Can't Find Good Workers? 3 Ways That Communicating Appreciation Can Help


The news is repetitive and blaring: Employers are complaining about the inability to find qualified applicants for positions that need to be filled.

The discussion is rather ironic -- having 10 plus million workers who can't find work, while employers report they can't find potential employees who meet the needs they have.

What are "qualified applicants?"

The issue impacts multiple industries. The key term to understand is this: Qualified applicants.

"Qualified" does not just mean educated or trained; it also involves character. As one employer told me, they can't find workers who can meet all three conditions necessary to work there:

  1. They have the training necessary to do the job;
  2. They will show up regularly for work; and,
  3. They can pass a drug test.

Let me help those of you who manage, supervise and hire, and give you three suggestions that will, over time, solve the problem:

Solution #1: Keep the good employees you already have

We know for certain that staff turnover is one of the highest non-productive costs to employers.

The cost of lost productivity, damaged customer relationships, finding replacements, training new employees, and the impact on others in the organization is huge.

AND, we know that one of the most influential factors for employees choosing to stay or leave their current employer is how much they feel valued and appreciated by those with whom they work (both supervisors and colleagues).

So stop the revolving door through which many have exited. You know -- the position or areas where people seem to flow through like the wind.

Analyze the situation. Figure out what is wrong; why exactly do people leave? And then support, encourage, and show appreciation to those who work in, around, and with those positions. (Check out my video on "Why Employee Engagement Isn't What You Really Want" for more on engaging current employees.)

Solution #2: Mentor those who have potential 

We often have employees who are "OK," but who have an area of deficiency or a character quality they need to grow in and develop.

Here's a key issue to understand: People are more willing to accept corrective feedback when they feel valued and that you are "on their side."

Work on encouraging and showing appreciation in those areas which are their strengths. In addition, cast the vision for them growing and stepping up into more responsibility in the organization.

After a period of time (at least, some weeks), ask them if they would be willing to hear some ideas you have on what they could do to make it more likely for them to be seen as a candidate for moving up in the organization. But, make sure they first know that you value who they are and the good things they currently do in their position.

Solution #3: Make your place where people want to work

The word gets around among front-line workers, supervisors, and professionals about where the good places are to work (and where the bad ones are). And, it is not all about who pays the most.

Become "THE" organization (or department) that will draw the limited pool of qualified applicants in your community or industry. Create a culture of appreciation and encouragement, where team members feel valued and value one another.

A positive snowball will then begins to build. The negative complainers leave over time, and you replace them with energetic, "can do" staff, and your organization begins to "hum" with successful, productive activity.

Trust me, it happens!

Editor's note: Checkster fuels the Talent Insider blog, and Checkster has some tools -- like the 360 Checkup and Talent Checkup -- to help you and your up-and-coming employees get better feedback on what they can do to grow and improve.