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Jun 07, 2016Company & Culture

3 Steps for Cultivating the Best Employees

3 Steps for Cultivating the Best Employees

When you run a business, it's easy to fixate on the endpoint. Get more customers. Make more money. Hire more people. Repeat. While those are important priorities, they’re obvious ones. How do you arrive at where you want to be? If you’re too preoccupied with the destination, you miss out on enjoying the journey. And it makes for a pretty rough trip.

Is it All About the Outcome?

There are plenty of organizations staffed with scores of unhappy employees tasked with servicing thousands of dissatisfied customers. Depending on your definition, these companies are successful. But that’s not how I define success. It’s a type of success purely driven by a narrow view of monetary returns, no matter the means. Don’t get me wrong. I want to make money. But I want to do it by turning my customers into raving fans of the work we do and the services we provide. So, how do you achieve that?

A lot of time and effort is spent on analyzing outcomes. That’s certainly a valuable requirement. But in the service business, it starts with the employees. I believe you guarantee a successful outcome by first considering your employees and building a strong company culture around core values. And I think OSV's rapid success in a relatively short span of time bears this philosophy out.

1. Attract the Best

When you have a supportive, empowering company culture, you're going to attract talented people. What separates a talented employee from the best employee? The best employees want to feel challenged, and they want to feel empowered. They’re not concerned with their talent being recognized. They want it to be realized. They want to grow and improve. The best always want to be better.

2. Elevate the Best to Be Better

Once you have the best on board, you need to meet their need to be better. During our comprehensive onboarding process, every employee, regardless of position, goes through our company boot camp to learn about the company history, the services we provide and the values we embrace. Boot camp provides employees with an overview of the entire company and gives everyone a context for what they do and how it affects other departments.

As the best employees are elevated within the company, they’re equipped with tools to help them keep getting better. Quarterly town hall meetings provide employees with insight and perspectives from the preceding months, keep them plugged into the current state of the company and prepare them for new initiatives. Annual employee evaluations ensure that employees continue to develop their skillset. Managers attend regular leadership training sessions. Every employee is given full access to Lynda.com’s library of online tutorials and self-service training. In these ways, employees are not only equipped to be better employees, they're fitted to be better professionals.

3. Only Keep the Best

Promoting from within only makes sense. When employees do well and consistently exceed expectations, we recognize those achievements and provide new opportunities to excel. Similarly, if a talented, hard-working individual is struggling in their position, it’s often better to find a new role for that person than to see him or her leave. Where we start doesn’t necessarily dictate where we’ll end up. Consider that Babe Ruth is best known for being a home run hitter, but he actually started his baseball career as a pitcher.

Invest in Your Input

Employees are the people you entrust your customers to. If they're valued, rewarded and empowered, the service they provide shows the results of that. You don't earn raving fans by starting with the customer. You create raving fans by investing in the people who are going to create those fans.