As director and part-owner of the recruiting agency Sharp & Carter, Anthony Holdstock understands the value of building and maintaining a strong team. “Businesses that are driven by people and legacy, as opposed to profit and growth, tend to keep people for longer,” he explains. His approach to hiring has helped grow his business significantly. He bought into Sharp & Carter in 2013, and the firm has grown from seven people in Melbourne to 120 people across Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, Australia.
Anthony recently shared his top tips for employee retention and growth in an EO Melbourne blog post, which has been adapted for this article.
1. Focus on relationships
Building a strong work environment is largely about creating relationships with employees. Understand their needs, consider what drives them, and treat them right. “The chances of a business being successful are going to be a lot higher if you can keep good people for longer,” says Anthony.
One thing that his firm did early on is invest in an organizational development team. Doing so illustrates a commitment to developing people within the organization and continuously improving. This sends a powerful message to new hires, existing staff and even clients: When you join the company, the company invests in you to help you become better at what you’re doing—both in and outside of work.
2. Conduct a character scan
Many organizations hire people based on skillset and experience. Anthony believes that component should comprise only 25 percent of the selection criteria for a job. Another 25 percent should consider how the person fits into the organization. The biggest bulk, 50 percent, must focus on character and culture fit.
Typically, job descriptions and hiring processes are tailored to the requirements and needs of the company. Citing Sharp & Carter as an example, Anthony recommends an emotional intelligence test as part of the hiring process. Among the factors the agency considers during assessing potential hires are optimism, empathy and resilience. They also do DiSC profiling to understand the core needs of the person they’re hiring.
3. Recruit for now
A common mistake that managers and founders make is hiring a person based on where they believe the organization is going to be in a few years. “I think most people want to hire for the future, but we don’t know what’s happening in the future,” explains Anthony. “So, hire for now and rehire down the track.”
4. Get the right mix of people
“When it comes to recruiting professionals to organizations, assess your team now. You need to have people who want to be stable and who are happy to do a great job from 9 to 5. They do an awesome job, but their number-one priority is family. You also need people who want to take your job and progress through your organization, if possible. Getting that mix is important,” Anthony shares.
5. Partner with organizations that can bring you value
Recruiting agencies that can focus on finding and assessing the right person for your position will save you time. They can often find talent outside your typical network. Anthony says that if you choose to work with a third-party partner for hiring, it’s important to give the agency an opportunity to understand your culture, what you stand for and the position you’re hiring for.
6. Aim for good leadership and continuous improvement
Leading a company means seeking continuous improvement to become better—better in your business, better as a teacher, better as a guide to your people. To continually get better and stay ahead of the curve, Anthony says business leaders must keep innovating and looking for ways to become better. For him, leadership comes down to shaping the culture of the business and providing employees with the development they yearn for, which then contributes to the overall growth of the venture.
EO has been part of that commitment to improvement for Anthony. “For me, EO has been all about growth and continuous improvement. It is learning from people who are great and being able to implement what they do great,” says Anthony.
Anthony has been a member of EO Melbourne since early 2019. To learn more about the value of EO membership and how to apply, check out the EO Network.