Scaling any type of business is hard, especially with the full-employment situation we’re currently experiencing in Canada:
" The unemployment rate fell to 5.6 per cent, a historic low. The participation rate for prime-age workers (those aged 25 to 54) is around 87 per cent, near its all-time high […] Business Outlook Survey reported one of the highest levels of labour shortages since the Great Recession. And job vacancies continue to rise, now totalling about 550,000." According to Carolyn A. Wilkins from The Bank of Canada
It goes without saying that finding talented employees during labour shortages such as the one we are currently experiencing is a tough challenge that most businesses have to face...
But not us.
For the second year in a row, we ranked as one of the fastest-growing companies in Canada in the Growth 500 list. This year, we ranked in 64th place out of 500 businesses.
Our business is thriving, and we’re constantly hiring to keep up the pace, even if most of our employees are web developers; one of the most in-demand jobs.
In spite of it all, we manage to get and keep talented employees, choosing only the cream of the crop. No compromise, no struggle.
First off, let me guess:
You offer nice advantages like flexible hours, free coffee, a dynamic team, great office spaces, and a competitive salary... You’re a great company!
But I bet your competitors are offering the exact same package, maybe even better! You know why?
Because every single company is doing their best to look like a great company.
And if everyone is great, no one’s that great.
Everyone ends up looking the same.
Make sure you don’t look like everyone else. Do better.
You can of course offer more perks and benefits, but you can also showcase your uniqueness.
Want to know why I applied for my current job at DashThis?
I was casually scrolling different job offers and stumbled across DashThis’. It really caught my attention. Their job offer was fun, witty, and made me look like a crazy person laughing at my phone all by myself. I thought: If they’re half as fun as they sound like in their job offer, I need to work for them!
That’s the effect you need to have.
Let your personality shine through, even in your job offers, it’ll make your company stand out and you’ll attract all the right people.
That’s how you do better than any great company.
For way too many businesses, there’s only one way to find new staff: posting job offers.
And yes, it’s a great way to find new employees, but it’s far from the only way!
The one thing you should keep in mind when searching for new staff in a full-employment market, is to be there.
Be at the right place, at the right time.
Hiring is a lot like marketing, you can’t just scream that you have something to sell, or a job position to fill. You need to know where the best prospective clients (or in this case employees) are, and be there too.
The best talent in the industry is most likely already working and probably not looking for a new job. So posting job offers is great, but it won’t reach most professionals. To reach them, you need to find them first, and to do this, you need to meet new people at different events.
At DashThis, we make sure to be present in the industry, to be seen and to know everyone. We meet students who will soon be the next professionals we hire, we organize happy hours to know some of them better, we participate in most events in the field. We meet new professionals, and if they are a great fit, we might offer them a job with us.
By meeting new people at different events, not only will you find new talent, but you’ll be able to discuss with the person in a normal and casual situation, therefore having a better grasp of their true personality, how they interact with other people, how they act. Sometimes the pressure of a job interview can make you see someone in either a positive or negative light, whereas they are completely different in real-life.
You’d be surprised to learn how many of our employees we met at events.
No one’s going to walk around saying: we’re having trouble keeping employees, the job isn’t much fun, and employees don’t get along that well.
But you can’t promise an amazing job, and then disappoint your new employees with a boring and beige work environment either.
If you pretend to have a great environment and perks but can’t keep your promises, your employees will just.. walk out.
So, walk the talk!
Say the truth, and if the truth is not so great, change.
Don’t just publish an awesome job offer that will blow everyone’s mind, blow their mind by actually providing what you promised!
Of course, providing a startup vibe and a fun work environment to your employees is not as easy as it seems.
People need to get along, the workspace has to be spotless, you need to think about thousands of little details from the type of desk, the lighting, the heat, and the coffee machine, all the way to activities like happy hours, or group mountain bike.
This can be a lot of work to keep up, particularly in a company that’s constantly growing.
This is why we hired a new team member at DashThis, a Talents & Culture Specialist, to help us transition during our steady growth. We want to make sure we keep our casual culture and small shop vibe, all while scaling our business.
It might seem irrelevant to growth, but it’s crucial to invest in your culture; it’s not just a great working environment for your employees, it’s a competitive advantage.
As an employee, if you enter a business for an interview and see a cold, beige office with people talking in each other’s backs, chances are, you won’t want to work there. But if everyone seems happy, joking around, having a friday afternoon beer all the while doing their job in a bright office space, you’ll want to join the party.
This can make the difference between hiring new great talent, or losing it to a competitor.
