Finding and retaining your dream team

“Every employee that’s not contributing to your organization is costing you money,” said Suzanne DeVries during her Thursday seminar titled “Finding and Retaining Your Dream Team” during the JCK Show ~ Las Vegas 2005. DeVries is president and founder of Diamond Staffing Solutions, Derry, N.H.

DeVries also offered audience members tips for managing employees:

* Give staffers clear and specific expectations as well as timelines—such as 30-, 60-, and 90-day periods, for completing tasks.

* Have candid open dialogues with staff. Celebrate staff achievements, such as most-improved monthly performance.

* Implement commission-based compensation structures to weed out under-performers.

* Search for top-performing employees at restaurants, airports, makeup counters, luxury clothing and handbag stores, and hotels.

* Be liberal and specific with words of praise. According to research conducted by Diamond Staffing Solutions, top-notch employees stay in posts if they’re being paid well, have challenging work and good benefits, and are recognized and respected in their workplaces.

To obtain great employees, conduct great interviews. Do so by asking potential hires why they left previous positions, what successes and opportunities they experienced in those positions, and what they’re job likes and dislikes are. Also ask them about customer relationships and product knowledge, such as the difference between bezel-set and channel-set jewelry. You might even considering doing some role-play with them. “Have them sell you a diamond,” advised DeVries.

When conducting a background check, pay close attention to a job applicant’s claimed educational achievements. “It’s the one place we find candidates embellish on resumes,” DeVries said.

She also advised hiring a candidate only after several interviews have been conducted—never after the first one. Make the second interview more personal and take the applicant out to lunch. In addition, it’s also advisable to let the staff interview a prospect. “My clients that have this system have a very low attrition rate,” said DeVries.

Finally, when you’re ready to hire, have your offer letter drafted by a labor attorney.