for it, 91% answered positively.

Bottom line — When it comes to employee motivation and retention, nothing beats a personal letter or certificate of recognition. It is something that costs next to nothing and, yet, is highly cherished. What’s keeping you from taking a few minutes of your time to give your most valued employees a meaningful morale boost? Please don’t wait until one of them gives notice.

“The most important factor is individual recognition — more important than salaries, bonuses, or promotions. Most people want to identify with the success of their organization and their greatest reward is receiving acknowledgment that they did contribute to making something meaningful happen.” ~Paul Cook, CEO, Raychem Corp

And stay with them when they leave

Take a page from Trader Joe’s HR manual and, whenever a valued employee resigns, offer them a leave of absence instead because:

  • It will make the person feel valued and respected.
  • It will make it easy for that person to come back.
  • It gives you a reason to call them in a couple of weeks or months to see how it’s going and whether they’d like to officially resign or if they would like to come back. (You’ll be surprised how many find the grass isn’t greener elsewhere after all.)
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