Demographic studies reinforce our daily experience: It’s getting harder and harder to find good employees — but not for everyone! Whether you’re a local contractor or national airline, there’s an employer of choice in every market; these companies find good people knocking on their door because they enjoy a high “Attractiveness Factor.” For example, Southwest Airline and Jet Blue are probably getting far more qualified candidates than United, American, and Delta because they have a business model and culture that attracts employees, rather than repels them.
Survey after survey reveals that one third to one half of the employees in any industry are looking for a better employer — a far higher figure than the 5% to 15% unemployment rate in those industries. Why would these people, who already have jobs, leave them to come work for you? Your Attractiveness Factor is related directly to the job satisfaction of your employees. As we stated in a recent newsletter, Baldridge Award winners have approximately a 66% job satisfaction level, while Great Places to Work Institute Award winners are up to an 82% average. You can bet that the recruiting offices in these companies have a far easier time than their competitors.
To improve your Attractiveness Factor, we’d recommend these steps:
- Put the right people on every seat of the bus. No excuses. Nothing upsets team members more than management placing the wrong employee on their team — especially without their input.
- Have your employees market on your behalf. Referrals from existing employees are a great source of leads. Also, get employees involved in the hiring process by using such tools as group interviews.
- Show employees that you care by asking them what they need to be successful and to take pride in their work. This applies even when they’re leaving. On average, one dissatisfied customer will tell seven people about their grievance — and it’s no different with dissatisfied employees. When you terminate someone, do it with grace and understanding. Conduct exit interviews to correct any potential resentments that might fester into a lawsuit.
- Brand your company as a great place to work. For example, many Circuit City stores have a banner over their entrance that states, “We’re Always Looking to Hire Great Employees.” Southwest Airlines brands the fact that their employees Love the Work They Do Every Day. What’s your brand? How do you show it?
Lighten up. Whether you label it fun, joy, love, or nonsense, find a way to enjoy! Many of us are looking for that something extra out of our daily grinds. What’s yours?
There’s no way around it — the American workforce is aging. In fact, this is such a major issue that the AARP publishes an annual list of those companies that do the best job with supporting senior workers. Such companies have these common characteristics:
- Help older workers adjust to the fact they might be managed by employees 20 years or more their junior.
- Tap into their wisdom and share it.
- Realize that senior workers like flexibility as much as working parents and others do.
- Place these workers in a mentoring position and give them a junior employee to mentor them on subjects such as technology and marketing trends.
- Invest in ergonomics that can make their jobs less tiring.
- Reconsider mandatory retirement programs.
- Think long term — their older employees do!
Older Americans want to work longer and many of them have to. Employers need dedicated and loyal workers willing to stick around for a while. If properly managed, this can be a win/win solution for all involved.
Caveat: A recent Jury Verdict Research Report reported three age discrimination verdicts in the amounts of $120,000, $120,000, and $500,000. That does not include the time, cost, and emotional investment associated with putting up the defense. When it comes to older workers, be careful not to step on the Age Discrimination and Employment Act landmine; realize that at times it might be cheaper to keep them, even if they’re not performing up to standard.