Your employees are probably some of the more complicated and most complex aspects of your business. They are also some of your greatest assets. As a result, it’s critical to take the time to hire the right people, and then develop and manage them appropriately. Without a documented human capital management plan, many businesses make a number of common mistakes that have costs, in terms of employee performance and productivity, morale, money, time and reputation.
How can you be sure you hire the right people?
There’s no way around it; wrong hires can cause problems, lots of them – for your other employees as well as for your clients – and will eventually have to be replaced. [Entrepreneur Magazine details what happens when your “perfect” hire turns out to be Mr. Negative or just a really bad fit, and why it’s so critical to pay attention during the hiring process, and before.] How do you find and match the right people to the right jobs? By including a well-structured recruiting program in your overall business strategy. The key to a successful selection program is having a set process; several of the initial steps don’t have anything to do with running ads or setting up interviews.
First, you need accurate, complete job descriptions for each role in your organization. Job descriptions help with recruiting, as well as with succession planning and even the development of your company culture. What happens when your top salesperson moves on or your lead line mechanic wants to take a few days off? What are the chances their supervisor knows enough about what they do to plan for effective vacation coverage or to hire a replacement?
Job descriptions should be a balance between responsibilities, skills, education and the interpersonal attributes that are critical for success in the role. Perhaps this particular position requires someone to work on their own for long stretches of time or stand at a manufacturing line for several hours? Knowing these details before you hire is crucial to finding, and keeping, the right person.
The step after creating job profiles should be to develop "success profiles," which define the ideal employees for the critical positions in your company. According to DDI, a global human resources consulting firm, success profiles create “a way for business people to talk about managing talent and a way for talent managers to understand what the business needs.”
Maybe your list of employees to profile includes your salespeople, district managers and account managers. Or your line technicians and shift managers. Once you decide who they are, you’ll need to identify the skills and attributes that are common to your highest performers but missing from your less successful employees. With this information, you’ll have a picture of the person most likely to succeed in a particular role. You may also find yourself with a better understanding of the training and development needs of some of your current employees.
These two activities might sound basic, but many companies don’t take the time to complete them. As a result, their hiring process is often extended because no one can agree on who is needed, or worse, the person hired ends up being the wrong person for the job. Having the basic, common level of understanding provided by job descriptions and success profiles is critical to effectively meeting your business goals.
Now that you have them, what are you doing to keep them?
To attract and retain top talent, employee development is a must. Development translates to strong, lasting employee performance while also helping you develop promotable, satisfied, engaged employees. Every employee benefits, whether they are salaried or hourly.
Perhaps that development includes taking a quick PowerPoint refresher, sitting for the Project Management certification or completing a management development course. The more they know, the better your employees can serve your company as well as your customers.
In addition to improving employee performance, a strong employee development program can help you save money and has the potential to bring in additional revenue. As they become more effective and efficient, these well-trained, more-confident employees are going to do better work. This will ultimately save you money while providing the opportunity to increase your output and your sales.
This discussion of investing in your employees brings up an often overlooked topic: your bench. Do you have a plan for developing your employees to move into more senior roles as your company grows? Can you quickly promote an employee when your sales manager moves into another internal role or leaves? The loss of your VP of product development may not be as gut-wrenching as when Lebron James left the Cleveland Cavaliers, but it could be devastating for your business if you don’t have someone ready to step into those big shoes.
Employee development trains current employees for possible promotions while giving you an indication of their future potential.
What’s your retention strategy?
You go to considerable lengths to identify, interview and hire the right employees. Retaining them should also be a top priority, and your employee retention plan needs to include much more than a yearly cost-of-living increase. Of course they want that increase, but today’s employees also want:
- Career development opportunities,
- Regular feedback on how they and the company are doing,
- A chance to contribute to the organization and be recognized for doing so,
- Flexible work schedules that recognize their need for work/life balance,
- A appropriate salary and an opportunity to increase it over time, and
- Benefits tailored to their individual needs.
A strong retention program touches on all aspects of employee engagement, including: recruiting and hiring, on-boarding, development, performance evaluations, pay and benefits, and even termination. Do you have plans for providing these? What about for communicating all that your company has to offer?
Hiring, development and retention programs help with recruiting while improving your reputation
A job is much more than going to an office and completing tasks. It’s a complete package that:
- Is considered in a job decision. Including employee development as part of an offer gives you a competitive hiring advantage.
- Builds loyalty. Knowing an employer is willing to develop their employees makes an employee feel valued and can increase his or her loyalty. Loyal employees are less likely to leave their organization.
- Has a positive effect on your reputation. The word spreads when you have a reputation for offering training and development, which can positively affect your sales in addition to your hiring.
Before accepting a job offer, job seekers consider five things: salary and compensation, career growth opportunities, work-life balance, location and commute and company culture and values. If you want to attract and keep your employees and your clients, your “people” strategy needs to attract, develop and retain high quality employees. Following a well-defined, structured process will help you best match the right people to the right jobs in the short- and long-term.
McLean, Koehler, Sparks & Hammond (MKS&H) is a professional service firm with offices in Hunt Valley and Frederick. MKS&H helps owners and organizational leaders become more successful by putting complex financial data into truly meaningful context. But deeper than dollars and data, our focus is on developing an understanding of you, your culture and your business goals. This approach enables our clients to achieve their greatest potential.