Post Categories: April 2016

Expert Viewpoints: The Age-Old Question: How do you keep great associates?

WhitneyMooreBy Whitney Moore, Vice President of Human Resources, Interactions

How to keep great associates really is a question for the ages. It’s a topic with as many advice columns, webinars and statistics that you’ll find in the world of business. Heck, even cavemen weren’t immune, without the best hunters and gatherers they simply wouldn’t survive.

Today’s workplace is much the same. While we are technologically advanced and as streamlined as possible with a workforce of more than 30,000 part-time associates alone, the fact is, without associates, without great associates, we won’t succeed. These associates are spread out across hundreds of locations in dozens of countries so having a method to our madness helps keep a bit of sanity among my team, and our field teams as well.

Step 1: Recruit the Best with the Best

In order to hire great associates, we need to find them first. We use Workday as our full-service HR tool, and this technology has helped streamline recruiting. Ultimately, our business is people performing services, so it’s critical for us to attract the right types of candidates who can engage customers and consistently execute successful events. We recruit through traditional methods such as online job sites, social media platforms and job fairs. We also rely on word of mouth and referrals from our own associates to find great talent. We have found that the best way to attract great people, is to have great people working our events in the first place. Having people walk into a store and apply for a Sales Advisor position after seeing a great event in person is one of the most popular ways we recruit. Great attracts great is certainly our truth here.

Step 2: Sell the Benefits

Know your audience and promote the job features that align with their lifestyles. For example, to help attract the best part-time candidates, we offer a somewhat flexible schedule with predictable daytime hours. In most cases, the job is often very independent. This often appeals to talented candidates who have finished their primary career, but are looking for continued meaningful part-time work. It also appeals to moms, college students or anyone else in the market for reliable part-time hours.

Step 3: Know the Laws

Any large employer will tell you that a significant challenge is navigating the different laws and regulations that pertain to full- and part-time workers in different areas. For example, minimum wage laws are becoming very complex. There’s not only a federal minimum, but different jurisdictions are now setting their own minimum wages. Then there are additional benefits and legislative issues to consider, such as paid sick time and health-care. Without a doubt, this isn’t a nice to have item, it’s a need to have.

Step 4: Educate and Train

Once associates are hired, we provide ongoing training and education to help them succeed. Initial training during their onboarding could include food safety or selling techniques. As they progress with the company, we offer education and training throughout their careers. Training could be on a specific product for our sales teams or it could be on management techniques for our field managers.

Step 5: Repeat

Hiring the best associates isn’t an event, it’s a process. We didn’t start out with the perfect approach, but we’ve done our best to improve and simplify our processes over the years. As our CEO Jim Holbrook has said in many meetings, we want associates to drive faster going to work in the morning than they do going home at night. And isn’t that what we all hope for at the end of the day?

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