If you feel lucky when a recent hire seems to be working out, wait, at least 6 months. Utilizing a robust hiring template, sticking to the rules, performing a formal assessment and checking references all count. Even after all of that, you still have to be lucky. Employee matters have a way of tripping up even the most prepared and cautious manager.
On the topic of engineering the primary business functions: customer finding, operational process and people; culture has the most bearing on success. Hiring the right people and taking a steady leadership role will keep the staff invested in a sustainable growth trajectory.
Here are some tips for recruiting, hiring and cutting down on employee challenges:
- A versatile recruiting template – There are several components required to develop your process. Create a list of skills and duties required for the position. Incorporate these must-haves into the recruiting ad. Ask for a cover letter explaining how the individual feels their skills match with the job description. No cover letter or little reference to your company in the letter is ample evidence of an applicant that only has limited interest or just can’t follow directions.
- A strong hiring process – Once you have determined some “maybes” from your search, send them a questionnaire reflective of the specific needs of the position and ask for their written responses. This step is critical to knowing how the individual thinks and responds. If you like their answers, arrange a telephone interview. No response – no more effort.
- Still interested – After vetting on the phone and checking references, bring the person in for 2 or 3 face to face meetings with you and several team members. Prepare a list of questions and share some of the same and some different questions so that answers can be compared for consistency later. If all goes well, consider making a formal offer. You may want to check with an HR consultant, lawyer or your Insurance Agent for assistance on complying with hiring regulations.
- Leadership – Company culture is your responsibility. Your team wants to be led. Once you have hired the right people, assuring they can work together means defining the role of each player. Make sure they understand their specific responsibilities and how their performance impacts the performance of others. If everyone understands how their job contributes to the overall direction of the business, success will be that much easier.
- A word about compensation – Perspective: pay your employees as much as you can afford, not as little as you can get away with.
By following these recommendations the leader should experience fewer “rough days” at the office.
Once you create a hiring template for your company it will be easy to adapt it to any position in the company. By requesting cover letters and questionnaires you’ll keep your time commitment to a minimum while gaining the best perspective. Doing your work up front will eliminate months or years of working with underperformers.
Finally, always be hiring! By always having your recruiting hat on, you will likely come across people that could be a positive addition to the staff. You may not have a position for them immediately but staying in touch and mindful of business needs will keep you focused on upgrading the team. That way, when the need does arrive, you will not be in a position where you have to take the first applicant that comes along.