What Steve Jobs taught executives about hiring
Creating a successful business isn’t just about having a stand-out product, true success ultimately comes down to having a team of stellar people. Any leader knows that it can be difficult to keep these employees that really make a difference in your business, but there are a few things that you can do that will incentivize your superstars to stay while also maximizing their potential:
Get to know them
Building personal relationships with your employees is best way to make sure they feel heard. Listen to their needs, ask what matters most to them, and find out what growth looks like in their eyes. Keeping the dialogue open and informal, will create an environment where employees personal and professional goals can be met. Superstar employees are often the ones that break the mold, so take the time to understand what makes them unique and create steps to amplify their strengths.
For managers, it can be tough to be entirely hands-off, but a little bit of freedom goes a long way in keeping employees happy and motivated. Offer them guidance, but also be confident that they’ll succeed. They may bring something valuable to the table that you hadn’t considered. Create leeway for the little failures to happen safely, and leverage them as learning experiences.
As former Apple CEO Steve Jobs famously said “it doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” Especially in a growing market this mentality is more than a motivator for your employees, it’s a key to success. Freedom gives your superstars the opportunity to do what they do best: impress you.
Be willing to compromise
Goals are moving targets, especially for your most driven employees. Your job as a leader is to keep tabs on the evolving personal and professional goals of your stellar employees. Learn how to cater to these evolving needs while still doing what’s best for business. As a manager it’s important to realize when your business goals and your employees’ goals don’t align. When it’s clear they differ, do your best to find a compromise as long as it doesn’t hurt your business in the process.
In the end, keeping a strong culture that allows your top employees to grow and be heard is vital to success for any business. Just put an ear to the ground and keep listening.
9 ways to recruit extraordinary employees
By SPENCER RASCOFF
CEO of Zillow Group
The Leadership Insider network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in business contribute answers to timely questions about careers and leadership. Today’s answer to the question “How do you keep your best employees?” is by Spencer Rascoff, CEO of Zillow Group.
My most important job as CEO of Zillow is to identify, recruit, retain, and motivate extraordinary people. It’s what I spend most of my time on. Here are some of the ways we do this at Zillow:
- Set a clear vision. This helps empower employees so they know the company’s mission, direction, and how to solve problems.
- Serve your employees, not vice versa. If managers are focused on helping their direct reports succeed instead of always telling them what to do, the entire organization will be set up for long-term success.
- Hire people who are better than you, and help them become superstars. Never be afraid of being outshined by someone on your team, especially a subordinate. Their success will reflect favorably on you.
- Find ways to keep the company growing and dynamic. Great people want advancement and increased responsibility, but not by cannibalizing the jobs of their co-workers. And never take credit for other people’s work.
- Create a company culture that rewards innovation, rather than success. If you focus on rewarding success, people won’t take risks for fear of failing. Failure is proof that you’re trying. If you’re not failing, you’re not trying hard enough.
- Value efficiency over face time. If you’re still at your desk at 10 p.m., you probably weren’t very efficient during the day. On a personal note, I turn off my phone on Saturdays and I usually don’t work on vacation. That doesn’t mean I’m not thinking about work–I do that all the time. But I do it quietly, and away from the constant pinging of e-mail.
- Offer corporate perks, but in a way that fosters the company’s culture. For example, Zillow invests heavily in employee education and training. Embrace a corporate culture that works hard, plays hard, and celebrates milestones.
- Motivate employees to succeed through autonomy, mastery, and purpose. The best way to do this is by staying on message and regularly communicating your company’s mission, and tying it back to the work your employees do on a regular basis. This will help them understand how their work contributes to the broader goal. Every quarter I remind myself (and my managers) of this by watching Dan Pink’s YouTube video on motivation.
- Finally and most of all, treat employees like grownups. There’s no room at Zillow for needless rules or oversight. Great people need autonomy and inspiration, not a handbook thicker than the dictionary.