Employees can make or break your business. Finding the right ones, putting them in the right roles and keeping them motivated can feel like a full time job in itself. Making poor hiring decisions and mismanaging your employees is alarmingly expensive, and can influence the morale of the rest of your team, as well as having a detrimental impact on your business and your time. Here are my ten fundamentals to get you started:
- When hiring, be clear about the skills, knowledge, attitudes and motivations you want from the individual. If they don’t have the right attitude, no matter how skilful a leader you are, keeping them focussed, productive and positive will be a drain on your energy, your team and your business.
- Being clear about what motivates an individual helps you match them to your vacancy. An extrovert will not thrive in an isolated role; a big thinker will make expensive errors in a job requiring lots of detail work. Their motivation will drop quicker than you can say “job satisfaction”.
- An effective interview process ensures that you treat every applicant equally, you leave no stone unturned and that you are making a balanced business decision, rather than reacting to their charm at interview. Charm over substance is never a good hiring strategy. In addition, many hiring decisions are based on urgent need – consequences are not considered until they are experienced in glorious and painful high definition.
- Make sure you involve the right people in your interview process. Having input and feedback from people who will be working with the new recruit is invaluable – not just to have a second opinion, but also to make sure they buy into the hiring decision.
- A comprehensive induction process will make sure your new hire gets up to speed and feels part of the company as quickly as possible. Things to consider are: computer, phone and desk (yes, some people forget to plan these for new recruits!); meeting work colleagues, other departments, learning about the company, it’s products, values, processes and procedures, what to do and where to go if there are any problems.
- Make sure your new recruit is pre-announced to the rest of the team so they are expecting them and can extend a warm welcome. I have seen new-hires feel shunned because their team-members were not expecting them and didn’t understand the reason for them joining.
- Have regular 1:1s to discuss progress, plans and projects. It is also a good time to discuss any concerns they have and, do please make sure you take action promised – it can be very demoralising otherwise. 1:1s, well run, are hugely motivational and can be a great way of increasing confidence, productivity and motivation.
- Delegate well. To do this, you need to understand the skillset and motivation levels of each individual member of your team. Some people need a lot of support and direction, others will require more autonomy. Delegation is not about abdication, nor does it involve micro-management. It’s about giving them what they need to perform well. This is a complex and important area that could benefit from a several blogs in its own right.
- Know when to take remedial action. A disciplinary – formal or otherwise – is about improvement. Inaction can make a bad problem worse as the employee believes that poor performance is acceptable. Worse, fellow-employees may also see that this is the new standard they can relax into. Worse still, if you decide to dismiss someone after a period of inaction, it may be difficult to prove your case in a tribunal. Dealing with problems as they arise is essential.
- Develop your individuals. You need to develop them in the right way, in the right things. You can develop them through training, coaching, increased responsibility, new projects, and secondments.
Hiring and managing employees is highly rewarding when done well. It is, however, a minefield. If you are even slightly concerned, or are not getting the results you want, do seek support. With the right structures and skills in place, you can experience the rewards on several levels: a better relationship with your staff, an empowered and motivated workforce, happier customers, greater profit and a reputation as being an employer of choice.
To your success.
PS For help with hiring the right people and effective people management and development call 0845 130 0854. This is not something you want to leave to chance.
© Tricia Woolfrey 2012
About Tricia Woolfrey – click HERE to find out about the author.