Category Archives: Managing Employees

Train? Yes. Teach? Not If You Are a Small Business In Growth!

Train? Yes. Teach? Not if you are a small business in growth!
Know the difference to hire for success.

By Talmar Anderson

When you know it is time for your business to hire, please ensure you are hiring the absolute best person to solve the issue that drives this need.  Do you need more people on phones? Find the best person with a track record for excellent customer service.  Need someone to help organize and coordinate the pieces of your clients’ deliverables?  Hire a project manager that has supervised people and deadlines in the past. DO NOT hire an intern that you can “train” to do it because “it is easy.” you say.

***sigh***

Let’s take this apart shall we.

“It’s easy.”

Consider that it is easy for YOU because you are experienced. Because you are driven to complete these tasks to get to the other needs of YOUR company.  Because you have been doing it for a while. And yes, because you are brilliant. You are a business owner and this requires a certain amount of smarts and initiative.  MOST employees will not possess both from day one. Easy is relative, my friend. And in this example, it is relative to experience. Many people consider skiing easy and you should probably know now…I am a professional bar stool ski-bunny.

“Hire an Intern’

When I hear this, I hear that you want to pay a low amount and do not feel you can pay the correct person for your company the value they deserve for their expertise or skillset. But, and I believe you know this deep in your heart of hearts, this costs your business money!  Interns are TEMPORARY help that are specifically there to LEARN! An intern is not about building, protecting or delivering for your clients and company.

An intern is there to gain experience for themselves.  They need to be consistently supervised, constantly redirected, given teaching moments to understand why or how to complete ALL tasks. If your company is in the space of allowing time to TEACH then you are probably not at a hiring trigger moment.  You are in a place where your company can design a “give back’ initiative program to cultivate future professionals and foster potential employment candidates for the future.  But they will want to be paid an accurate rate when they graduate! 

Oh ya, and now that they know how to do what you want them to do, it is time to start the entire hiring and teaching process all over because their internship ends.

“I can train them”.

This is the last piece to this heartbreaking comment that I hear far too frequently from small business that need to hire for growth.

Yes.  New employees need to be trained.  A new employee needs to learn the nuances of what makes your firm YOUR firm. They need to learn cultural norms like when lunch breaks occur and how an irate client is handled. They need to learn where the coffee is and how to answer the telephones.  Onboarding and training can create an instant bond, ease a fit into a new team and build employee confidence.

Please note, I did not write how to answer A phone. If you are explaining why, what, where and when to someone then you likely are TEACHING them. If your company is in a true need for a hire then teaching is not a benefit to your firm.  Hiring a person that you must teach most or all of the process and systems defeats the purpose of HIRING! New hires are to allow a business to become more efficient and lessen workloads of current staff / self.

Don’t get me wrong, an experienced project manager may not know the project management system your company uses but they MUST understand what a project management system is for and have experience using one successfully somewhere else.

Your marketing coordinator may not have used your exact email automation software but they must have experience in email campaigns and AN email automation system of some kind.

Otherwise your inexpensive new hire is costing their hourly rate AND yours!  That is not growth.  That is not looking out for the best interests of your company.

When the decision to hire finally comes to a head, most business owners go straight to consideration of the budget. I recommend considering first what we need, how that will benefit our company, how will it fit (who supervises) and what is the industry paying for these needs. In small business, bringing on those entry level (and thus lower dollar) hires create more chaos than in large corporations.

Large corporations have human resources departments. They have video tutorials for getting new staff up to speed on systems.  They have onboarding training programs that move employees from department to department and therefore only demands a little bit of a lot of people’s time…as opposed to the small business reality of defaulting responsibilities! (Who has time?  Could you show…..?)

Hiring requires a training period.  I swear by this for creating your dream team. However, to really find the team that will be with you on the path to success, they should bring the education and experience that enhances your company. You have decided to hire because your company has a need. Is that need really to spend time outside of the company’s current demands?

Hire to enhance and build your team. Teach after you have established your firm’s success. Recognize that these are not interchangeable processes.

Now GO! Grow!

If you are looking to set up Hiring Triggers, a new business or join The Influence Circle Mastermind, Talmar It Up would love to work with you! Reach out NOW to TAnderson@TalmarItUp.com.

