How to Attract and Retain Better Employees

At National Drug Screening, I speak, email, or message with company owners, managers, and supervisors every day. Often times they are calling in a panic (or at least extremely concerned) because that had a problem come up that has created or may create liability for the company. Other times, I hear from companies who are being proactive to insure they attract and retain the best people possible and who want to make sure a plan is in place in case they have an employee that does have or develop a substance abuse problem.

The reason I mention this is that is demonstrates the difference in mindsets between companies. The first step in attracting better candidates or even just qualified people is to create an environment where people want to work, where they feel safe, and where they are respected and appreciated. There is no “One Way” to do these things but some ways get better results than others.

Here are five things a company or manager can do to attract and retain better employees.

1. Clear Job Duties and Job Description

Job descriptions insure your employee’s duties align with your company needs.

They assist you in making better hiring decisions by attracting people better suited for the position and they allow for the development of recruiting strategies to reach the most qualified and desirable applicants.

Job descriptions can also be used to determine areas that need improvement when expectations or goals are not being met and they can be used as a basis for performance management.

Employees who know what is expected, when it is expected, and who understand the responsibilities and duties that are required, typically perform better and report higher job satisfaction.

At National Drug Screening, we insure each member of the team understands not only their specific role in the organization but also how their role is linked to the success of others in the company and to the overall goal of a great customer experience.

2. Good Compensation

Notice I did not state “better pay”. There is an important distinction between better pay and good compensation. Numerous studies support the finding that job satisfaction has an extremely low correlation to pay.

Even though starting pay can get someone’s attention or be a factor that leads them elsewhere, companies are better off focusing on the whole package. This may include insurance, retirement contributions, flextime, etc. These are important, but many times there are things of greater importance to the employee (which is very IMPORTANT). These may include simple things, like doughnuts at the Tuesday Staff meeting, having a dry cleaning pick-up and delivery at the office, fun contests (not just sales contests!), Mixed up Mondays where every person does another person’s job for 1 hour, and more.

National Drug Screening, for example, is an amazing company to work for every day I enjoy going to work. The reason for that is the vision and passion of the founder, Mr. Joe Reilly. His belief every employee should strive for excellence in every situation is reinforced by how he runs the company, the people that are invited to join the company, and the things he and the rest of the management do to make it a great place to work. One of the things my wife likes best is the one day a month she lets me take her car to work…that just happens to coincide with the once per month that National Drug Screening brings in a car detailing company to wash and wax the cars of all the employees…so sometimes the perks are not just for the staff. At least that is what she tells me.

3. Recognition, Rewards, and Awards

Positive reinforcement is a powerful and effective behavior modifier and can be delivered in many ways. It is best done with a combination of formal and informal recognition, compensation based rewards, and accomplishment based awards.

While it’s important to get praise as part of a team that successfully meets goals or targets, people also desire to be recognized for their individual achievements by both the people around them and those above them. Knowing that they will be recognized is strong motivation for an individual to “go above and beyond.”

Providing positive recognition of an accomplishment serves to raise individual self-esteem, reinforce their value to the organization, improve their self-image and encourage them to accomplish even greater results in the future. As they become more confident and team focused, they will also positively influence and encourage others to accomplish more.

4. “NO Drama” Policy

Gossiping, complaining, whining, criticizing, and controlling are all Drama Creators in an organization. Employees who bring the drama to the workplace tend to create more problems than they solve with their work. It is essential to set guidelines and expectations to minimize “drama” in the workplace.

While it is understandable and reasonable for people to have complaints, problems at home, or with the way something was done, how they respond to it in the workplace can either improve morale or destroy it.

Setting clear expectations of how people should behave, address problems, etc will go a long way to creating a more positive work environment. It is also essential that managers are trained to recognize when there are issues and to address them appropriately. This includes training for staff on how to turn situations around if someone does start complaining or gossiping instead of jumping on the bandwagon; this is not always easy but when everyone in clear that there is a “No Drama” policy and enough people work to stop negativity before it starts, then you will have a much better work environment.

At National Drug Screening, we have a “No Drama” policy and that is one of the things that help make NDS a great place to work.

Here are a few of the rules that we follow:

Rule #2: Save the Venting for Outside the Office

Rule #3: Seek Out Solutions, NOT People to Complain to!

Rule #5: Never Assume Negative Intent by someone else

5. Clear Policy & Procedures (and yes that includes a Drug Free Workplace Policy)

Why are policies and procedures so important? Simply put, well-written business policies and procedures allow employees to clearly understand their roles and responsibilities within predefined limits and provide clear direction of actions to take in specific situations. Basically, policies and procedures allow management to guide operations without constant management intervention or micromanagement.

Company policies and procedures are necessary for consistency in your day-to-day operations and activities. Policies and procedures also provide clarity when dealing with accountability issues or activities that are of critical importance to the company, such as, health & safety, legal liabilities, regulatory requirements or issues that have serious consequences.

At National Drug Screening, we regularly assist companies with their drug free workplace (DFW) policies which are becoming an essential tool in mitigating liability and costs for companies. The increase in private sector drug and alcohol use and the legalization of marijuana in some states (even though it is illegal federally), has created an ever changing mine field for companies. Failure to have a DFW Policy or not having policies and procedures in place can be a very costly mistake in terms of causing turnover, opening the company up to liability, and possible even creating an unsafe work environment.

Frequent turnover tends to have a negative impact on employee morale, productivity, and company revenue. Recruiting and training a new employee requires staff time and money and is often frustrating to management. It is not hard or necessarily a great expense to attract and retain quality employees but it does take planning, consistency, and commitment. The only question is will you do what it takes to be a great place to work?

How to Attract and Retain Better Employees
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