• Richard Walsh

What employees really are...

Employees have many names given to them by employers and a lot of them are not so flattering. I get it too, I’ve had more than my share of worthless individuals who are there just for the paycheck. The ones who only do exactly the bare minimum to keep their job. The one that shows up 3 minutes late EVERY DAY.  The gossip king/queen who just won’t mind their own business. Then there’s the one who seems to break everything they touch or worse they’re so safety minded they almost can’t get work done for fear of being unsafe. How about the production manager who seems to always have 4 people doing the job of one?

Ringing some bells there?  I’m sure it does but let’s get away from the negative and get into what a great employee really is, how you can hire them and what they can do for your business.

We’ve all probably had that outstanding employee too. The one who shows up early every day. Stays to complete the task, asks what else they can do to help, and leads others without being asked. They even offer to pay for something they broke.  Yes, these are the rare individuals we wish we could clone and have the most spectacular employee base known to man. But alas this just isn’t the case, or is it?

Bad employees are liabilities. Great employees are assets. A great employee is actually FREE for the company. Yes I mean that. A great employee brings so much value to the company they actually generate more than they take, a lot more. They pay for themselves with their productivity and outstanding attitudes. You need to start seeing your employees this way. Don’t see employees as a necessary evil. Think of them as profit generators. You have to elevate your thinking on this to help you get the best to work with you.

There is a way to get great employees. The first step in this process is to establish job parameters, duties and delegations. This is literally a manual that describes and teaches all aspects of the employee position. This manual is used for training the new hire for that particular position in great detail yet simplified so it can be understood regardless of the employee themselves. I like doing training videos and include them in the training manuals. Everyone these days has a phone they can watch videos on so they can review these trainings even when they’re not at work. Video can show exactly what your conveying to the new hire. Even video screenshots for computer applications in your business really simplifies the process. The other great advantage to this is you only have to do it once.

Another one of the great benefits of doing this is it gives you the complete understanding of the position. You now know who to hire and you now know you don’t have to be the one to train them. It also creates a new level of accountability in your business.

 You can even create a simple introduction video of your entire business and workplace for candidates looking to work for you. This video can be shot on your phone then edited to make a great 1-2 minute video showing the benefits of working there. Put this on your website under “join our team” and have an online job application and positions available so job seekers can submit and you can review on your time without having to meet anyone in person to begin with.

The next step to getting the great employee is the person themselves you’re hiring. There’s a great book called Top Grading by Bradford Smart. I’m going to recommend you read this book to give you a full understanding of a high quality hiring practice.  For now I will give you one of the tips I love (though there are many) that can make a quick difference in your hiring of quality people.

On your job application near the end put in bold letters: Be aware you will be asked to arrange phone conversations with previous employers and managers for us to speak with regarding your performance.

This statement alone will weed out the ‘C’ players that will only cost your company money.  They won’t even submit the application. Some of you reading this may be saying “that’s illegal you can only ask former employers would you hire them again” or something of that nature. Not the case when you get the applicant's permission up front and they are arranging the phone calls not you.

You don’t have time for ‘C’ players at any level of your business. I don’t even want a ‘C’ player cleaning my toilets! After the application has been submitted the next step would be a five to ten minute phone conversation with the candidate. If they seem viable then have them arrange the phone conversations with previous employers. Actually call the previous employers. Do not skip this step it is critical. If all goes well from there you begin the in person interview process and that is usually a two part process also to make a decision. Another advantage is when people have to actually work a little bit to get a job, they appreciate the job more, it’s like “Earning” the right to work there.

 As business owners with employees we all know people are usually our weakest link. We dread the poor hire, the unproductive, negative and always complaining individual. They are a cancer spreading throughout the entire operation and they must be cut out. 

Quality employee’s can change the face of your business for the better. It will relieve your stress, streamline your hiring process and give complete accountability for all employees and what business owner doesn’t want that?  Yes, you will spend extra time now to get this in place, but in the long run you will have an amazing business that may actually be attractive to a buyer some day.

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