Put People First: The Best Books to Attract, Engage, and Retain Talent
“An employee is responsible for adding value to the life of a company, and a company is responsible for adding value to the life of an employee.”
The ability to attract, engage, and retain talent is the number one issue facing our industry today. This isn’t just affecting our industry, it is THE issue facing our entire economy. How do we solve this problem? We get our hands dirty and pursue excellence. We seek constant and never ending improvement to attract, engage, and retain talent. What’s step one? Step one is to learn from those who are already excellent. One of the easiest places to start is reading books by experts in the field.
There is no quick fix or magic pill to fix this problem. It requires all of us to continue to pursue better. Better for our industry, our companies, our communities, and most importantly our people. These three books are a good place to start that pursuit.
How Do You ATTRACT People?
Who: The A Method for Hiring, By Geoff Smart
The worst time to hire for a role is when there is an immediate need. It puts tremendous pressure on everyone involved and getting a great fit is difficult. This book lays out a proactive approach to consistently identify and develop relationships with talented people, how to properly interview them, and how to successfully hire them.
My Favorite Takeaway: Develop a scorecard made up of KPIs for a role BEFORE you begin looking for people to fill that position. You cannot hire the right person until you know exactly what success in that role looks like. What must this role deliver? What are the specific measurable targets? Both leading and lagging.
I often hear, “This position is too unique, it is too difficult to nail down good KPIs.” I would argue that you don’t fully understand what that role is and what outcomes you want to achieve. How can you possibly articulate that role to an “A” player? “A” players want to know what excellence looks like. They want to know what is expected of them.
How Do You ENGAGE People?
The Great Game of Business: The Only Sensible Way To Run A Company, By Jack Stack
One of the more frustrating things I have to do as a potential buyer of properties is pretend to be an insurance inspector at the request of a seller. Solely because the seller fears what their people will do with the prospect of selling their property. I admit that change can be uncomfortable BUT those owners are missing out on so much potential in their people. What if, instead, the owners and upper management took the time to teach the game of business they are all playing. When people understand how the business works and how their role fits into the bigger picture, you unlock teamwork and creativity that you would otherwise not have.
That is what this book is about. It is about teaching people how businesses work and not just their role. It is about explaining the financials and how each line affects the other. It teaches you how to set appropriate goals and reward your people when they are achieved. The goal is to have everyone playing the same game and know how to keep score. And win you win, everyone wins and understands why.
My Favorite Takeaway: “When people are rewarded without education, it becomes entitlement. When people understand why they’re rewarded, they become empowered.” Education leads to empowerment.
How Do You RETAIN People?
The Dream Manager, By Matthew Kelly
A company has the responsibility to add value to the life of its employees. If you want to retain your people, you must take that responsibility seriously. The concept from this book is that you have your people write down their personal goals and dreams in every area of life. Then you meet with them regularly to offer support and help put together a plan to achieve them.
In helping our people live their dreams, we become personally invested in them, which is fundamental to teamwork. Second, the passion and energy that comes from pursuing a goal is infectious and cannot be confined to just one area of our lives.
This program eventually eliminates the need to recruit people. People want that culture. They want to be around people who are hungry and willing to work hard to achieve their dreams. People won’t leave for an extra dollar per hour if they know that you are helping them pursue their dreams.
My Favorite Takeaway: How much more impactful would it be to give someone a dream trip rather than money? People don’t tell their families about money but they will tell everyone they know about the trip they earned. They get to share that victory with all of their friends and family and be proud about it.
About the Author
Albert Gillispie is the current President of the Lubbock Apartment Association and Principal at Rebus Capital, a private real estate investment firm headquartered in Lubbock, TX. He maintains a real estate business blog The Real Estate Entrepreneur where he regularly recommends industry books to read and practical lessons to apply.