Steve Jobs, who knew a thing or two about growing a business, once said: “Recruiting is hard. It’s just finding the needles in the haystack.” And the legendary co-founder and former CEO of Apple spent a lot of time hunting for those needles, estimating he participated in the hiring of over 5,000 people in his life.
That seemingly couldn’t be even more true today. But while it’s easy to get caught up in all we hear about how difficult it is to find employees in this economy — or just blame it on the younger generation that doesn’t work as hard (and I’m sure you heard that from your own elders) — the truth is, it has always been a painstaking task to hire.
Just like perfecting a recipe, however, we can grow our management skills to not only improve at recruiting but retaining talent.
Set the tone
In our businesses, we set the culture, tone and environment. Knowing what kind of place people want to work at is important.
Put yourself in the shoes of the current team members, see their side and find the point of reason. Businesses that are constantly reviewing and improving policies and procedures to incorporate employee feedback are the ones that end up thriving. Months or years should not go by before you solve a problem bothering your employees or seek a way to motivate them.
Ask a question
When we hire, too often we think of what we want internally. Really, what’s just as important is asking, “What does an employee want?”
These are some basics:
- Fairness. It’s as important as ever. People want to make a fair wage that reflects their position and have a fair chance to grow in their careers.
- To do a good job. Your best employees will take pride in their work, so it’s contingent on the employer to provide adequate training and resources to succeed.
- Respect. Fundamentally, people want to feel valued as an employee and a person.
Mind your manners
Think of how often it’s stressful in the pizzeria. It’s not always easy to be respectful and say the magic words that get you far in life: “please” and “thank you.” Nevertheless, those words should not be forgotten.
Early in my management days, my supervisor visited my store on a very busy Friday night. I was leading effectively — but a little like a drill sergeant. You’re probably familiar with the tone: “More dough! Pop that bubble! The phone is ringing!” My team crushed the rush, and I was so proud. I couldn’t wait for my supervisor to tell me how great I was. Instead, he said something that has stuck with me for 25 years: “Nick, your team did a great job, but before all your orders try putting a ‘please’ in there, and after the task is complete, try putting a ‘thank you’ in there. You may have had a great night but without those two words, eventually you won’t have a team to lead.”
That was a good lesson on management from a good leader — and that’s what we’ll discuss next time around: coaching and showing leadership.
NICK BOGACZ is the founder and president of Caliente Pizza & Draft House in Pittsburgh. Instagram: @caliente_pizza