Author David Rye on Retaining Top Talent

Why hiring and holding on to the best employees is a smart move for your company

Much has been said lately about the leaders of today'sbusinesses--about the mistakes to avoid, the procedures to adhereto when doing business, the steps to take for future growth. Butwhere are the employees in that mix? That is, theoutstanding employees? They are out there--you justhave to know how to find them and hold on to them. And even ifyou've had to lay off some employees, you still need to thinkabout the future, when the economy is back on track, your businessstarts to boom again and you're suddenly in need of stellarworkers to make things run smoothly.

And that's where David Rye's Attracting and Rewarding OutstandingEmployees comes in. The book illustrates that now more thanever, today's businesses need not only an effective leader, buteffective employees as well. Here, Rye fills us in on what exactlyit means--to you and your company--to hire and retain toptalent. What is anoutstanding employee?

Rye: Outstanding employeesset a positive tone throughout the organization. You are only asgood as the people who are working for you. That means youremployees will magnify the state in which your business is. Youhave to look for what is inspiring about an employee, and youshould easily be able to recognize their contributions. Whileinterviewing, you should check and study people for what they cando for you. A good employee will admit they are not perfect, askquestions, and possess a tenacity to learn and improve theirskill.

"A goodemployee will admit they are not perfect, ask questions, andpossess a tenacity to learn and improve theirskill." What, inyour opinion, are most business owners doing wrong as far as hiringgoes?

Rye: Something that actuallysurprised me was a survey I read that asked business managers whythey hired their employees. I was disappointed when I read thatmost business managers who had recently hired someone said theyhired to fill a position. Most people make the mistake of filling aposition as soon as possible instead of holding out for the bestperson for the job. Like I said, people are a reflection of you,and you want to make sure you remember that when you'rescreening people for a position in your company. What aresome tips for managers who are looking to hire outstandingemployees?

Rye: In the interview, askpeople what they've accomplished in the past 10 months,personally or [workwise]. Ask people what their goals are; get toknow the character of the person who wants to work for you."If we hired you today, where do you think you will be in thenext 10 months? Where do you plan to be with the company?"Those are good open-ended questions to test the character of futureemployees. What kindof positive reinforcement do most employees respond well to?

Rye: In the past 10 years,there has been a big change in the office environment. There ismore socializing in the office than ever before, because morecompanies want to set the tone that work is fun. Going to lunch isa formal way of saying thank you; another formal way is presentingan outstanding employee with an award at a banquet. A less formalway of showing appreciation is a simple "thank you" and apat on the back.

Most people think [employees] want a financial raise in theirpaycheck, but...rewarding someone financially comes across asbuying them. After a few months, the money goes, and their respectfor their hard work has no reinforcement. Rewards draw the best outof people, and that sets a positive tone in the office.

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