If you’ve been tasked with hiring, developing, and keeping top quality talent on a budget for any length of time, you know engaged, committed and talented people are crucial.

You may even have dreams of talented, honest, hardworking employees ready to give their left kidney for the good of the organization. You imagine them sitting at home wishing the weekend weren’t so long so they can get back to work for your company.

Often, that dream ends with a Monday morning bucket of ice water to the face as you return to find the tired, the poor, and the huddled masses. Your team appears to slog through the office; mindless, uninspired and drained of all energy. There has been no zombie apocalypse, but your entire staff seems plucked from the cast of The Walking Dead.

You know that committed, talented, engaged people are the lifeblood of your company. But how on God’s green earth do you find these unicorns and keep them fired up, committed and on point?

Key #1 - The right people come because of who you are, not what your compensation package looks like.

It is so much easier to attract people who share your values than to hire first and “convert” later. Be clear about who you are and what you believe and you will attract the right people. Just as importantly, you will repel the wrong people who end up making your life miserable.

Before you can hire based on your core values, you need to define those values and communicate them in word and deed until you and your employees are saying them in your sleep.

If you asked your employees “What are our core values?” today, how many different answers would you get? If that answer is anywhere north of one—keep reading.

Here are some ways to communicate your core values to your employees, prospects, customers, vendors, and the community at large:

  • Company parties
  • Your interview process
  • Email signatures
  • Business cards
  • Voicemail/ phone system recordings
  • Hiring ads

KEY #2 - Not only do you have to clearly understand your company core values, you must be able to communicate them clearly and consistently.

Do your employees come to you with the same questions you have answered dozens of times? Does fear of a bad decision hold you back from freeing them to be more independent? Do you want them to figure things out for themselves?

Often, employees make what seems to them a small mistake from their perspective, yet you lose your mind. Why is that? Generally, they have violated one or more of your core values. The problem is, they didn’t know it. Your job as the leader is to communicate those values early and often.

Next time an employee comes to you with an idea or question, don’t answer it. Ask a question instead.

Does this idea fit into our core values?

How can you best reflect our core values based on what you just told me?

Which core value comes to mind first in dealing with this?

Key #3 - You can’t just talk the core values talk, you’ve got to live and breathe them. Even when your employees get sick of hearing them.

Start consistently asking these questions instead of providing answers. Your staff will become more independent, stop asking the same questions over and over and become better decision makers.

Offer employees something they have never had before. More than a paycheck. Community. A sense of belonging. Of purpose. Something special that none of you could have built alone.

Clarify your core values, communicate them early and often.

Mike Campion is a celebrated speaker, entrepreneur and author of I’m a Freaking Genius, Why is This Business So Hard?. As the host of the “Conversations with a Genius” podcast, Mike imparts his business wisdom on his listeners. www.MikeCampion.com