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The best employees: how to get and keep them


  • Do you want to attract the best employees to work in your business?
  • Would you like your existing team members to step up and perform to a higher standard?
  • Are you keen to be considered an employer of choice?

While at times market conditions influence how many ‘good people’ are out there to employ in your field, there are many things you can do to attract, develop, and keep the best employees in your business.

In simple terms, to attract the best employees, you need to be the best employer. The cream rises to the top, and employees who care about their work want to work for businesses that care about them, their customers, and their standards. Excellence attracts excellence!

The best employees: how to get and keep them - best employees

What kind of employees do you have at present?

Your employees might be generally steady and reliable – meaning they usually do what’s asked and fulfill their duties. While not world-beaters, they perform to an acceptable standard and get the job done.

You may have some team members who seem to be a constant challenge. Just when you think you’ve got them sorted, they bring you a new problem to deal with! They need constant reminders and supervision, and their standards often fall below acceptable levels.

Occasionally you’ll have a toxic team member who poisons the group and needs to be moved on as soon as possible.

Even though you are frustrated with your team, you may not have the confidence, skills or tools to move employees either up or out, so standards continue to fall. As your business performance is affected, your stress and dissatisfaction increases.

What is a great employee?

The best employees share your vision and passion, and give 100% effort and attention while at work to everything they do. Great team members excel in their role and do more than you expect. While certainly not perfect, they are ambitious, dedicated and talented, and seek every opportunity to add value to the business, their team and the customers.

Great businesses have an employer who sets and maintains standards of performance that the employees don’t drop below without consequence.

A culture of high-performance and non-negotiable standards of quality attracts and retains superstars. Our vision is for every business to have a team operating at peak performance.

  • So how do you find these superstars and attract them to your business?
  • And how do you encourage them to stay long-term?

And when it comes to existing employees:

  • How can you develop your current team members so they excel?
  • And if you have employees already at the top of their game, how do you bring out even more of their skills and drive?

The best employees look for the best workplaces in which to work. Employers of choice with high standards of performance find a steady stream of quality candidates from which to choose. If you often get unsolicited resumes from potential employees, you’ll know you’re on the right track!

What will attract the best employees to your business and make them want to stay?

  1. Vision Statement

A clear vision statement for your business tells your team why your business exists, what its end goals are, and inspires your team to work with you instead of just for you. Display your vision statement around your workspace so it’s a living, breathing document. When recruiting, ask your candidates what it means to them. At each regular team meeting, discuss how the team has contributed to it in the previous week. A vision statement will inspire your team to stay focused on the bigger picture.

  1. Mantra

This is the motto or catchphrase your business and team lives by. At Yellow Coaching, ours is “Peak Performance”. It’s the standard by which we play every day, and what we encourage from our clients. Display your mantra in your workspace as a guide to performance and a reminder to the team of their commitment. The best employees want to always give their best, and your mantra will encourage them.

  1. Culture Statement

Most frustrations with employees are due to behaviour rather than skills and abilities. A solid culture statement defines the expectations, boundaries and behavioural ‘rules of the game’ in your business. It might contain points such as respect, open communication, or fun. Amazon calls theirs Leadership Principles and includes the points Think Big and Customer Obsession.

When recruiting, show your culture statement to job candidates so they’ll know your expectations from the start. Add it as a section in your team’s KPIs, so they are assessed quarterly on their behaviour as well as their skills. Discuss a point of culture at each team meeting, and how those behaviours have been displayed in the previous week.

  1. Organisation Chart

A strong team needs the right people in the right positions at the right time. It’s important that all team members know not only where their own role fits in the business, but who they report to and where everyone else belongs. Just like a sports team, solid performance in each position is critical for the success of the game.

  1. Position Descriptions

As well as knowing where they fit in the organisation, your team members need to know what their tasks and responsibilities are, and the roles of other people in the business. Without this, inefficiencies can occur as multiple people do the same task, tasks are not completed at all, or even disowned! If you often hear from staff “…but that’s not in my job description…” make it clear that there will be times when each team member is required to do things outside their role to meet business goals.

  1. Training Plan

Great employees want to learn more and be better. Think of your current team and the skills they have, and how you’d like them to develop. Ask them what areas they’d like to learn more about. Set up a system whereby team members train each other, either one-on-one or in a group setting. Encourage employees to be accountable for their own career development, and coach them through their learning journey.

  1. KPIs

Key Performance Indicators drive the best employees to achieve more. Written KPIs that are reveiwed regularly outline what is expected of each employee, and explain how they’ll know they’ve performed well. KPIs should contain not only the tasks of each position, but also standards for WHS, following business systems, and being a strong team member. Review KPIs quarterly to ensure performance standards are maintained, and provide regular informal feedback to each employee to keep them on track.

  1. Communication

All team members need regular, structured communication with their managers. You may choose to introduce management meetings, team meetings, one-on-one meetings, toolbox talks, and daily huddles. Each meeting needs an agenda to keep it meaningful and relevant. Ensure challenges are discussed with a solutions-focus, and follow up on agreed actions.

Attracting and retaining the best employees in your business requires that you become an employer of choice that outstanding people are drawn to. This framework will set a solid foundation so your business and your team has the best chance of success.

Please note – as you raise the standards for your team, you may find that not all existing team members will rise to your expectations. That’s okay. The gap they leave provides room for new superstars who are the right fit within your dream team.

Yellow Coaching works with established businesses to become employers of choice and build a dream team by recruiting, training, and managing the best employees. Find out how here…