Cultivate Advisors, a Chicago-based company, joined the Global Workspace Association for the newest installment of the members-exclusive webinar series. Cultivate Advisors helps small business grow and scale their operations and streamline their processes, as well as providing a way to outsource trainings and other business development events.

Vice president of the training department Vince Carone provided insight on the recruitment, employee development, and retention of coworking space managers. On the webinar, Carone also conducted an extensive discussion of the GWA members who attended, allowing him to address their specific issues and concerns. The full recording of this webinar, as well as invitations to future webinars, including another upcoming webinar from Cultivate Advisors, are available to GWA members. You can join the GWA here, but in the meantime, here’s a recap of the talk.

Why does hiring the right employee matter?

Why do coworking space managers need to be concerned with hiring the right fit for the job? The answer goes beyond a general dislike for the hiring process. Carone explained that the cost to hire a single employee runs between $7,000 and $15,000. For the average new hire, the full hiring and onboarding process costs around 140 hours of work for tasks such as finding the names of potential candidates, calling and leaving voicemails, phone interviews, live interviews, the typing and sending of offer letters, onboarding paperwork, initial training, coaching after training, and 90-day reviews. If such work in total costs around $50 per hour, the cost adds up quickly.

Challenges to hiring

Carone polled the webinar attendees regarding their challenges to hiring, and several issues came to the forefront. Recruiting and retaining millennials was expressed as a challenge, especially due to their willingness to go after what they want for their careers, even if that means either passing up an offer or moving on from a current position. Although millennials are often pegged as fun-loving, non-serious employees, data actually indicates that most millennials are more interested in learning and growth than fun and that they are willing to make large career changes to get the growth they want. However, if a company provides them a path to growth, they will often be the most loyal employees as well, referring people to the company even if their career takes them away from the company themselves. Coworking space managers also struggled to set a reasonable price point, to share their company mission, to find possible recruits, and to manage the growth of their employees.

Carone said attracting excellent employees is a challenge for all hiring processes, especially since the prime incentives vary but place and industry. Attraction boils down to offering something of interest—creating excitement for the position, not fear that not taking (or, as discussed later, leaving) a position would result in something negative.

Laws of Attraction

The key to attracting talent is to help interviewees and new hires see the benefits for them. Carone stressed that it’s not enough to list benefits like “transparent culture” or “fun”—you have to explain what that means in the context of your space. In this way, hiring is like sales.

One great incentive to attract employees is to reward employees who bring others to the position you’ve sold them on. Given the overall cost of hiring a new employee, offering even a significant referral bonus will end with a cost savings for your space. Other incentives can include company outings, performance bonuses, and other discounts and rewards.

Development and retention

The key to developing and retaining employees is to be sure they know you hold it as your job to help them succeed. An important component of this type of culture is regular development review meetings, held preferably once a month, but at least once a quarter. Rather than having just a development plan for employees as a group, try to have an individualized plan for each employee. There should be two components to the development plan—business goals that align with your big picture needs (revenue increase, etc.), and individual goals that align with what the employee wants for their career (which means that you must know from talking to the employee what they want for their career).

Check-ins for employees should be scheduled from the first day since doing so will increase their trust and eliminate to wonder when they will be receiving feedback. When you conduct these regular check-ins with employees, be sure to assess both the progress and the potential of the employee, and have them assess their own progress, as well. Having them give their own assessment can help you evaluate their buy-in and development, and give you ways to justify the progress you’re saying they make. Be sure to be upfront about the steps you feel they need to take to develop and be equally sure that you create a stepwise plan that is unique to each employee—not generalized for everyone who works for your space.

Retention starts on day one

Coworking space managers cannot afford to be too busy to notice changes in employee attitude or behavior. Failing to give feedback and keep employee growth at the forefront can result in a lack of interest or other issues that cause the employee to check out—and start checking out other job postings. Carone explained the average employee checks out of a position around 12 weeks before they actually take action to end their employment there. Many managers fail to notice or act on changes in their employees until it is too late—a delay that often carries the price tag of the cost of hiring a new employee.

Managers, Carone explained, are not allowed to have a bad day. Managers who are short or irritable toward their employees will cause their employees to spend their time coming up with reasons for the behavior, which not only destroys employee morale but productivity as well.

Start with why

Employees today want to know why you’re doing what you’re doing before you tell them the details of the job posting or how they should perform their duties. In an employee’s job market like the current one, managers cannot afford to fail to communicate the “why” of the company vision. Helping employees understand why they should work for you—both because of your business’s mission and because of their potential for their own growth—will lead to better attraction, development, and retention of employees for your space.


This webinar is part of an on-going series available to members of the Global Workspace Association. In addition to invitations to all webinars, which allows for participation in the Q&A sessions, members also have access to recordings of all previous webinars. To view the full version of this webinar, with all the examples, explanation, and Q&A, sign up to become a member. You can join the Global Workspace Association by going here.

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