Most companies are obsessed with selling. In my experience, these are the successful ones. Chances are though, the lens they use when seeking to improve their sales performance faces outwards – towards the customer. Rarely does it face inward and towards the people in the company that make selling possible. I’m not just referring to sales people, but to all people engaged in the process. This is true despite the fact that issue number one for most companies consistently has to do with talent. Finding it, keeping it, and developing it.
Most leaders never stop to consider the fact that their sales and marketing process only accounts for half the audience it should. We dedicate time selling ourselves to our customers and forget to sell ourselves to our people. We then scratch our heads and wonder why future employees aren’t lined up in the foyer to work for us. What we forget is that if we don’t have a compelling reason for them to do so, why should they? Would we expect customers to be lined up to buy from us without a good reason? Of course not.
Here are 5 things you can do right now to change the game:
1.Create and tell your story.
Recognize and accept that just like customers, all current and prospective employees need a compelling reason to work with us. That needs to go both outside and inside our organization. I’m talking about selling here. Create, know, and share what makes you compelling and a great place to work.
2. Create a compelling vision and share it.
We spend millions of dollars writing and telling our story to people outside the organization. Spend as much time on the internal version. Give people a reason to believe your organization is special, different, and making a difference in the world (go beyond the fact that you make money). Just like our sales and marketing efforts, repeat this story over and over until it looks like one of the vinyl albums in a crate next to your furnace.
3. Discover your core values.
These are the fundamental behaviors that you and your best people share and live every day. These values define your culture. They are not the aspirational words that describe just anyone. Know who you are, what you’re willing to fight for, and what you’re absolutely not willing to tolerate violations of. Never apologize to anyone for this.
4. Assess everyone in the company around your values.
Be brutally honest. Face the facts. Make a list of who doesn’t measure up. Accept that the number one reason there isn’t a line of people waiting to work for you is mostly because that list of names is killing your culture. They’ve hung a virtual sign on your front door that says “don’t work here, we’re just like all the rest”.
5. Take action on your list.
Don’t be a weenie. Make the decisions and give those people a chance to work somewhere they’ll fit. They’ll be happier and so will you. When your best people who do fit your culture see that action, they will become your best recruiters.
The time to do this is now. Don’t wait. Be bold and courageous. Take the action and that line of future employees will start to form.