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Employees Want Flexible..

Employees Want Flexible
But Does Your Business Need Structure?

by Talmar Anderson

When building our teams, I hear from my clients that they want to offer the flexibility of schedule. They want to be competitive, build loyalty or think that employees will only want to join teams that offer work life balance and “support” employees that want to have it all. Please be aware that if you are hiring with a promise that “we will work around your scheduling needs”…well, you will either be closing up shop or have a crazy stressed out and overwhelming life as the owner of this business. Can you identify? Then here’s more to consider.

Do you know anyone that has had an employee that is a great assistant and asked for the flexibility to work around the caseloads for a Master’s Degree?  Each semester they both determine the exact timing of the work schedule that will support the company’s needs and the employee’s class or project load.  Even if that is not inconvenient or less than supportive of the company and business owner, you need to understand their loyalty will eventually shift even though you bent over backwards for them. A graduate with a Master’s in Psychology is unlikely to want to continue on as your right hand man after said achievement. They are building toward advancement in their personal and professional life.  And THAT is OK.  If you want to hire young and ambitious people then it is time to understand that they are each likely to hit a spot where “more” means more than your company.

The key is to consider the impact on you and your business with each change or benefit of flexibility you offer. Don’t bend over to keep an expensive or overly educated or growth oriented employee if your company neither has the need nor honestly the means!  If you need someone consistently available for calls because high touch availability is one of your core offerings, the business owner “filling in” should not even be on the table.  You hired for a reason and knew that your business was better served by having call availability staffed regularly.

Decide what your business needs before you give up the farm.  Seriously…No one is going look after your company like you should.  And while employees are the piece that will bring you success…not everyone is going to be the right employee for what your business needs right now.

There is definitely more than one person that can do the job.  They will all do it a little differently but there is someone else that can get it done within a set time fame, with specific results while ensuring that quality is on target.  Certain business models will not be able to achieve this consistently if you are letting your staff work when they want and how they want.

You do not need to keep them at all costs.  In fact, here is some news for some of you.  The employees you hire now are VERY unlikely to all be on staff 5 years from now! If they are able to meet your company’s needs for 2-5 years…That is great and successful. That is business and professional growth.  And that is what you want!

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Training New Hires Got You Down?

Training New Hires Got You Stressed?
Do this to smash your stress!

By Talmar Anderson

For entrepreneurs that have had bad experiences hiring, the training is the “thing” they point to as the worst part. Have you ever been disappointed? That seemingly smart and motivated person now seems unfocused. That new hire that sold themselves as a self-starter is jamming up your email inbox with questions. That outgoing people loving candidate keeps coming back to your office and seemingly hiding while interrupting YOUR work flow after every new customer call to discuss deliverable options. Have you had any of these experiences? I have even heard some clients complain they weren’t sure it was worth the growth and scaling of their business! YIKES! Other people can and will help you build your business. Success does not have to be created only by you. If you have ever thought “it would be awesome if I never had to do this again”, I have 3 steps you can do to make hiring and training for the growth of your business MUCH, MUCH easier!

First a truth, training is hard ….if you make it that way! Training can go like clockwork. Planning and process plus a commitment to make your time accessible can give everyone a real chance for success. Let’s look at …

3 New Employee Training Stress Smashers

  • Make time to document and create your procedure manual
    • By creating the written procedures you are giving the employee a place to find success and possibly create clarity and answers for themselves (READ:  fewer interruptions to your workflow!)
  • Hire correctly
    • No rushing. No “good enough”. No skipping references!! Of course you will start with your job description first – your defined requirements…right? (If not, READ THIS!)
  • Make time to manage.  
    • You have to plan to be available for the new employee on a regular basis. Give them ways to communicate their questions and consistent calendared time on your schedule.

Successful employees will have questions at different stages of their new employment.  An employee cannot actually think of every question in the 2 hour training period you schedule on the first day.  The human brain needs time to absorb.

As the job is absorbed and considered over the next few days, weeks, and months, the new employee will start applying their own past experiences which creates the possibility of understanding AND the need for more question time.  They will want further clarification or instruction to ensure this new found understanding is correct and that you are satisfied.  The new employee is very aware that your satisfaction is required to stay employed.  Don’t be so upset that an employee wants to do it the right way…your way!

