One of the biggest qualms in life for many students and recent graduates is choosing the right company to work for at the start of their career. Business as a field of study is not like nursing, education, or criminal justice where you have a pretty solid understanding of where you need to work. Students of the business world are challenged with finding their niche and the type of business they want to work for during their college years.
Most universities have skilled and experienced advisors to help students choose the right course for their future. They advise to try everything and diversify your field of study and the areas you choose to consider for a career.
One of the most important pieces of advice I received was to find a company I would love to work for and pursue them… diligently. However, understanding which company characteristics and culture would suite me best, now and into the future is a daunting task. As you begin to conduct your own research, you’ll come up with similar results time and time again – you see the large companies with big nets pushing money towards recruiting college students. Every company not in the top 10% of their industry seems to fall into the unknown category and does not get the same opportunity to recruit bright, talented, motivated college graduates.
Here are five ways any company can attract and retain new employees by making them feel appreciated and wanted:
- Give employees a purpose.
Every employee counts and can make a difference, and some of the better companies I have worked for have shown me, even as an intern, that I CAN and DO make a difference. Knowing I can help make impactful decisions and even work on projects that effect operations kept me very interested and ready to return to work each day.
- Keep employees informed.
Every company has a mission or vision statement, and most of them involve maximizing profit. I believe it is essential to keep employees informed on the details of company growth, strategy and even competitive information. It’s equally as important to let them know how they play a role in the company vision, growth and strategy. Education and information communication in the form of company retreats, meetings, outings and planning sessions as well as employee incentive and morale programs can help keep employees at all levels of the organization motivated and committed to the company.
- Treat employees as adults.
Starting a new job can be nerve-wracking… Constantly questioning yourself on whether or not you have the skills to perform the tasks they ask of you. I am a pretty confident person but every new employee needs confidence builders. Provide your employees, at all levels of the organization, with projects you know will challenge and excite them. It may take time, guidance and even patience in some instances, but the best employees will demonstrate their value by putting in the time it takes to complete the task. Do not underestimate the value of even the newest intern, as he or she may be the best opportunity your company has for redirecting course and seeing things in a new perspective.
- Establish the line between friend and boss.
After working at a company for a few weeks most people are able to form relationships with their supervisor that creates a productive environment. I believe that some very good supervisors try and put themselves on the same level as their employees, thereby showing empathy and building common goals. The key is to understand that camaraderie and friendly interactions are not indicators of a friendship. The boss is still the boss and while you can establish a friendly relationship, friendship is not likely something they are looking for from you. The best teams I have been a part of have a leader everyone respects and a great supporting cast that provides value to the organization.
- Give employees flexibility and freedom.
In the beginning of any job, freedom is not likely to be something you find easily. You must first prove yourself trustworthy and capable and as time passes, that valuable flexibility and freedom will come. You can establish the importance of tasks and deadlines while still showing employees that they can be unique in promoting the overall success of the company. Increasingly today, the importance of flex schedules has become a point of discussion and the most successful companies I have worked for seem to understand the importance of flexibility with work schedules and emergencies.
So there you have it… the perspective of an intern looking for the right opportunity to help recruit and maintain skilled employees without necessarily offering the highest pay or unreasonable perks. Employees should not need things to make work feel less dreadful, but instead have many reasons to enjoy their work and appreciate their position within the company.