In many ways, recruiting and staffing is like tending to a garden. Both require patience, commitment, and planning. Here are some steps you can take to grow a flourishing workforce – following a gardener’s lead:
Experienced gardeners know that before the spade can hit the dirt, it’s important to have a plan. Likewise, in order to create an effective workforce, you need to be thoughtful and organized:
- Timing is everything! Rush the hiring process and you may end up with a dud. Wait too long to hire and you’ll upset your existing staff and possibly miss out on a top candidate. Create a plan and timeline upfront.
- Strategize. Talk about the hiring process and who will be involved ahead of time. Look at everyone’s schedules and begin to backfill dates on a calendar for interviews.
- Partner with a staffing expert. A staffing agency knows how to find top talent and will sell the sizzle of your company. It’s much more compelling when a third party champions your message. (After all, even a master gardener consults a greenhouse for advice!)
Through years of cultivating gardens, we’ve learned that some plants grow well together, some stunt each other’s growth, and some are better suited for certain climates and conditions. Likewise, to build a strong workforce, you need to hire the right people for the job:
- Identify qualified candidates. When selecting top candidates from pile of resumes, use this checklist to make efficient use of your time. Look for applicants that effectively share what they’ve done in the past and where they want to go next. This is also a good time to “listen to your gut” – if you get a good feeling about a candidate, consider an interview!
- Hire for culture. Identify 5-10 key personality characteristics and skills of your top performing long-term employees and seek similar traits as you add to your team.
- Keep an open mind. Consider hiring someone with less experience but great potential. You will need to invest additional time and training, but you may find your next rock star employee. Remember, skills can be acquired, but personalities cannot.
It can be tempting to skip the prep work and go straight to planting. Just as it’s important to prepare and fertilize the ground before planting seeds, it’s important to have an onboarding plan to effectively “plant” new employees.
- Create a great first impression. Before your new hire’s first day, set up their workstation, print business cards, and prepare training materials. This will communicate that you’re ready and excited.
- Get new employees rooted into your company culture. Introduce new hires to their team during the first week. Assign a mentor to new hires to help them get to know the company and their co-workers.
- Check in with new hires regularly. As a rule of thumb, check in every day for the first week and then weekly for the first 90 days. This will lay a foundation of trust and respect and establish open dialogue and communication with new employees from the very start.
Once the plants are in the ground, the gardener has to water, weed, and fertilize. Employers too need to invest time and effort into maintaining and growing their teams.
- Train new employees well and continue to provide ongoing personal and professional development opportunities. Employees benefit by expanding their skills and you benefit by gaining a productive, skilled workforce. It’s a win-win!
- Create an engaging, welcoming work culture. This involves more than simply putting a ping-pong table in the break room. It’s about creating a place that fosters trust, pride, and content employees.
Like gardening, hiring requires planning, a little TLC, and patience. The fruit of your labor, however, far outweighs the hours of work. If you need help cultivating your workforce, let’s talk! We’ll put our years of experience to work for you.
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