I can hear you now, “I don’t have time right now…maybe next spring.” Waiting for the slow time to hire because you will have more time is not the right way to think about your hiring process and documentation.  Put in the extra hours now because this is one investment of YOUR time that will always pay off. I promise. Even if you cannot get the full procedure manual done during a real crunch time, you can have your new employee help you fill it in as part of their role!

Please understand that it is 100% unrealistic to assume that a person will walk into a position that neither has a job description of their roles and responsibilities nor a procedure manual on HOW you want your business to perform to create any real satisfaction for you. You will not be able to give them all the details they need, all the locations of answers, or all the possible actionable steps in a quick 15 minute meeting every morning. As brilliant as you are, YOU will not remember to tell them every detail. Then they will disappoint you. Then you both will start to formulate judgements and the snow ball starts rolling!

You might as well start placing another employment ad. A good employee will want a company to offer more structure and stability so they will keep interviewing. A bad employee will stay as long as they can handle your mounting frustration because you will start to pull the work back onto your plate…while they get paid. Ouch….

If you need to hire for your company’s growth, start preparing now.

Now GO! Grow!

P.S. If you are trying to know when you should hire for your company, you could check out my blog post on that topic HERE!

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Intent over Impact? Communication GOLD!

Intent over Impact? Communication GOLD!
By Talmar Anderson

If you communicate with others (and who among us does not?) then this article is meant as a gentle reminder. Have you ever heard the saying “Don’t take things so personally!”?  I have been gifted with an ability that I want you to consider practicing.  Listen and apply positive intentions behind the meaning of those communicating with you. I assign an intention that is without malice (or even allow for miscommunication possibilities) before I allow it to impact me as offensive.  This is a critical skill that business owners who find themselves in a role of working with clients, employees and vendors MUST master.  The idea is to allow that every person speaking to you has the INTENT of articulating a message that has no malicious impact. So often, offending impact is completely missed by the speaker creating that impact.   I am speaking to the impression that is left at the end of every sentence.

First, consider this from the speaker perspective. Consider that everyone, and I mean EV ER Y ONE listening to you applies intention behind your words.  That intent is often set from the listener’s personal experience.   So when a speaker says “green” one listener will think forest green because that is the color of their car.  A different listener will think lime green because it is their wife’s favorite color and she has a handbag that she carries everywhere in that color.  To complicate things further, the speaker meant money green…because the speaker deals with cash all day.  The same is true of every sentence, paragraph, or even sigh that is addressed to another person.  For successful communication please assume as little as possible about your listeners.  Do not assume that they knew you were kidding.  Do not assume that the person you are speaking with has the same education, religion, geographic, political or professional experiences.

Now, consider the listener side of the equation. In both my personal and professional life, I have repeatedly asked those confiding in me of some offense to take a moment and step back to ask if they believe the “offender” (the one making a statement that has brought the “offended” to my chair) INTENDED to offend with the statement.  I ask, “Do you honestly believe that the speaker wanted to hurt your feelings?”  Was that the intent of the statement? Truthfully, on a small occasion, that might have been the intent.  More often, the listener applied a personal experience or interpretation to the statement.   So I ask the listener to step back and consider that clarification may be needed but to agree that the intent was not to offend.  The speaker and listener will need to clarify. This is management GOLD for working with growing staff with differing personalities or roles.

I am certainly not suggesting that you move to a Pollyanna communication where malice or offense is never a possibility. I am all about risk management and am well aware that malice exists. I am simply suggesting that if you START from the positive side and allow for the possibilities to be whittled down you often will find the true intention of the speaker is misaligned with the offensive impact you have personally attributed to the conversation. This allows for ease of clarification and team building.  It facilitates negotiations and agreements. It is a HUGE tool in an entrepreneur’s tool shed.

There is a side benefit to adopting this practice.  On the few occasions when the speaker did INTEND to offend…by not taking offense, it can really burn their britches when you are NOT impacted! Seriously, who has the time or energy to get worked up over someone intending to be hurtful or offensive?  If you do not take offense, that intent of ruining your day goes out the window.  No impact.