And within a full-employment situation, it can be significant.
Alright, so you posted out an amazing job offer, met some awesome new people, and got plenty of candidates to go through! You ask some of them to come to your office for interviews… then what?
A) Try to find out if they can work under pressure?
B) Ask them; if they were a tree, what kind of tree would they be?
C) Ask what their biggest weaknesses and strengths are?
D) Give them an intricate 3 hour test to see if they can actually do the job?
Trick question; it’s none of these!
This is a classic one, but do you really try to find out what type of person your candidates are, or do you just check their skills?
A job interview shouldn’t be about the skills that a prospective employee has, it should be about their genuine personality. You already have a good idea of their skills based on their CV and overall experience, anyway. Now, you need to know is if they would be a good fit in your company.
At DashThis, we make interviews extra casual, we chit chat with new candidates about everything and anything, their personal lives, what they like and don’t like, etc.. No ties, no high heels, just a casual meeting instead of a stressful interview. About 5% of the conversation will be about skills or the actual job offer, most of it will simply be about the candidate’s life, expectations, and goals.
Make sure your future employee is as relaxed as possible. By discussing casually, you’ll get a better idea of their true personality. Will they fit in the team? Will they enjoy working for your company? Will they get along with the rest of the crew? These are the types of questions you should be asking yourself.
If you don’t quite like someone’s personality, chances are, your team won’t either. And even if their skills are great, if the person doesn’t fit in, it’ll simply never work.
Choosing personality over skills will help you hire employees who will stay, and avoid having disagreements, conflicting personalities and overall drama in the office.
And after all, skills can be learned, a great personality can’t.
No one likes to be forced to do anything, we all want to make our own mind, and do what we think is best.
It’s important to make sure your employees are giving their full potential; if they have new ideas, want to try potentially rewarding projects, or want more responsibilities, you should listen to their ideas and motivate them to attain their full potential. As long as their projects are in line with the company’s objectives, there’s no harm in at least discussing the feasibility of a new project.
Don’t undermine their ideas, or force them to stay in an uncomfortable position just because it’s not what you envisioned in the first place.
Let’s be honest, if you work in an environment where you feel under pressure, where you don’t like the projects you’re working on, and have no motivation whatsoever because your boss won’t let you work on new ideas, you will most likely search for a new job.
Give employees the motivation they need to work better. Empower your team and make sure you don’t try to control every single thing they do, just show them the way instead.
Once you empower your team with new goals and new responsibilities, they will gain motivation, and be glad to work harder than ever.
One thing that struck me the most when I started working at DashThis is the level of trust our bosses have for their employees. From the get-go they told me:
You’re the expert, tell ME what to do, not the other way around. We hired you because we think you’re smart and can decide what’s best on your own. We trust your good judgement.
So many companies do not trust their employees enough. So many executives, managers or bosses should remember: You hire employees because you think they are qualified to do the job, so let them do their job.
Once they feel like they are trusted, that their ideas are heard, that their knowledge is useful, they will work their butts off for your company, and invest their time and energy to make sure the business is thriving, not because they have to, but because they want to.
So let them do what they want.
You trust your employees, but it also has to go the other way around. In order for your employees to trust you, there are no magic recipe, all you have to do is be completely transparent with them.
Don’t let your employees in the dark in terms of your expectations, and your positive or negative feedback. At DashThis, we don’t sugar-coat it, employees always have a clear view of what is expected of them.
If you never clearly mention an issue to an employee, chances are, it won’t change. If you keep sugar-coating it, your feedback won’t be taken seriously. On the other hand, if you’re completely honest, you’ll gain your employees’ trust, they will be just as honest with you, and you’ll be able to create an honest and close relationship with your employees.
With honesty as a policy, you might not even have to implement disciplinary measures, pretty much everything will be taken care of on itself. You can even solve problems before they got the chance to become problematic.
At DashThis we regularly show recognition to our colleagues and acknowledge their good work. Every month we gather around to talk about all our latest achievements, and congratulate everyone on their great work as a group, based on their colleagues and bosses feedback.
This kind of activity really enable employees to give their positive feedback to their teammates, say thank you to a colleague, and acknowledge great team work. It creates bonds between employees and really helps in creating a friendly and fun working environment.
It’s also a fundamental practice here at DashThis to have regular meetings with the bosses. Not to judge our performance, solve a problem, or to ask for a raise, they simply ask: How are you? Is there anything I can do to make things better for you?
The best part? They actually listen, and try to find solutions to make sure you’re happy at your job.
