(First of a three-part series by Green Pail Partners)
Does staffing or retaining top talent keep you up at night? If so, you are not alone! As a former general manager of a winter resort, seasonally employing over 300 team members, I spent many restless nights envisioning the exceptional experiences we wanted each guest to enjoy, but unsure of how I would find passionate individuals to deliver on our promise.
Good news, you can attract top talent. Just Pause, Envision, and Follow These Steps!
Your company reputation or brand needs the same care you would give to a garden. You can’t just plant seeds and walk away. Your company brand needs tending and nurturing to grow, thrive and become the envy of the neighborhood (or in this case competing employers)! Follow these five steps to success:
Gather your leadership team and get aligned. As a team, decide what you want customers to say about your company. Start by gathering feedback from trusted staff members, they are in the weeds daily and have valuable insights. Do not function in a silo, feedback is the gift that keeps giving! Make sure your leadership is on the same page. Consistent messaging and actions to your teams is crucial. Your result should be compelling, bold and concise. At my resort, we wanted every customer to say “that was the best getaway I’ve ever had”. Remember, if your vision doesn’t scare you a little bit, it's not bold enough.
Determine actions to drive the experience. Conduct a team exercise to uncover actions that each employee could take to “make someone's day.” Including your employees, will enlist buy-in. With our seasonal resort staff, we gathered valuable ideas during orientations. With our full-time staff of 40, we held workshops to draw out ideas. During the session we discussed that the average customer/family could spend $500+ for a day on the slopes and we wanted to ensure they left, feeling their valuable time and money was well spent. The team’s responses were extremely thoughtful and helpful to shape our next steps.
Define the Personas. Once your team agrees on the “what” to do, next you need to envision the personality traits, characteristics of the people that can help you achieve it. Deploy a marketing mindset towards employees and candidates, similar to how you think about customer personas. What special skills are needed? Customer-service, bilingual, patience, product knowledge? Use a skills gap analysis to help uncover what skills you have on staff already and identify the gaps. Next, determine how to fill those gaps. Hire or train?
Express or refine your values. You now know “who” you need, but what will make the job seekers choose to join you? This is where tending to your brand is key. At the resort, sparking a collaborative relationship between our human resources and marketing teams, launched us into a new realm of how we attracted and retained great talent. This is an exercise of looking inward and defining what makes your company a great place to work. Why are you there? Ask your current employees what brought them there and why do they stay? Now you are defining your employer value proposition.
Re-tool, recruit and hire. Achieving staffing and organizational goals is a challenge in a competitive job market. Begin “re-designing” your job descriptions to attract the personas you are looking for. Don’t be boring, tell your story. Think of your job posting as you would a consumer advertisement. This will improve the quality of applicants because you are clear about what you are looking for and what you offer. Inspire them to apply!
Above all, stay focused and steadfast. Being in the winter resort business during drought years we wondered if we’d ever rise from the staffing caverns. We remained resilient, invested the time in these five steps, and learned a ton through some very challenging employment conditions. There is a term for our growth over the years of hard but exciting work; It’s called “EMPLOYER BRANDING”.
Watch for CEA’s June newsletter for the second article focused on Becoming an Employer Attracting Top Talent.
Green Pail Partners is a consulting company whose mission is to support small to medium size businesses in nurturing employer brands for talent acquisition and retention.