One of the biggest challenges in today’s business world is finding and keeping employees. I’m told it’s catastrophic and there’s more demand than there is a supply of good people.

This is not a new problem. In 2006, my wife and I built our first restaurant. Finding good people was hard back then too. We needed 21 employees on opening day and could only find 15. We needed friends and family to donate their time until we could fully staff the business.

Simple economics states the more available a product, the lower the price will be. With employment, the same can be said. With an abundance of people willing to work, the lower they will accept to be paid.

However, there is the other side of that coin. The less you have of something, the more valuable it becomes.

Fewer people willing to work means you have to pay higher wages.

You face a “no-win” situation. Either way, you lose customers…

If you decide to continue paying less wages, you run the risk of increasing the number of sick days, increasing employee turnover, increasing training costs, increasing customer wait times, and losing customers.

If you increase wages, you need to increase prices OR understand profit will decrease. Nobody wants to lose profit. But increasing prices also turns customers away as they find a cheaper alternative.

I believe there’s another way around this problem.

Ray Seggern, a Wizard of Ads partner, brilliantly discovered at the heart of all business are three pillars: Story, Culture, and Experience.

Your company’s Culture is WHO YOU ARE. It is the experience your employees have within your company.

Your company’s Story is WHAT YOU SAY.

Your company’s Experience is WHAT YOU DO. It is that experience your customers have when they interact with your company.

Authenticity is what happens when Story and Experience align.

When they don’t, you get bad reviews and complaints.

High Morale is what happens when Story and Culture align.

When they don’t, you have cancer and high employee turnover.

Brand Ambassadors are born when Story and Culture and Experience align.

Your customers become part of the family, part of the brand.

If you want to find good employees, you have to identify why customers buy from you.

And why employees stay with you. By uncovering your superpower, you will find people who will want to work for you.

So how do you motivate a minimum wage employee today? They are unreliable, lazy. And when they do show up, they spend half the time on their phones (sic).

If this is how you feel, you either have a problem with your hiring process or your management process.

There’s never been a time in history where kids were respected.

They do things differently from the older generation. Because of it, they are constantly criticized.

You either hire bad or you treat the right person badly.

Employees do quit on the spot, without notice. They have no loyalty and will leave you for 25 cents somewhere else if your values don’t align.

In fact, very few people make a change for little increase in pay. They leave for some other reason. They don’t like the management style. There’s someone in the organization who pushed them to leave. They don’t like the hours. They don’t like the job.

They may leave for a better-paying job if they don’t feel fairly paid. But it won’t be for 25 cents.

So how do you find and keep good people?

It starts with belief. You can’t motivate someone who doesn’t want to be motivated. You have to find people who believe in the same things the organization believes in. When you get a group of people believing in the same things, greatness can be achieved. Groups working on a common goal, in the same direction will motivate themselves.

Worry less about motivating your employees.

Identify what your company believes in.

Find people who believe in those same values.

Hold everyone accountable to those beliefs, from the janitor to the CEO.

Celebrate both small and large achievements around those beliefs.

Creating and maintaining the Culture is like sprinkling pixie dust on your company. It transforms it into a magical business where the work gets done by happy people treating your customers the WAY you would treat them.

It’s your job as the leader to protect that Culture at all costs.

None of this is based on theory. I used it for my restaurants. That first restaurant I spoke of back in 2006 had an annual employee turnover rate of less than 25%. The average turnover rate in restaurants is about 100%.

Learning about beliefs for customer connection, I decided to use it on a recruitment ad to see if it would create a spark with potential employees.

Placing an ad on Kijiji, we started the ad with the business’s beliefs.

We believe work is hard, but we don’t let it go unappreciated.
We believe we need to have more fun.
We believe in people before profits.
We believe you are not perfect, but neither am I. If you can forgive me, I can forgive you.
We believe customers deserve our best, even when we don’t feel our best.
We believe karma is a bitch, so we work hard to not upset her.

After one week, we had 14 applicants. With basic information-based recruitment ads, 75% of applicants don’t show for the interview. With this ad, 12 of the 14 met with me. I hired 8 of them. Two years later, 6 of them were still working for the company. They were paid minimum wage.

Employees are no different than customers.

They are people.

They want to be respected.

They want to be connected.

You care for them.

They care for you.

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