The next time your staff talks about your long project hours, the next time your business partner  “looks funny” at you, the next time your spouse doesn’t hear the details to an event please, please do not assume their intent.  Ask them.  You know what happens when you ass u me….don’t make me say it!

Need more Talmar? Join her on BLAB  (SUBSCRIBE HERE @BizSideofBiz) LIVE every Tuesday at 1:00pm EST

Do your Employment Ads Attract CANTidates?

Do your Employment Ads attract CANTidates?
Why those ads are not helping you build the dream team.

By Talmar Anderson

Please stop.  Just stop!  Do you have any idea how much work you are creating for yourself by cutting and pasting that employment ad from some random internet site?  You say you don’t have time to do it properly. You just need someone in the position…yesterday and the ad needs to start running now!  I get it.  Truly I do. However, this is when you get to decide to be a business owner instead of a reactive employer running straight into the self sabotage reoccurring hiring loop!

Employment ads are the opportunity to attract the people you WANT to work with every day!  Is that part of your business owner dream? Only working with the people you want?  No more “it’s not MY job” types.  No more supervisors that take credit for your brilliant ideas.  No more of the “I can’t help with that project. I have to cut my toenails at my desk while waiting for the clock to tell me I can go home’.

While I understand that taking the time to develop a hiring process seems counterintuitive during the demand driven need of hiring, consider this thought. This is you taking the time for the big breath before you dive in to the water.  Making sure that you take the time to look at where you are jumping into the pool, ensuring your suit is tied securely and making sure you have taken a life-saving deep breathe to hold are all preparations for what you are about to do.  Why can’t we invest the time and energy so easily now?

The hiring process does not need to be so overwhelming however it does require your attention NOW before anything else is done. Let’s be specific to you and your business to set up the hiring process for true success. Start by deciding and defining why, what and who.

  • Why are you hiring? This is the goal.  Are you trying to free up time on your calendar? Improve productivity for clients? Take on more work?  When you set out a specific goal for this position, not only will you know how to hire correctly you will also know when an employee is successful…or not. This is you stepping into the management role that is required with each new hire! But back to the employment ad…
  • What tasks and responsibilities will this position need to fulfill to meet this goal? (See any similarities here to a job description?) List it out. This should not be a wish list but a thoughtful consideration of what will need to be done on a regular and consistent basis to achieve the goal. This is about meeting your business needs now and less about future aspirations for the candidate within your firm.
  • Who will have success completing this role? Consider experiences and skills that are required to complete the tasks and meet the business goal.  This part should also consider the kind of person that will fit in your culture.  If the position needs conflict with culture needs…the position needs win!  Your business needs different skill sets and different experiences to have true growth and success.

Defining these items and including them in your employment advertisement will help you to attract an employee that wants to work in this position within your company as much as you want them to come and get it done! Are you ready to dive in? Take the time to consider what YOUR business needs!

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No. They will NOT do it exactly like you will…but they may do it better!

No.  They will not do it exactly like you will…but they may do it better!
By Talmar Anderson

Deciding to hire and grow is a new and cumbersome chapter for any business owner.   There is a lot of hard work that goes in to creating the documentation and processes to support someone else doing ANYTHING you used to do yourself. Creating a hiring, interviewing and on-boarding process is not for the faint of heart.  Today I want to make one simple point that some of you may not really believe.  You KNOW that I love processes and systems.  However, the real key to great team work is letting them bring something to the table…Maybe just a little salt to cut your already sweet workflow.

Once an employee is trained, given the correct tools and understands the culture and clients you have driven for so long, there is a secret to making it work. Assign new projects by results wanted and a deadline. That is right. You NO LONGER get to tell them how high to cross the “t”.

This is a major part of that turning point for real growth.  If you are planning on / dreaming of/ envisioning more profits, more clients more products and services, then more of your time is needed.  The only way to give you more time is to take something that is currently filling up your schedule and give it to someone else.

If anyone else can be doing it, then you should not.  The business owner ideally should be doing only what no one else can do. And trust me; someone else can do truly most, if not all, of it. We are all replaceable, right?

Someone else CAN actually do what you do…they just might do it differently.  And this is the problem that gets us stuck in that micro-manager role. Differently may be of severe consequence (calling a client unreasonable) but if your hiring process vetted the employees experience and your – has included training this is HIGHLY unlikely to occur. Some would say, unreasonable, to expect.

