Remember the old saying? “People don’t quit a job; they quit a boss.” It’s true. People work for people. Not companies. According to a recent survey by TINYpulse—a Seattle-based company that creates software that measures how employees feel and perform—the number one reason people leave jobs is poor management. The good news? This gives employers an opportunity to up their game. And recruiters–you can overcome this obstacle by placing people with the right bosses first and with the right company second.

  1.     Realize that hard skills are a dime a dozen. However, soft skills, work environment, personality, and career goals are not. Here’s what I mean. Let’s say I have a perfect candidate on paper for ABC Company. All the hard skills align, but I know that his/her work style requires a boss who gives him/her the freedom to explore solutions instead of working through a single way to reach a goal. I’m going to make sure that he/she finds a boss who values his/her problem-solving ability; otherwise, he’ll/she’ll soon be looking for another job!

 

  1.     Avoid categories. Whatever you think you know about a certain demographic, leave at the door. Millennials and creatives often get categorized, but we need to stay focused on the person in front of us. Maybe they offer a fresh perspective that’s badly needed. Maybe they have a skill set that can move your company to the next level. Look at the person in front of you, not the category.

 

  1.     Define your culture. Are you a permission-based employer or do you tend to let people innovate and say no later if it doesn’t work? How do you evaluate employees and how often? Do you have a flexible schedule that allows employees to work from home? Casual or formal? Fast-paced or laid back? The list goes on and on. What’s important is that you have defined your culture in such a way that you attract people who will thrive within it. This means that your mission statement and core values not only are on your website and in your job descriptions, but also are lived out each day in your organization.

One person who lived out his company’s culture every day was Sam Walton. Back in the 1980s, I was fortunate to work with him and witnessed his philosophy first-hand. At that time I placed the highest paid executive in Walmart’s history and learned two valuable lessons from Sam’s leadership: 1) We’re all in this together. 2) Understanding a company’s culture is the most critical piece of a successful placement.

 

  1.     Tell your company’s story. There’s a lot of noise on the Internet and social media. If your company has made significant changes in mission, philosophy, or organization, make sure that potential candidates know that. For example, maybe you’ve recently hired a new CEO who’s amazing to work for and turning your company around. Make sure he/she is visible on your website and social media, especially LinkedIn. Potential candidates will want to listen to the CEO’s webcasts and keynotes to determine if this is a person they want to work for.

 

  1.     Listen. One more lesson from Sam Walton. He understood that people want to make a contribution. Often, he would go into stores, talk to associates, and really listen to them. Some had great ideas that he’d bring back to the office and implement on Monday morning. Employees who are heard by their employers will feel valued and will be more likely to stay with you for a long time.

 

~Elaine Erickson has over 40 years of executive search experience and has been with Preston & Partners since 2008. She is a lifelong learner, enjoys Off-Broadway theater and likes a nice shortbread cookie.

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