Tuesday, October 18, 2022

How Steve Jobs Hired and Retained His Top Employees - A-players are worth their weight in gold. Here's how to treat them.


All it takes is one great employee to change the whole business

Just ask Steve Jobs

Here's what he said in a 1998 interview:

"I noticed that the dynamic range between what an average person could accomplish and what the best person could accomplish was 50 or 100 to 1. Given that, you're well advised to go after the cream of the cream ... A small team of A-players can run circles around a giant team of B and C players." 

It's not just Steve Jobs. After interviewing more than 20 billionaires and 300 CEOs for his book, Geoff Smart emphasized the value of A-players:

"We define an A-player this way: a candidate who has at least a 90 percent chance of achieving a set of outcomes that only the top 10 percent of possible candidates could achieve."

That's been true in my experience, too -- 20 percent of your people will generate 80 percent of your results. My A-players get more five-star reviews, close more jobs, and charge more because they believe in the product and company. 

A-players are especially important when most industries are getting disrupted. Even in my industry, home service, there are vultures all over. Google and Amazon are coming in big time. If you don't have a team of A-players -- and you don't move fast -- you're screwed sooner or later. 

So how can you find and hire your best employees? Here's what I recommend: 

Create an "A-player avatar"

Hiring the wrong employees can cost you a fortune.​​ A study by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) shows that an employee is worth six to nine months of their salary. If your employee has a $5,000 per month salary, you lose up to $45,000 when you let them go. 

So make sure you understand what the perfect employee is. Don't hire until you figure this out! Ask yourself the following questions to define your "A-player avatar":

  • What are they like? Where do they hang out? (This helps you run ads to target them.)
  • What are they motivated by? (Everyone's different: Some people might want PTO. Some people might want to go out of town regularly. Make a list of common motivations.)
  • And, most important, what makes them great? Who's the perfect employee for your business?  

Recruit, don't hire

There were times when we were forced to hire people I didn't get along with. And I thought, "Man, there just aren't good people out there." Then I realized that recruiting -- finding great people -- is not putting an ad up and waiting for them to come to you! Recruiting is going out there and getting them. 

Think about this: Can you build a baseball team or a football team by just having people show up to the scrimmage? Or should you go out and get 'em? What's going to work better? 

The best employees are the ones who are recruited. The majority of your hires -- over half of your employees -- should be amazing people you recruit away from other companies! 

So, how do you do that? Call customers up and ask them if they know anybody who might fit a certain role. And, more important, ask your best employees.

Turn your A-players into recruiters - Read the rest of the Inc. article


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