Work is as meaningful as we decide to make it, no matter the business we’re in. If your company has low-wage workers, follow these guidelines to hire – and retain –quality employees:

  1. See the lifetime value of a worker in the same way that marketers evaluate the lifetime value of a client.
  2. Brand your company as something more than people who clean toilets, serve burgers, or wash cars.
  3. Consider paying a few bucks more than the competition. As the saying goes “when you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.” In-N-Out Hamburger has exploited this insight for more than 30 years with great success .Their hiring page, www.in-n-out.com/employment/restaurant.aspx, allows them to hire the top 10%.
  4. Attend job fairs and work with community agencies, colleges, churches, and so forth.
  5. Advertise online on Craigslist, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc.
  6. Put some juice into employee referral programs, and use referral cheat sheets – one page documents that describe the opportunity and provide contact information.
  7. Consider an online application process, including kiosks for people who don’t have convenient computer access.
  8. Keep your look and logos fresh and see if you can make them “cool” or “green. Talk about how you provide environmentally advanced or nutritionally satisfying products (Chipotle does this well. See their hiring page at http://careers.chipotle.com/en-us/careers/get_rolling/get_rolling.aspx). Worked for me
  9. Focus on the fact that yours is a steady industry, with room for advancement; encourage your current employees sell the career opportunities. Again, Chipotle does this well.
  10. Show that you care by offering workers cool soccer shirts, English classes, company events, etc.
  11. Have an employee page on your website with video, etc.
  12. Stress the advantages that you offer employees, such as flexible work schedules, paid time off, health insurance, retirement plans, car allowances, and so forth.
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