And that’s simply priceless.
It’s working so well, that most employees will now only request minor changes like a better coffee machine. And yes, we’re shopping for a new one at the moment.
Grab every occasion you can to show your employees you care, and enable your employees to give each other pats on the back from time to time. You can’t underestimate the sheer power of being recognized and listened to not only by your peers, but also your bosses.
No bonus could ever match that.
This might surprise you, but we don’t work more than 37.5 hours a week.
And even with this very reasonable schedule, we still managed to get a 1382% revenue growth over the last 5 years. We’re still one of the fastest-growing companies in Canada.
We don’t want to work under pressure, we don’t want employees to miss important moments with their families and loved ones, we want them to be happy, and to be happy, you can’t work 50 hours a week, and be thinking about your job 24/7.
At DashThis, the priority is our employees’ health and happiness, we want our employees to have the work-life balance everyone is looking for. We provide enough liberty to our employees that they are able to make their own choices, we allow them to miss hours of work to take care of what’s really important in their lives, because we know they will give these hours back to the company every single time.
It’s a relationship based on trust, it’s a give and take, we give our employees what they need, and they always give it back a thousand times.
By letting your employees lay down and relax from time to time. Not only will the work environment be much better, everyone will be more productive, have overall fewer health problems, and on top of it, all your employees will be grateful for it!
Our employees are present, and happy to be there. They’re happy to go the extra mile for us when it really counts.
They’re working smarter, not harder.
Imagine having a job where you actually CAN work in pyjamas, avoid traffic, make time whenever needed for your family responsibilities, and still be just as productive.
It’s all easily possible with remote work.
When you allow remote work, but encourage your employees to work at the office by providing a great environment, your employees will have the best of both worlds… and your business too!
Giving your employees the freedom to work wherever they want, not only helps you hire new staff, but it helps you retain them too. In fact, in a recent survey, 23% of people said they once left a job due to their commute.
At DashThis, it’s not a problem, if there’s too much traffic, I work remotely for a few hours and then go to work.
When I get sick, instead of infecting everyone around me at the office, I work from home. When Quebec City is experiencing a dangerous snowstorm, I don't risk my life and spend hours shoveling to get my car out of the snow, I just stay at home and work from there.
We’ve all seen companies brag about the fact that they allow remote work, but in reality make employees feel bad for actually doing it, or request the approbation of their boss weeks in advance. In such an environment, you can’t really work remotely, and this great advantage becomes completely irrelevant.
At DashThis, we allow employees to work remotely whenever they want, and we make sure they know that this is common practice and that they should never feel bad about it. They don’t even have to justify their decision.
And even if we’re allowed to work remotely whenever we want, the large majority of employees are still working from the office every day. Not because they feel like they have to, but because they want to, because they like seeing their colleagues every day, and working as a group.
The major difference is having that choice.
Employees who have the liberty to work wherever they want to, stay with you.
Now that you have a plethora of amazing employees, who are not only talented, but who have your business’ success at heart, you’ve got all the cards to win.
But you have to make sure everyone is working towards the same goal: growing the business.
Think about every project currently being done in your business, are there some that won’t help you scale? Are you currently investing your time, and employee’s talent in projects that have either an uncertain or even bad Return on Investment? Have you been completing some projects just because it’s the next one you had to do on your list?
At DashThis, we’re not afraid to constantly stir up our priorities in order to make sure we’re all working towards scaling the business in the most efficient way possible.
Even if we started working on something, if there’s a better way, a better idea, or a better campaign that pops along the way, you can be sure that we’ll grab those opportunities and run with it.
Before jumping on any new project, ask yourself: Is this the best way I can help our business grow? If the answer is no, stir up your project priorities and start again!
It’s not enough to just have great talents, you have to use them to their full potential, guide them towards the most valuable opportunities available, and don’t let them waste a single hour of their time on worthless tasks.
Amazing talents, all working towards increasing your business’ revenue growth. This is how you scale your business.
We’re not a big corporation like Google, but we are able to compete with them all the while keeping a small shop vibe.
We trust each other, stay close together, and even have brunch like families do.
Because that’s what we are.
We’re one big family, keeping it simple all the while thriving and being a larger, better, more efficient family than ever before.
For us, giving freedom to our employees, treating them well and giving them what they need to succeed has always worked tremendously. Hiring in full-employment has never been a problem.
Don’t try and look everywhere for your perfect employees, let them come to you. Let them find you by being the best out there;
That’s the secret to scaling your business, even in full-employment.
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