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Stop Employee Churn, Now

Almost every business leader we've talked to shares the same complaint; employee churn.

"We spend way too much time training new people," they'll tell us. "Just when they get the point of contributing, they leave. Someone dangles $5,000 in front of them and we start the whole thing again."

When we ask why it keeps happening, they say, "I guess it's just business, right?"

The short answer is, "No." Of course it's not just business. Employee churn isn't suffered through like a bad poker hand. It stems from a lack of effort, the right hiring goals, and a defined and disciplined process to meet them. And that's all on the CEO.

"We work hard to find the right candidates," we're told. "We bring them in two or three times: have 'em talk to a dozen people but we still get burned, and way too often."

The biggest reason it happens is that the you haven't defined who the "right" candidates are. Instead your people screen for who has the experience to do the job and who do they think will "fit in." And when this continually leads to disappointment they shrug their shoulders and the exact same thing starts over again with the same result.

To find the right people you have to look a lot deeper than who can do the job and/or who'd be fun to be around. The right people are those who are emotionally tied to what your company is trying to achieve. your vision, values and beliefs. These are the people who will bring their all every day. They will stick with you even when someone tries to lure them away because they believe in what your company is doing and find fulfillment in making a real contribution.

The problem is that too few companies have ever defined those things or held themselves accountable for actually delivering them. CEOs offer glib one-liners like, "We're in business to make money" or "We expect to achieve global domination." This is usually followed with the reason: "We offer the best products and the best services at a very competitive price, all delivered by the best people in the industry."

Blah, blah, blah.

We're constantly surprised by how many CEOs say this in all seriousness and believe they've really cracked the code. The fact that employees continue to leave to take jobs with competitors who also claim to have the best products, best services and best people, is lost on them.

So here's your thought of the day. Demonstrate the courage and foresight to define yourself: who you are at your core and what you value and believe. Then be able to simply explain what you do, how you do it, why and for whom in no more than three straight-forward sentences.

Until you do, you're going to muddle around in the dark with everyone else, and employees will travel from one to the next in search of a better paycheck.

Here's an example from the Nar8iv Partnership:

We help CEOs of innovative companies scale to their full potential because innovation drives society forward.

Too many great ideas are dying because CEOs think, operate and talk about their companies like it's 2010 instead of 2030.

Rather than try in vain to hold onto the past, we help them build toward a rewarding future and get there first.

Simple right? It starts by letting go of the fear that defining yourself will lead to lost opportunity. It's quite the opposite. Insisting you do what everyone else does, only better, is why you're largely invisible.

So start by asking yourself four simple questions and coming up with honest answers that the right people will find so compelling they'll form a line to buy from you, work for/with you and stay forever.

Dig deep. Focus on your passion; the ONE thing you love doing and do better than anyone. This would be the one thing you'd hold onto if forced to let go of everything else.

It's also the one thing that a certain audience values above all else, will gladly pay a fair price to find and eagerly share their find with their like-minded friends.

So what do you do? How do you do it? Why do you do it they way you do it? For whom do you do it.

The goal is to answer these questions honestly and as specifically as possible so you clearly stand alone. Be proud and confident in your ability to deliver at this highest level. Forget the fear of possible losing opportunities that rarely actually come from playing defense.

Be willing to put yourself on the line.

Our goal is to deliver honest answers that form any emotional connection with this narrow audience. Said another way, broad answers sound, at the worst, like bullshit and at the best, like your competitors dangling that $5,000.

Then search for candidate who share your vision, values and beliefs. Have the people within your organization who exemplify those values and beliefs interview each candidate.

Develop a game plan for each interviewer that focuses on identifying candidate that share your vision, values and beliefs and relegates "experience" to a secondary role. Experience can be used as a tie-breaker if needed to elevate one of two candidates who are otherwise equal.

Have interviewers talk in general terms about the company's attitudes on hiring the "right " people before each carefully digs into two key areas. Overlapping with another interviewer on a belief like: "open collaboration" will give you two different perspectives on the candidate's real feelings about each key area. Have interviewers ask open-ended questions so each candidate has an opportunity to get into specifics.

At the end of each interview, have the interviewer explain the areas they were charged with exploring and give the person an opportunity to add their thoughts. This can help clarify things while providing some insight into their personalities.

This process will deliver an informed opinion on who is the right candidate. It might not always be the most experienced, attractive, funniest or best educated but it will be the right candidate.

The final responsibility is yours as CEO.

Hole true to your vision and openly live your values and beliefs. Focus on that single point on the horizon and challenge every employee to bring what they have to help you get their.

You will forget about your competitors and their "universal solutions" and focus only on being a better company than you were yesterday. Clients and employees will love being part of this and stay forever. As long as you don't let them down.

So go play some offense and see what happens.

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