Labor is a huge percentage of your business expenses. With that in mind, are you hiring those who will improve the staff you currently have? How can you recognize the potential of a prospective employee? The answer could be right under your nose!
Jack Rice, a longtime speaker in the retail trade, has said there are three ways to obtain the best employees. The first option is to hire the good ones away from the competition. But, that is expensive as you most likely will only be able to lure them away with money. And if their current employer knows this is a good employee, he is probably already paying the person fairly well. The second option Jack mentions is to train them to be good employees. This does not take as much money, but it does require plenty of time and effort. It also requires you, or someone working for you who knows the necessary techniques, to produce the results you want and need.
Jack gives a third option; given with a smile and sense of humor. That option is to say the retailer’s prayer. (O God, I hope this employee works out better than the last one.) While you may look at any or all three of the options, we would like to suggest you first reexamine the initial hiring process. From our experience of working with many retailers over many years, we would like to share with you some of their best suggestions. The first is to let you know that most of them are always looking for new employees. Not that they want to fire someone, but they always leave the door open for a potential employee to introduce himself or herself.
When they are looking for a new employee, they have told us the best help wanted ad begins with a description of what the person is to do in the job, as compared to first stating the job title or name of the store. The next key ingredient is having a job description. It does not have to be long or detailed; some of the best we have seen are no more than a list, numbered in order of importance, one through ten, a brief description of what the employee is to do.
This job description is attached to the application form and is required reading before the applicant can fill out the form. Some retailers even require the applicant to sign the job description before filling out the application. The signature is designed to signify that the applicant understands the job description and is able to fulfill it. The next part of the application process is unique to the most successful. Instead of the owner or manager interviewing the applicant, two of the best employees are assigned the responsibility of individually and collectively conducting the interview.
Experience has shown by having employees conduct the interview, the candidate is apt to ask more questions, and receive answers they are more likely to believe. With the owner or manager conducting the interview, they are sometimes likely to overlook potential negative factors of the candidate. This is especially true if the owner or manager is working hours that would traditionally be covered by the new employee.
Another benefit of having the best employees conduct the interviews is that they have shown a strong ability to find candidates that more closely duplicate the skills of the better employees. The employees conducting the interview are also looking to find the new employee that they will like, and want to work with. There is also the advantage of the interviewing employee wanting to show their boss their managerial skills.
Once you have selected the new employee, the next challenge is in making sure they fit in and stay with the job. If a person is going to leave a job, they are most likely to do so within the first 90 days. The other downside of this statistic is knowing your business will spend forty to sixty percent of a year’s wages before you have developed a productive employee. Again from our successful retailers, many of them assign a coach to the new employee. It is the responsibility of the coach to mentor, answer questions, and develop a friendship with the new employee.
The benefit for the coach occurs when the employer gives a reward to them when the new employee has successfully completed a six-month job review. Some of the most popular rewards have been two weekends off with pay, a week off with pay, or a cash bonus of one week’s pay. Of course, there are retailers who will say this is an expensive price to pay for a new employee. But after a retailer has gone through three or four employees within a six-month period in an attempt to fill one slot on their team, the coach idea may then appear as quite a deal.
One of the comments we have received from these successful retailers is to let you know that if you are unhappy with the employees you currently have, you are not going to build a new team of employees by trying to hire better ones – one at a time. Without exception, we were told that no matter how strong your efforts, a new hire is more affected by the surrounding employees than by the boss. The suggestion we received was that you create a training program. Something as simple as an hour every other week will put you well on the way to increasing the productivity of your staff.
The ideal employee may or may not come walking in your door. But, by utilizing the techniques of these successful retailers, you are more likely to recognize that person as well as improve the staff you currently have. With the cost of labor being such a sizeable percentage of the expenses on your income statement, isn’t this the advantage you want and need to have?
- Hiring the right employee requires unique methods
- Your current employees may be able to conduct the best interviews
- Incentive pays to a current employee for coaching a new employee can cut down on employee turnover
Tom Shay provides proven management and promotional business-building ideas through his Profits+Plus Seminars and books. Tom can be reached at 727-464-2182 or at his web site:.