People who apply to work at Crank & Boom Ice Cream Lounge, an ice cream store in Lexington, Kentucky, have to answer two questions that aren’t on most employment applications:
- What is your absolute dream job?
- What are your hobbies/passions?
Toa Green, owner of Crank & Boom, believes this sets the right tone early on, attracting people who are ambitious and alerting applicants that the company cares about their development.
“I like to paint the picture for our team that their time with us, at least for most of them, is a path to something else,” she says in an interview with Inc. “People with big dreams and strong passions tend to be the most successful in our company. They know how to work hard for something. ”
Provide Workers with Opportunities
Growing employees as the company grows can be a critical task for any business owner. After hiring ambitious workers, the key is to provide them with opportunities. Big Ass Fans, which designs and constructs industrial cooling fans and lighting, likes to hire people who have a curious nature, and then rotate them through different units within the company so they can see what jobs appeal to them.
“I also believe in hiring people for their next job,” says CEO Carey Smith.
People don’t need to change jobs to grow, though; “stretch assignments” may be a way for employees to develop new skills.
“Don’t think about picking the most qualified person for the assignment,” says Dan McCarthy, Director of Executive Development Programs at the University of New Hampshire. “Instead, think about picking the right developmental assignment for the person.”
Ask Forward-looking Questions
A smart business owner helps employees grow by understanding what they want. Ask questions that encourage employees to think ahead like:
- Are there any other jobs in the company that look particularly enjoyable and interesting to you?
- What experience and skills do you have that you think you’re not able to use in your current position?
- Which of your current skills would you like to improve?
- Are there any new skills you would like to develop?
Invest in Your People
Investing in employee training is a significant factor in retaining workers and getting the most out of them. A survey by the Society For Human Resource Management found that 86% of workers said their job satisfaction was highly related to their company’s commitment to their professional development.
“When you strategically invest in employees, you attract and keep all the best candidates, and you also build a strong work culture unafraid of innovation, change, failure and success,” says entrepreneur William Craig. “Employees take the bull by its horns and run with ideas, instead of running away from problems.”
If your employees aren’t growing, they’re moving backwards — as may your company. Investing in employee development may put both in a position to thrive.