Small Business Tips Blog
“Research shows that employees working in engaging climates outperform those in less robust environments by as much as 30 percent.”
At a recent discussion at a Capital Ideas session in Edmonton, Alberta, three business owners shared their secrets on how they hire and keep their employees.
In the space of six years, DevFacto has grown from two co-founders, David Cronin and Chris Izquierdo, to seventy employees. The software designer and developer creates tools, including Sharepoint and mobile solutions, to suit business needs. They attribute their fast growth, including two new offices in Calgary and Regina, to their fine-tuned hiring process, and a culture that includes incentives that are hard to pass up.
According to an interview with Alberta Venture magazine, after DevFacto appeared on the Fast Growth 50 list, the co-founders “believe the company’s ability to recruit talented people has been a key part of its growth.” Their interview process is a long and fine-tuned one, but the true test is in its last step: The individual has to spend an afternoon in the company’s cafeteria connecting with employees.
Some of the many perks that give DevFacto employees incentive to stay include:
- $1,200 home internet and cell phone subsidy
- Beer-hour on Friday afternoons
- Semi-annual retreats
- $2500/year for each employee for extra education and training, including taking a cooking class, or buying self-help books.
The co-founders also bypass the familiar business models with hierarchies. “As soon as you have management, you have people to blame,” says Mr. Cronin. “Spaces are created where no one is accountable.”
Manasc Isaac, an Edmonton-based architecture firm, reports their mentorship program has made them successful with recruitment and ability to keep quality employees. Mentors keep their mentees engaged and enthusiastic, not only about the projects they are assigned, but with an opportunity to express what projects they would like to work on to advance their own envisioned career paths. Employees also take part in company strategy, and are encouraged to voice what Manasc Isaac can do better going forward.
Depending on the line of work, some business owners, like Cindy Lazarenko of OnOurTable, report keeping employees more easily if they are given a chance to be creative.
Though a good salary is often perceived to keep talent on board, it is not always the case. Mr. Cronin suggests praise for going above and beyond, and being recognized as a leader, most times, speaks louder than any money bonus.
To view the Capital Ideas conversation in full, click here.
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