When someone walks into your home, what do they feel? Is it the same for everyone? How is a new resident welcomed? A family member visiting for the first time? Would a new job applicant feel the same way?

A few weeks ago, I posted a blog called “What Are You Settling For?” and in it, I described an experience in which I had settled for an employee who really didn’t live up to the standards I should have been holding for my organization. I know I’m not alone in that experience. After presentations, where I share success stories, people often say to me, “I wish I could hire staff like that!” It’s as if good employees are some sort of different species that are only available to other organizations!

Great employees want a great place to work

Attracting great employees is a byproduct of culture and people can feel your culture from the minute they walk through the door. When someone walks into your home, what do they feel? Is it the same for everyone? How is a new resident welcomed? A family member visiting for the first time? Would a new job applicant feel the same way? In a recent blog I shared about a home where every single person who walked through the front doors was greeted with, “Welcome! Can I get you something to eat or drink?” Even a person applying for a job! I’m not sure anyone ever took them up on the offer of food and drink. But it immediately introduced a culture of how well they took care of their staff. On the opposite extreme, recently I was chatting with an employee who recalled showing up for an interview where the hiring manager was 20 minutes late, and then proceeded to take calls on his phone during the interview. What kind of culture does that reflect? And what kind of people do you attract when you treat them like that?

How can you create a better culture?

Consider the entire job application and hiring process from start to finish from a job applicant’s point of view and try to identify some places you could improve. Here are some ideas to get started:

  • What’s your job posting say? Is it reflective of the company culture? Check out my recent ad that received 100 creative responses from enthusiastic applicants. It attracted the perfect person for me!
  • Do you have applicants fill out a lengthy and boring form? How necessary is all that information? Can you streamline it?
  • Can someone download forms from your website and fill them out ahead of time or apply online?
  • How are applicants greeted when they first enter the building? What do they see? Who is their first point of contact?
  • Where do they wait? Is it comfortable? Are there refreshments available? (Even water is nice.)
  • Does the person conducting the interviews really have enough time for each, or does she feel rushed? Do interviews run behind and cause people to have to wait? How could you improve the process?
  • Is someone available for questions after the initial interview? Do you let the applicant know how to contact you? Do you let people know if they didn’t get the job, or only if they did?
  • What is the intake and training process like? How could it be made smoother and more enjoyable?

These are just a few areas where you might be able to improve your hiring process. And, if you’re one of those people who’s still stuck on my example above thinking, “I can’t offer everyone who walks in the door a meal! People would apply for jobs just to come eat!” I say, you’re missing the point. I’d bet that it would be the rare occasion that someone did say yes, and that the message the offer would send is more valuable than the cost of the few meals that you may actually provide. What if no one ever took you up on the offer? The offer itself still would change the tone of the usual application process and introduce an employee-focused culture. And that is the point. What message are you sending applicants? “Is it we care about you?” Or is it, “We can’t be bothered with you.” Take a closer look, you may be surprised. Have you had success attracting “better” employees? What did you do? Denise Scott is a passionate senior living speaker, teacher and consultant who helps senior living organizations provide the highest quality of life for their residents and team members.  You can read more about her on Denise’s website where you will also find lots of great resources:  www.denisebscott.com
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