Effective job applicants possess a dynamic mix of hard and soft skills. Soft skills are personal qualities, habits, attitudes and social behaviors that are shown to be just as important for indicating job performance potential as hard skills. Here are some examples:
1. Strong work ethic
2. Positive attitude
3. Good communication skills
4. Time management awareness
5. Independent problem-solving skills abilities
6. Able to work independently and as a team
7. Willingness to take direction, including how they can do a better job
8. Learns new information quickly
10. Works well under pressure
11. Punctual and dependable
12. Able to multitask
It is difficult to objectively assess an applicant’s soft skills. Consequently, it’s important to ask interview questions that further assess these traits. Also, you may want to ask applicants to assess their soft skill abilities through a customized job application.
How to hire & retain
How can you keep great employees? A study conducted by The U.S. Department of Labor reveals that the highest-valued employees seek the following benefits from a job:
1. Career development and growth opportunities
2. Regular feedback about their performance
3. Opportunities to make direct contributions and be recognized for doing so
4. Employer that recognizes the need to balance work and outside life
5. Employer that is consistent and compassionate
6. A good salary or wage and an opportunity to increase it over time
7. Benefits tailored to their individual needs
How to engage
The primary purpose of engaging your employees is to cultivate a high work ethic and a commitment to your business goals, standards and expectations. To ensure such engagement, as an employer you need to pay close attention to communication. Here are some strategies to get your started:
• Be clear about your company’s goals, mission, vision and brand; and communicate this information frequently to your staff.
• Regularly communicate how well an employee is doing and how well your company is doing. The latter is important if you want your employees to feel as if they are part of a team with a shared mission, vision and goals.
• Recognize different people are motivated in different ways. Seek to understand what motivates each employee.
• Ask questions and listen to employees. Ask them what they need and how they are doing. Also, be prepared to follow up. If you ask an employee if they need anything to make their job more manageable and they tell you they need sharper knives, then act right away to make it happen.
• Empower your staff to do their best with good leadership, resources, training and feedback.
Key retention strategies
A good retention strategy starts from the moment employees are hired until they leave your company. Changing some employment practices can have a positive impact on retaining great employees.
• Recruitment and hiring. It’s worth spending time and effort on recruiting. If you hire the right person, the odds of retention are increased.
• First impressions. First impressions matter to customers and new employees. Treating your employees well during critical early stages of employment is proven to improve retention.
• Provide good training. Providing your employees with proper training during orientation and afterwards are key factors in helping them grow and stay motivated.
• Performance evaluation. Developing a systematic performance evaluation program is important. When employees know what they’re doing well and where they need to improve, both they improve and your business benefits.
• Pay and benefits. If you don’t offer livable wages, you will likely face continuous employee turnover. An employee’s compensation can impact their ability to focus and perform optimally at work.
• Communication. Effectively communicating is important to ensure they have the necessary information, knowledge and skills to perform to their highest abilities.
• Leave on good terms. Regardless if an employee quits or is fired, it is important to make sure (as much as possible) that they leave on good terms. This increases the chances they will recommend your company to others (both customers and potential employees). Additionally, it will minimize the number of unemployment claims that are filed, which may help keep your insurance rates lower.
See Michael Rosman at Catersource 2018. Click here for his session schedule.