When you are running a business, having A- employees is good but not really good enough. To reach the optimal level of performance in your company, you need to find and nurture A+ employees, those people who are driven to excel and constantly strive to improve. In order to retain these extraordinary workers, you will need to surround them with other A+ people. If you do not, they will search for another workplace, one that will allow them to fulfill their potential among like-minded and like-talented people. As a result, you need to create an environment that will allow A+ people to thrive.
Attracting and Retaining A+ People
In order to attract and retain high level people, you need to have the systems that they need to thrive. Excellent people will only do B-level work if you do not create the environment in which they do their best work. One way to build the right environment is to have your people determine what it should include. Encourage your people to experiment, allowing them to come up with forward-thinking strategies, including values statements and corporate social responsibility programs.
Coming up with new working strategies requires proper guidelines, so you need to create company value statements that inspire A+ creativity. Company values statements should clearly state your operation’s core beliefs. Creating an effective values statement requires that you be specific. If your values statement says that you want to improve the community, you have to explain how. Will you be contributing a certain amount of money to charity or sponsoring needy children? These things need to be included in the statement. The statement should also use simple language and be frequently revised. Circumstances change and your company’s focus may change as well. Your values statement should reflect those changes.
Corporate Social Responsibility
A+ people are often engaged by delivering on corporate social responsibility. When they are deciding where they want to work, they are often swayed by the social and ethical practices of a business. You can build a socially responsible company by adopting several practices. For instance, you should be as transparent as possible about how your company operates. Be clear about your investors, investments and profits. People can often find this information on their own, or even guess at it, so just disseminate the information yourself. If you have anything with which you are uncomfortable, improve it and move on.
Being environmentally conscious is another way for your company to be socially responsible. You should “go green” as much as possible in your energy usage, your recycling efforts and your corporate purchases. Simply using recycled products, including paper, helps the planet and improves your standing in the community.
Finally, involve yourself in local events and charities. Sponsor the football team or help rebuild the local community center. Organize community volunteer teams at work. Be a visible and constant force for good in the surrounding community.
Taking Care of Your People
A fair salary and adequate personal time off are important in recruiting and maintaining an excellent workforce. However, often even more important is coming up with ways to make each individual feel valued. Simple things like acknowledging major personal events are helpful. Birthdays, births and weddings should always trigger at least a card, if not a small office celebration. Other activities that your people enjoy, and that are appropriate within the workforce, can be done with some regularity to make working for your company feel like just an extension or your peoples’ lives. When your workers feel appreciated and supported, they will feel energized and work harder for the company.
The Right Interview Questions
Hiring A+ people requires that you ask the right questions. A sterling resume only gives you an overview of education and experience. A good interview question will help you ascertain someone’s passion, problem-solving skills and commitment to the industry. For instance, instead of asking someone that old standard, “What are your weaknesses?” ask about the last time the interviewee learned from a significant mistake at work. A+ people will always use a mistake to strengthen their future work performance. They see mistakes as learning opportunities and not something to hide from possible employers.
Once you have a team of A+ people, keep it going. Be constantly vigilant in order to retain and gain the best talent. For help in building and maintaining the proper systems for attracting top people talent, take a look at our 10 Levers of Optimal Business Performance. You will learn about applied metrics, intentional culture, colleague empowerment, work environments and relational trust, among other levers. All of these factors lead to a high performance culture and thus optimal business performance.
For help in determining the current performance climate of your business, take the Performance Climate Survey. You will quickly learn where your company’s is strong and where you might need help. Do not settle for a good company or take steps now to assemble the best A+ team possible so you can have a great company? The secrets are within your reach.