Attracting and Retaining Quality Employees is a Science and an Art

Attracting and Retaining Quality Employees is a Science and an Art

Finding and keeping good employees is as much an art as a science, requiring both strong intuitive skills and good, practical hiring, training and management policies. That's the opinion of Larry Kaluzna, owner of Waterware, who spoke about attracting and retaining quality employees at the recent Luxury Kitchen and Bath Collection show held in Las Vegas.

When it comes to finding quality employees, Kaluzna believes that word of mouth is the best way to go. "But," he adds, "if you're going to go with a newspaper ad, be creative to make sure your ad stands out." He also suggests looking at experienced employees who have been out of the work force for a while. "People tend to think 'young' and 'energetic' when they're looking to hire, but people who are older know something about the world, and that has real value."

Another tip for hiring well is to look outside the box. Kaluzna suggests that waitresses, bartenders and retail salespeople can be great potential employees, because they are already well versed in customer service skills, tend to be outgoing and have good memories, and are used to working in fast-paced, high-pressure environments.

Finally, he suggests hiring people who will make a great impression on customers particularly important when dealing with the high end.

Once you've got good employees in place, Kaluzna suggests:

  • Give them a job description, create a variety of job tasks, and constantly train and develop them, creating new paths for growth.
  • Lead by example. "Do as I say, not as I do" didn't work for your parents, and it won't work for you, either. Remember, corporate culture filters down from the top.
  • Give feedback. Kaluzna says, "Salespeople need to know how much they're selling, how much profit they're bringing in. If they're doing a million dollars in business but we're giving it all away, they're not making money and they need to know this." The more employees understand about your business, the better they're able to contribute to its profitability.
  • Be sure new employees are taught who you do and don't do business with, and why. As a rule, there are reasons your business prefers to use certain product lines or reps, and, as Kaluzna sees it, "We like to imprint our industry prejudices on them right away. It cuts down on the learning curve."
  • Address problems immediately and offer praise immediately, too. This is the most effective way to make a lasting impression.