Ask any CEO, president or business owner to list the duties he or she enjoys the least, and most likely hiring employees will turn up somewhere on the list. While finding the right employee may never make it to the top of anyone’s favorite business task list, it doesn’t have to be viewed as a loathsome but necessary chore. In fact, business leaders, human resources and other management roles should view the hiring process as the valuable growth opportunity it is.
The truth is hiring a new employee is a valuable opportunity to add a new person to your business team. He or she could be just the addition that gives your company a push into unprecedented growth and financial success. Thinking of the process in those terms it’s easy to see how a new hire is really something to be excited about as the new team member is brought on board.
For many business people, instead of approaching the open position as an opportunity, the opening is viewed as a problem to be solved. All too often the problem occurred either because another employee left the position, changes in the organizational personnel structure or new customers have created some sort of demand that is not being met.
In either case, work is stacking up, nerves are beginning to fray, and there seems to be less and less time to invest to properly solve the hiring problem. Eventually, instead of taking the time to think through the process to find exactly the right employee who will have a positive impact on the company, the decision maker hires the first person who seems capable of fulfilling the responsibilities. Sadly, these decision makers who rush through — instead of thinking through — the entire employment process are doomed to repeat the process over and over again. Thus creating more turnover in the company that is necessary or anticipated. It’s no wonder hiring is often such a dreaded process!
The key is to identify the right person for the position instead of filling a spot merely to fix the problem. If you are doing it correctly at your company, the hiring team and especially the key decision maker (which may be you depending on the size of your business), will be evaluating a whole host of factors, including:
- the flow of work
- why the position is truly open
- along with the positive and negative aspects of both the position and the previous employee.
Perhaps most important will be a discussion about what needs to change now that the opportunity is there.
The hiring team should think carefully too about the future individual to fill this position within the department, including:
- growth opportunity within the position
- previous experience
- What sort of personality will fit best within the company culture and specific department?
- What strengths are necessary for this person?
- Are there any tests or assessments available to further validate a potential candidate as being the best and right choice?
Obviously, there’s much to consider when hiring employees. To help you organize your thoughts, you might consider these five W’s when hiring employees:
- Why does the company need someone?
- What is the job or open position really about?
- Where is the job best positioned in the company?
- Who is the right person for the job?
- When is the best time to hire an individual? What is the time frame?
- How much initial, as well as, ongoing training is required for optimal job performance?
Frequently, decision makers will hire on “personal” feelings about an individual which is not necessarily bad as long as you carefully check references. Generally speaking, people do not provide bad references and most reference checks will deliver expected results. Be sure, however, to ask probing questions that will reveal important information which could indicate whether he or she is truly qualified for the position.
- If this is a sales position you are recruiting for, can the individual validate making consistent, successful sales calls and identifying new prospects?
- Or, if it is an administrative job, question skills specifically related to the position; ask, for example, about specific computer software programs, organizational skills, or customer service qualifications.
Compensation often plays a major factor in why a candidate accepts a position so be prepared to discuss it before you begin the interview. First, make sure you know what the competition is offering and that your offer is competitive. Look at compensation packages for similar positions within the company to ensure they are equitable that the range allows for raises during yearly reviews.
Once the right candidate is chosen, be sure to present them with a detailed job description (everything previously discussed during the interview process), and an employee handbook. Make sure too the individual signs-off on a receipt indicating they have read it thoroughly and understand all of the company’s policies and procedures.
For many companies, a probationary period can be a valuable tool as each party evaluates if the relationship is a good match on both sides of the equation. A review should be scheduled at the end of the review period so both the hiring manager and the direct report employee know the status between each other. You might consider conducting meetings randomly during the probationary period simply to check in on how things are going. This prevents any “surprises” that may arise later with the employee.
Once the employee has been hired, many business people breathe a sigh of relief, thinking they can put the entire process behind them. Nothing could be further from the truth. The smartest and most highly skilled worker will almost surely fail without established goals and a thorough, ongoing training process.
Training is vital to the successful launch of any new employee. Although many companies are so desperate to finally fix the problem the open position has created they demand the new hire “hit the ground running.” Such an attitude, however, is a mistake, and almost guarantees the position will be open again soon. No matter how qualified and experienced someone may be, as a new company hire everyone deserves a specified amount of time to adjust and ramp up. Steady progress should be observed when hiring employees.
In fact, regardless of expertise, an employee must still be introduced into the systems and culture of the company. You should never assume the new hire can just come in and do the job.
New employees must…
- feel welcome and part of the company
- understand their duties and responsibilities
- the corporate culture and team environment channels
- the expectations the company has regarding performance.
As a CEO, president or business owner consider creating specific training programs for new employees if your company does not already have an effective program already in place.
In addition, typically new hires will have the worst jobs thrown on them, thanks to a corporate initiation process where senior people feel entitled to let the “new kid” handle all the worst jobs. But think of your new employee like a newly purchased piece of major equipment or a new luxury car. How would you treat these items?
Although there should always be the highest level of respect for people, for the moment, think of the people you work with daily as a tool to get you where you want to be from a business perspective.
You should also make time to carefully coach your new employee as well. Just assuming he or she understands, for example, sales or marketing or accounting or production, can be a big mistake. Instead, take the time to find out what he or she is does well and, even more importantly, what perhaps, an individual does not do well. Once you have a clearer picture, try to find new ways to encourage the abilities they do have and build upon the abilities they do not.
Finally, take time to remain in contact with the employee to see if the company and job is living up to the expectations. Often people come into new jobs only to find out it is not what they had expected – either with the people they work with, the hours expected of them, the work load, or the company’s style of management. Learning about such problems early in the process gives both of you the chance to make changes or adjustments that could be the difference between a relationship that works and one that simply does not.
Generally speaking, after the initial probationary period has ended, you should be seeing some of the qualities and results you were expecting when you offered the new employee the position. If not, then now is the time to consider alternatives. In some cases the answer might be as simple as a different training program or intensified coaching with a mentor.
Sometimes, however, the new employee is simply not a fit for your organization. In these situations you should terminate the employee with integrity to allow them to seek other avenues for career success. It could prove to be the opportunity to find the type of work they really enjoy and will thrive at doing. The hard truth is that sometimes termination is best for everyone’s well being. Not everyone is going to be a fit but if you hire well; most though will be successful and continue to grow with your company.
Certainly, investing the time to find and train the most effective worker possible is a time-consuming effort, but one that pays overwhelming dividends back to the company over time. CEOs, presidents and business owners have a choice to make. You can invest the necessary time and resources to identify and properly train the best candidate for the position. If not, however, you can expect to suffer through the endless cycle of employees coming and going and precious resources wasted away on turnover. Of course, the company will ultimately pay the price as customers weary of dealing with one unqualified or poorly trained worker after another choose instead to take their business elsewhere.
One other bit of business advice when hiring employees: Never hire when you are desperate. It often leads to unfavorable business outcomes for you and the employees.
The next time you’re faced with hiring employees and finding just the right new hire, don’t despair. The key to a new future for you and your company could be just an employee away. Think of all the potential business opportunities that are waiting for you!
To your success!
Business strategist and business expert, Howard Lewinter, guides – focuses – advises CEOs, presidents and business owners across a wide variety of industries throughout the United States make significant, lasting improvements to ultimately ensure companies thrive. Business problems? Business issues? Get MORE from your business – MORE success – MORE profit – less stress. Talk business with Howard: 888-738-1855.