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PEAK Business Blast

The strategies of employee recruiting and retention have evolved significantly in the last five years. Successful companies now market their corporate culture as ardently as they do their manufacturing or service capabilities. While competitive salaries and traditional benefits will always be important to a prospective employee, the personality of the organization’s work environment also plays a major role in their decision.

A significant reality that employers face today is how the concept and value of loyalty has changed. To the modern workforce, tales of tenures measured in decades are now considered quaint. Three different jobs in four years used to be a red flag on a resume – it now denotes assertive and aggressive career exploration. When job opportunities are plentiful, as they currently are in Wisconsin, employees are far less likely to resign themselves to bend and accept the things they dislike and cannot change about their employer. If you can make the same amount of money elsewhere, why put up with the antiquated internal politics of a company – or the temper of the person to whom you report – or the self-serving infighting of other members of your team… Whatever the reason, if the job doesn’t seem like the good fit it originally looked to be, it’s easy enough to start over somewhere else.

Are you familiar with Undercover Boss? In this television show, a business owner pretends to be a new employee of their own company – typically in a “starting” role. The owner quickly learns that life in the actual business trenches of their organization isn’t nearly as easy as they assumed. They learn that the system of management they created looks great from the top but is stifling at the bottom. The bosses are invariably surprised to hear that their employees have many great ideas for improvement and see the business, good and bad, from a perspective unique to that of management. One of the first things the newly enlightened boss does is eliminate the walls between employees and management – encouraging feedback, improvement plans and legitimate collaboration.

One characteristic of a company’s culture that is acknowledged as being attractive to bright and energetic people is an intrapreneurial environment. This practice encourages employees to challenge existing thinking and protocols to solve problems. It asks for a clean slate to begin project planning and is as reliant on instinct as it is education and experience. The opposite of the assembly-line approach where employees’ work output is isolated and collected, it empowers the employee to see the project through – to be responsible for the creation and execution of the plan and the final delivery of the results – much like being an entrepreneur but with company support and appropriate guidance.

A business has to market and sell itself to its customer base. We now have to market and sell our business to our employees. But, just like your product or service, what you market and sell must be based on the reality of quality and truth. You can advertise that your product lasts twice as long as your competitor, but if it doesn’t, you’ll never make the second sell. If you espouse a culture of employee ownership and support for creative thinking but your reality is that upper management is smarter than everyone else and you’ve always done it that way, your recent employee will quickly become someone else’s new employee.


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