Let’s consider what could be exciting about this delegation concept.  Likely, your strong hire will do it differently than you would and it will be….better! If you can allow your mind to consider that your way is NOT the only way.  And that someone may have a better way! Now your company can grow and at a much quicker pace.

If you are fortunate enough to have a “get it done” kind of employee, I encourage you to give them as little detail on new projects as possible. Give them enough direction to ensure your company’s quality or uniqueness but just tell them what result is ideal and when you want it in your hand.  If you can care less about how they get projects and task done you will be free to hand it off and really turn your attention to other items.  Isn’t that the point here?

Do ensure that you give employees opportunities for clarification or modification. However, build a culture of expectation that the employee should make decisions and create results through their own devices.  This ownership will create a loyalty and a confidence that will allow them to succeed at these projects as well as those in the future.

Consider these 2 truths to successful business

  • You cannot succeed trying to do it all yourself.  
  • Your way is NOT the only way.

The faster you embrace these ideas and put actions into play that support these truths the faster you will get to consider which project YOU want to put into your own calendar.

Take Vacations with your “Family” but Hire for the Job!

Lessons on hiring to fill your culture NOT your best friend role.
By Talmar Anderson

I am in the business of helping people build businesses that will be successful.  I help them create strong operational foundations so they can go out and grow towards their dream company. A lot of that is dealing with the organizational structure and team building.  More often than not, the business owners dream includes the dream of working with people “I like”.  That dream of being a “family” working towards a common goal. I am here to challenge that thought today.  Really? How many of YOUR family members would you put in charge of payroll?  Would each of YOUR best friends make a stellar customer service point person?  I am fortunate in that I have a full life with wonderful friends and the best family BUT I am not sure how many I would hire to build a successful company.

Wanting to trust people that we like is natural but during the hiring process, even our family members should be able to prove their skills and experiences.  I was reminded of this when reading Grant Cardone’s article on Entrepreneur.com about mistakes the wealthy have learned to avoid. Trust but verify leads to success in business too!

When building your teams, before even considering personalities, it is important to first hire for what the job requires. Skills and capabilities that match the business’ needs right now must be the first thing you check off as a requirement met.

While in this candidate evaluation process, do not let YOUget in the way. Here are a few of lessons that you can learn right now regardless of the size of your company or its stage of growth.

  • Quick hires don’t usually work because convenience is NOT a requirement for any job description.  Someone down the hall is a nice person to have a coffee with but is NOT your next bookkeeper.
  • The lack of time that you spend interviewing is NOT a time saver.  You will have to redo the whole process when you find out the new employee on whom you never did the reference checks ACTUALLY can NOT create coherent content for your newsletter and never had for the past employers.
  • Paying the lowest possible hourly wage is NOT saving you money. You constantly have to start the process over when employees leave for a better paying job. Or worse, they do a terrible job because they resent the pay and don’t believe you value their contribution.

Lastly, to today’s topic

  • Working with a person you really like but whose work you must micromanage or even repair is NOT helping you or your company. This is the most expensive hiring mistake because it will take you longer to come to the decision of letting go of this employee (thus dragging out the suffering of your business) but could cost you their friendship even if handled in the most diplomatic way.

Once we have identified the candidates that match the job workflow requirements, we can look at our hiring candidates with an eye to the culture you want in your company.  This is where we get to find “like-minded” employees.  Using your core values and the positions requirements, you screen out the skill and capabilities qualified candidates that may not be the best match for you and the company.  This is also where understanding personalities and personal motivations will help you hire the right person for the right job.

If after that you still have 2 -3 candidates AND you believe all of them will fill the position and work with the current team equally well, you can NOW hire the one you “like”.

I will add this one thought. The strongest families are the ones that have worked hard to compromise and support each other through the good and bad times. There is an understanding of each person’s strengths and weaknesses. After some time together, strong hires will work as a team.  Your team will go through exciting successes and struggle through unexpected challenges. Then as a “family” you will sit back, have a celebratory meal and recall the time that Mike accidentally told a client you could make a widget in less than 24 hours…..