by Douglas Wick

What do you use your Core Values for?  How do you use them?

One of my customers is excellent at hiring and retaining “A” players for their business.  At a recent quarterly planning meeting the marketing director provided an email he’d sent that included a video of the president, Joe Barton and him (Marty M. Fahncke) engaging in conversation about Barton Publishing’s Core Values with viewers offering comments throughout the presentation.

As you can see by the picture Barton Publishing is a very Christian oriented business.  They don’t shy away from their beliefs.  In the presentation Joe offers insight into why Barton Publishing created Core Values, why they are so important to them, and the significance they provide in establishing the behavior their organization desires.

You may be offended or even find their values contrary to your beliefs.  Yet I challenge you to deny the power of having these beliefs in a video that establishes who you are with a prospective employee.

Barton_Publishing_Core_ValuesOne of the most demanding aspects of business is acquiring talent that will give 100% to your organization.  Commitment and engagement are fleeting in today’s business world.  Gallup’s most recent survey indicates less than one third (31.5%) of US workers are engaged in their jobs in 2014. The same survey indicated 51% are not engaged and 17.5% are actively disengaged!

Gallup’s State of the American Manager report noted that only 12% of employees strongly agree that their manager helps them set work priorities, and just 13% strongly agree that their manager helps them set performance goals.  The problem with employee engagement is not just at the feet of the employee.  Managers need to step up and engage their employees.  Having a strong set of Core Values that are alive in your organization is just one way to get greater employee engagement. Hiring managers who believe in your Core Values and Core Purpose ensures you’ll be immersing new employees in the WHY of your business.

If you listen to the presentation you’ll hear Marty Fahncke, Barton Publishing’s chief marketing director comment that one of the main reasons he joined Barton is due to the company’s Core Values.  In my brief experience working with Barton almost every new employee cites their Core Values as one of the major reasons they are so excited to join the company.

Take a look at Barton Publishing Career Opportunities page for a list of other reasons to work for Barton. Barton is an online based company so every one of their employees work virtually from their home offices.  Many find this to be an extraordinary benefit.

How enticing is your employee recruiting process?  There are many elements to attract the right people.

Few businesses recognize employee recruitment as a marketing function.

uncontainable_headerWhen the Container Store opens a new location, lines are formed outside the location with candidates vying for a position to work.  Verne Harnish cited CEO Kip Tindell’s book Uncontainable: How Passion, Commitment, and Conscious Capitalism Built a Business Where Everyone Thrives as a must read.

You can review the Container Stores Mission Statement, and 7 Foundation Principles To Guide Actions (Core Values).

The very first Foundation Principle might scare some applicants away, but apparently it doesn’t.

  • “1 Equals 3

“We hire only about 3% of all who apply. If you indeed believe that with one great employee, you get three times the productivity of a good employee, you can afford to extensively train them and communicate to them, empower them and pay them 50 to 100% more than what other retailers might pay them.”

Imagine asking your employees to do the work of 3 people.  How many would sign up for that?  Would they sign up for it if you increased their compensation by 50-100%?

What about having a 3% possibility of being hired?  In my experience, the more difficult it is to be hired the more the right candidates want to earn the position.  If you have to work hard to acquire something, doesn’t it always mean more to you?  Why?

Theodore Roosevelt said, “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.”

To attract the right people, people who will start the first day ready to jump in, engaged, and willing to work extra hard to fulfill your company’s mission you need to make sure the message you are sending appeals to like-minded people – people who agree with your Core Values.

Then make sure you make the journey to be hired challenging.

My two sons were discussing where a friend of theirs worked.  Noah my youngest indicated that his friend didn’t like where he was working.  My oldest, Josh, noted that the business hired anyone, and that meant also managers.  The people managing Noah’s friend are poor, so the job he is doing isn’t rewarding or challenging.

If you’re hiring anyone who can “fog a mirror” you’re guaranteeing poor performance.  One of the foundation principles in Jim Collins’ Good to Great maintained the value of People by not hiring anyone to fill a position.  Wait until you have the right person to fill it correctly

Follow these principles. You’ll discover the quality of your staff improves dramatically in a short time.

Once you’ve hired someone how do you make sure they have the right expectations to complete the job, and how do you maintain performance.  Barton Publishing’s chief marketing director Marty Fahncke provides an example of how he quickly gained a new employee’s clarity on accountabilities and more importantly consistent performance with our Strategic Discipline’s focus on metrics and crafting individual dashboards.  You’ll discover how next blog.

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