A strong team knows what it needs to accomplish and is comprised of people capable of doing it. It is management’s job to ensure there are tools to get the job done and the right people in place to do it. It is leaderships role (often the same person as the manager) to ensure the direction the team is working towards produces the results needed to grow the business in a strategic manner. It is my experience that 99% of the time I encounter a manager, owner, or supervisor that is “stressed out” or frustrated with results in the business, one of these 3 areas are to blame. Here is an excerpt from our white paper “5 Keys to Effective Operations Management” that focuses on what is generally the root of most problems.
How the problem spreads – Bad hiring practices
How do you determine what you ask your staff to do? Do you have a written plan for them to follow? Even for a small business, I highly recommend having a written job description for all positions. It needs to give an overview of the position, and key responsibilities at minimum. It is imperative that employee’s know what they are responsible for. “Everything” or “whatever is needed” isn’t the foundation an employee needs to be successful. This also helps you plan what is yours and others roles are to meet the needs of the business. This is one basic component of what is referred to as “Labor Optimization”.
But more importantly, when you are hiring staff, how do you determine what you need them to do? Some small business owners become overwhelmed and hire staff long after it is actually time to hire. They are so busy; they will almost beg someone to work for them. This is often referred to as “ass’s and elbows hiring”. Because you don’t have the time to properly plan what you want them and need them to do, you tend to hire based on personality or friendship rather than behaviors and proven skills. Managers tend to see what they want to see in the candidate, and don’t evaluate the true work habits and skills they have. This type of hiring will lead to bad outcomes. Bad hiring is bad business, it’s like a cancer and will consume what surrounds it! Generally you end up terminating the person or they quit and you are back to square one. Most often you repeat these mistake and fall into a bad habit. That becomes very taxing on the business and all who pass through it. Poor labor practices are one of the key reasons good businesses fail. Having an employee quit looks bad on the business, and employers must consider that. It’s not the employees fault if you hired wrong and didn’t set them up for success. Yes, that is a key phrase. “Set for Success” and should be the motto of every hiring employer.
It is your responsibility for hiring someone that can succeed and will succeed after training.
If they don’t succeed, it is often the businesses fault. Trust me when I say that most court rooms tend to agree with this. Once hired right and trained, the ball is in their court (employee’s). Pun intended.
Here is an over simplified plan for what you do to avoid this cancer to your business.
- It is crucial to plan out everything that is needed over the course of a week for the business. You need to include as much detail as possible when doing this. Even the smallest tasks should be listed (ex. – taking out the trash).
- Create multiple levels of job descriptions and start by placing a title at the top of a blank sheet. (Manager, Supervisor, cashier, counter help, etc). Decide what level of employee will perform each task, and then add it to that job description (entry level, intermediate experience needed, expert, etc)
- Then look at each Job Description to determine how many hours to allocate for that job and what the values of those tasks are to the business. The higher value tasks get the higher rate of pay etc. If the Job Descriptions seem to fall short on tasks, you can combine multiple job descriptions if needed to ensure it equals enough hours to attract the right sort of candidate.
- Use this new description as a template for asking questions of candidates to form an opinion on their level of competency for the position
- Create a model of the type of person that would excel at this job. Think of background, skills, successes, mindset, social behaviors, trustworthiness, team player, etc.
You will also need to consider other aspects when hiring like behavioral based questions to ensure they fit with your brand and culture. Do not overly focus on personality of the candidate, focus on the behaviors and habits they present. As you well know, these employees may be the face of your business; they need to fit whatever model you want to help sell your brand. It doesn’t matter what position you are hiring for, even if your customer doesn’t come in contact with this person, it will still affect your business in the long run.
Successful people tend to find ways to be successful. Success happens at all stages of life so when interviewing a candidate, dig for anything they have been successful at and find out why they became successful. Too many hiring managers focus only on experience. The key is to find someone with a history of success, who is trainable. Train them and ask them to help build your business….
and they will.
Be picky, you owe it to yourself, and once you have found the “right” person make sure you communicate your needs up front (have them read and initial the Job Description when they fill out the application), and then hold them accountable.
Studies show that good people tend to manage themselves. Hire the right people and provide clear expectations (Job Descriptions) and your life could be that much easier.
To read more about “Creating a Hiring Model”
For other of our “Conversations with a Consultant” series