Hire the right people

October 18, 2017 -  By and

Determine a candidate’s strengths and empower employees for success.

Doesn’t every new hire result in a better crew that produces better-than-current results? Well, not really. Our experience has shown that more than half the time, a new hire doesn’t work out. However, we know that by following a hiring process, we can reduce that percentage and have happier employees that produce better results. How does it work? Let’s consider a typical hire in the green industry.

A hiring manager discusses a role with a candidate, explains what experience and skills are needed and then covers other details to make sure the candidate’s experience and skills fit the role. When these points align, the candidate is hired.

The new hire starts out well. He looks impressive by his eagerness to jump right in and take on responsibility. Then, after a few short weeks, while the overall experience is good, you notice some areas where he’s not as experienced as you thought. Fast forward three months and the new hire is not performing to your expectations or the company standards. Disappointment sets in. What you expected isn’t happening, and your fear that you’ve hired the wrong person is coming true. And, if true, you’re going to have to start all over.

So how can you hire better? For starters, follow these three suggestions.

Determine a candidate’s strengths and how they complement yours. During the hiring process, vet your potential new hire’s strengths, weaknesses, leadership ability, social aptitude and fit for the company. Ask predetermined questions to understand if the candidate is relatable to you and can complement your strengths and weaknesses.

For example, if you hired a traditional account manager who’s production oriented and a genius at managing hours, scheduling, crew coordination and training, but she’s introverted and ignores communication with clients, your results will be limited. The only way this scenario would work is if your communication complements the candidate’s weakness.

This example illustrates why there are specialized positions in sports. A football team wouldn’t be successful if it had a quarterback who played as a kicker. That wouldn’t make sense, so why try to force it?

Once hired, clearly explain the role—including written goals with timelines—to the new hire. Have a strong onboarding process for new hires. What does their first day, week, month and year look like? Plan for their success and your expectations based on concrete timelines. Then help them meet their goals. You can use a weekly one-on-one meeting to make sure these expectations are met, even with your help.

Another sports analogy to consider is starting a new pro baseball player the first day of spring training. Do you think athletes show up the first day of work with the coach saying, “See you on the field,” and that’s all there is? No way! You may not be making a million-dollar investment in your company like with a professional athlete, but if you treated a new hire as an investment, you’d plan better.

Only through an onboarding plan can you understand a new hire’s capabilities. This sounds basic, but it’s important you communicate your expectations. Verbally communicating expectations isn’t enough. It’s your job to make sure new hires meet or exceed those expectations. Invest in the time to create written expectations and to train a new employee to meet those expectations. Understand this, and you’re on your way to having a long-term employee.

Empower your new employee to act as an owner. As an owner, you feel the need to solve your company’s problems. We call this the “hero mentality.” You take this approach to speed up results, make clients happy and make more profit. These are good reasons, but by solving all the problems, you’re stifling the growth of your company and employees. The next time you face a problem with a client or employee, don’t just jump in and save the day. It only leads to employes not taking ownership. Make sure your employees solve problems or else they’ll wait until you solve them.

When approached with an issue, ask clarifying questions about the problem so you know the timeline and sense of urgency:

  • “When did we discover this?”
  • “What have we done about it so far?”
  • “Why do you think we have this issue; what caused it?”
  • “Who’s the best person to resolve it?”

Keep going until you know the whole story. Now, you have a better understanding of the issue.

Next, don’t solve the problem for employees. Ask “How do you think we should handle this?” Then stop talking. Let them answer. They might get 80 percent of it right, or they might get 20 percent of it right, but evaluate their thought process.

Now comes empowerment. Pat them on the back for the portion of what they said was correct, even if it’s just 20 percent. Your response provides encouragement and lets them know you appreciate their efforts. Then ask “What else?” If they add nothing else, show them the company expectation for that issue and explain how you’d approach it.

Lastly, thank them for addressing the problem. Transition responsibility to them to solve the problem based on your agreed solution and set a timeline for completion. Remember,
you’re the leader. Coaching and teaching them is your job.

You must align your hires with your strengths and weaknesses. It starts during the interview process, continues through the onboarding process and ultimately will help you and the company for the employee’s career. It starts with you.

Photo: ©istock.com/braverabbit

Comments are currently closed.