Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Is It Hard To Find A Good Employee?

All About Fifth is pleased to present the first blog post by Susan Martin, Park Slope resident, Business Coach and Founder of Business Sanity. She'll be posting advice for Fifth Avenue's small business community from time to time:

"With the holidays right around the corner, many small businesses are thinking about putting on additional staff to help carry the load. Unfortunately, hiring is yet another task that falls on the shoulders of already overwhelmed small business owners, who are often really good at what they do, but may be inexperienced in making appropriate hiring decisions. As we all know, finding the right people is critical to the success of any business, but especially to a small business whose resources are limited and who depend upon each and every employee to pull their weight.

Yes, it’s hard to find good employees, but don’t feel powerless and throw up your hands, it’s not impossible. You can’t control who is out there looking for a job, but you can control who you attract.

Too often small business owners will take a "shoot from the hip" attitude. Feeling desperate to get help, they may grab the first warm body without really thinking about what they need done, what they’re willing to delegate or who will be best equipped to do it. Some make hiring decisions based solely upon their gut instincts. Others think if they hire someone who is smart, they’ll be able to handle whatever is thrown at them, but find that the person they’ve hired has neither the temperament nor the skills needed to get results.

I’ve known numerous small business owners who were so anxious to get help that they overwhelmed the new employees with a million and one tasks, trying to teach them everything at once, often finding that the new person just ups and quits. If any of this sounds familiar, try doing things differently the next time. Whether you’re hiring a dishwasher, shop clerk, secretary or CEO; hiring is a skill unto itself. To make the best possible hiring decisions, take some time to analyze your needs before starting your search.

Here are some things to consider:

1. Ask yourself why you need that new employee, what will hiring them really do for your business?

2. Figure out what you are willing to delegate.

3. Don’t wing it: Pinpoint the tasks, priorities and responsibilities you want them to take on ahead of time.

4. Don’t overlook the company values that you hold most dear. Is stellar customer service important to you? If so, it should also be a strong value for them, they probably won’t be able to fake it.

5. Identify the goals you want them to achieve. People tend to accomplish more if they understand the outcomes you’re looking for.

6. Determine who they will report to, how and when they will be trained and evaluated.

7. Consider what kind of experience, education and background would best prepare someone for the position.

8. Define the “must have” qualities or attributes they’ll need to be successful.

9. Understand exactly what you will expect of them and be sure to clarify those expectations when interviewing.

10. Determine what salary and benefits you’ll offer.

What hiring problems have you run up against? What solutions have worked? We'd love to hear from you!"

- Susan Martin, Business Sanity

1 comment:

  1. You cover some great points, Susan.

    As recruiters, one of the biggest problems we run up against with small businesses hiring some of our candidates is training.

    With the best of intentions, we have seen a few small dealerships employ salespeople with limited or no experience, planning to train them.

    The manager then is too busy to conduct any meaningful or effective training. The salespeople get frustrated and leave.


    Asking for a written training plan from the employer before sending a candidate.

    Recommending trainers to the dealership.

    Coaching the candidate to actively take responsibility for their own learning, too.