Good help is hard to find. How many times have you thought or said that in any given week/day/hour?

It’s not a new concept or challenge. Even the mighty Google, which receives something like 20,000 resumes a week (that works out to two every minute), knows that the perfect candidate never walks through the door.

Did you know Decca Records passed on the Beatles and as a high school sophomore, Michael Jordan wasn’t good enough to get on his high school’s varsity basketball team?

Before complaining that you don’t have any superstars on your staff, keep in mind that the Beatles were rough musicians in their earliest days and owning the title His Airness was something a young Michael couldn’t have imagined at age 15.

If you scratch the surface, there’s more to every “natural talent’s” story than meets the eye. Everybody has some help along the way. Everybody.

So why not be the producer/coach/mentor that your employees need? The time and effort involved in hiring one new employee is about $1,200, depending on the position. Growing your own crop of superstars with training and mentorship is a much better way to spend your money.

If you hire for attitude, you can train the rest. So instead of ignoring the excited puppies that get amped up if you even glance in their directions, put them to work on learning new skills.

Don’t automatically say this idea wouldn’t work for you. Put some thought into it and consider who’s always willing to work extra hours. How could you cross train him or her as back up to someone who is less eager to work?

Another winning idea is to work on turning those frowns upside down. Assume some responsibility for improving employee attitude and morale. People don’t quit jobs; they quit bosses and workplace cultures. That doesn’t mean coddling or pampering. It means something as basic as gratitude and acknowledgement.

When people feel appreciated and noticed, they are 90 percent less likely to quit a job in the 21 days following receipt of a compliment.

You could guarantee an almost full staff for three weeks after taking the time to personally let each of them know you appreciate them. That’s the key, though: personally. No group memo stuck on the break room fridge or calling everybody together at the start of a shift and saying thanks.

For the 21-day miracle to occur, you have to identify an actual attribute of each employee and deliver the praise individually and in person. And put some sincerity into it. “Danielle, I can tell that the customers you interact with instantly have a better day after talking to you. That means a lot to me and I want you to know how much I appreciate the way you represent our company.”

Don’t complain about the lack of good employees unless you can say, without a doubt, that you’re doing everything you can to cultivate your own superstars. Turnover could be a rare occurrence if you see a Michael Jordan in the making inside every one of your employees.

The free Creating Small Business Success workshop will be held Thursday, September 13, 5:30 – 7pm, at the New Carlisle Olive Township Public Library.

For more information, contact John Borkowski, at

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