Finding and keeping great employees

My work has always aligned in some way with my passion for people. In both my personal and professional life, I find fulfillment in caring for people, connecting people to one another and, ultimately, helping them succeed. So, employee recruitment and retention have been priorities from the beginning at Dismas.
Our employees are the lifeblood of our organization, and we’re intentional about finding and keeping great ones. Here’s how we do it.
It’s crucial to define a repeatable recruiting strategy that works for your company.
At Dismas, our long-standing referral program continues to be the No. 1 way we find dedicated and loyal employees. It works because our employees are our most effective ambassadors in the community. They know better than anyone the realities of what it means to be a part of the Dismas family, and they love to talk about it — especially when they’re rewarded for it.
Another key to our recruiting success: knowing what we want. It’s been a learning process, but over time, we’ve learned which types of employees typically succeed and which don’t. We look for employees who not only possess the necessary job skills to succeed, but are also in alignment with our core values.
Consider creating an ideal employee profile (just like you may do for your ideal customers) to help guide your recruitment efforts and hiring decisions.
Ask for feedback
At Dismas, our ongoing retention strategy includes an annual focus group series that gives our employees an open platform to safely share feedback — both positive and negative. We prepare a set of questions to guide the discussions, but also let them evolve organically to encourage honest feedback.
The responses have been incredibly insightful and have shaped important company decisions. In 2016, we leveraged the focus groups to reshape our company values. The result was a set of company values created by and for our employees that truly resonate with them.
Encourage, thank and celebrate
An undeniable theme emerged from our last round of focus groups: our employees love that we love to have fun.
Whether we’re surprising employees with ice cream sandwiches for National Ice Cream Day, giving gifts to the mothers on staff around Mother’s Day or gathering for a holiday potluck, we know that spending social time together during the workday brings us closer together. We also make an effort to get to know our employees’ families on a deeper level. We ask about them often and have even created a photo wall of their kids.
Our employees know that we care about them as people and as a result, we’ve created our own Dismas family.

Over time, these intentional recruitment and retention efforts have created a culture of trust, respect and great care for one another. And it’s no secret that there’s a correlation between employee satisfaction and the overall success of an organization. During a recent focus group discussion, one employee shared, “We don’t just have a family at home. We have a family here.”

Bob Parsons is Managing Partner and CEO of Dismas Distribution Services, a third-party value-added service provider that serves some of the world’s leading retail brands.