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How to Acquire Top Talent


If you are going to hire staff, you should aspire to hire top talent. Top Talent includes special people who have super human strengths in various forms and they are worth every penny of what they earn. They bring value to your organization in the form of three ideals that work in harmony together: consistency, longevity and customer retention.

1. Consistency means conformity in the application of how customers are served. Customers crave a consistent atmosphere.  

2. Longevity is how long that employee works for you. It is difficult to have a consistent atmosphere without longevity. 

3. Customer Retention is a metric that measures loyalty, or measures the ability for an organization to keep its customers over time. Without a consistent atmosphere, fueled by longevity of employees, it is difficult to achieve a high rate of customer retention. 

Top Talent is able to infuse into your store consistent performance and superior customer satisfaction skills. They are also known as Superstars or Highly Engaged Employees. They are alert, they are knowledgeable, and they are attentive. Because they care about how good of a job they are doing, customers take notice and they remain loyal longer. 

Top Talent is not consistent with the attributes of drama queens. Top Talent is NOT A SHARK. Don’t confuse the two.  If you employ sharks, you will not be able to retain other Top Talent. 

Top Talent is loyal. Top Talent are employees who wouldn’t think about working anywhere else but a shoe store, if they could help it. They have learned to love the shoe business partially because they love working for you. 

Top Talent are employees who are asked for by name by customers. They usually stay for years and not months, provided you did what you were supposed to do prior to hiring them and during their employment.

At one time, we used to count employee length of service in years and not months. I don’t believe a high percentage of people who only stay for weeks or months can be considered Top Talent. Top Talent is a happy person who makes others happy. When Top Talent leaves, your customers aren’t happy.

If I’ve sold you on the notion of Top Talent, now you need to make sure you have set yourself up for success (defined as able to catch Top Talent and keep them). 

And, here is what you need to do in order to attract the top talent: 

• Create and maintain a culture that attracts and retains Top Talent.  

• Develop and maintain a culture (aka “working environment”) where employees: 

• Are treated with respect,

• Work as a team, 

• Support one another,

• Share a mindset of what the mission is, 

• Have procedures, processes and a system in place for how you will all work as a team to meet the mission. 

There are plenty of books on the subject. Besides an environment that is “happy”, communication is paramount. Employees, just like everyone else, need reassurance and information. We call all of this Tender Loving Care. 

This is the first in a series of
Footwear Insight columns authored by Alan Miklofsky, a shoe industry veteran whose business was awarded the top score in the Footwear Insight Gold Medal Service Awards in 2019. After a long, successful career as a shoe store owner, e-commerce pioneer and trade association leader, Alan is currently a business consultant. 

For more information on Alan, visit his LinkedIn page at: