IT’S great to know the secrets of so-called ‘success stories’ and their habits, but it’s just as important to learn from failure.
One of the key traits of successful businesspeople is that they are willing to learn from other people’s experiences - good and bad. The old saying that you can’t put a square peg in a round hole absolutely applies to the world of business and the selection of personnel.
Most of us have experienced the rude check-out operator or the forgetful waitress in our daily lives and we know how frustrating that can be as a customer, so here’s a phrase to lock into your memory bank - hire for enthusiasm, train for skills.
Obviously it helps if the person already has the skills set for the job - and in some industries and trades there may have to be technical pre-requisites - but the point is that you are looking for someone whose philosophy, traits and values closely match those articulated in your mission statement.
One of the issues for many busy small business owners is that they have not clearly identified their own values and have probably not taken the time, or don’t know how, to write down their purpose, vision and mission statement for the business.
It is also crucial to clearly define not only the role and responsibilities of the position, but to also define the traits, personality and attitudes of the ideal employee.
The difference between hiring the right people and the wrong ones may mean the difference between success and failure.
To ensure you select the right people:
• clearly define the role and responsibilities with a job description;
• review your mission statement and identify the traits, attitudes and philosophy needed;
• set your intention to find the right person to join your team;
• don’t settle for someone you know is not quite right - wait and if needed, re-advertise; and
• reward the right person properly - underpayment makes people feel unappreciated.
However it’s not all just about the salary and the perks; people want to enjoy the experience of going into work, so things like a creative work environment, the opportunity to grow, flexible working hours, a good boss, and a good team of people make a huge difference.
If an employee is not working out the business owner should ask him/herself whether they have been properly trained, or if they have the resources they need to do the job properly?
And when you do stumble across someone you know is an absolute gem, hang onto them. Find them something to do to keep them in the company, until you can create the right position for them (subject to your financial constraints, of course).
It’s also important to keep the lines of communication open.
It should never come as a total shock to a staff member that their employer, from time to time, is not happy with their work standards.
A lot of bosses think feedback stops when the probation period ends, but it’s not true. We all appreciate a pat on the back for our efforts - it makes us feel wanted.
It’s just as important, however to invest time in training people and showing them how to improve.
Don’t micro-manage, just make sure staff perceive you as a leader who cares about them when you put time into developing them.
Tony Inman is an entrepreneur, presenter and author. His company, Club Red, works with business owners to improved their effectiveness. He has mentored at Curtin University's Centre for Entrepreneurship. Call Tony on (08) 9328 2203 | www.clubred.com.aux