Building a Winning Workforce

Hiring the right people to work for your business is one of the most time-consuming and difficult tasks for a business owner. However, making the wrong decisions as far as your workforce is concerned leaves you with the more difficult responsibility of letting employees go, oftentimes causing you to scramble to find people to take their positions.

By changing your approach to the recruitment process, you could save yourself a lot time and energy in the long run.

Laying the foundation

Mel Kleiman, CSP, a leading authority on recruiting, selecting and retaining the best hourly workers, thinks that the main reason why employers are not hiring the right people is because they have not identified who they want on their teams.

Who would you nominate for an employee of the year award? What qualities does that person possess? When you have identified the winning attributes you would award, you have identified the qualities of the employee you are seeking.

Now that you know what you are looking for, the hiring process should become easier, right? It does but you need to keep in mind that your dream employee is not always going to come to you. The truth is that most of these people are already employed so you need to spend some extra time seeking them.

Finding strong candidates

One of the best and most overlooked sources of great employees is sitting in your human resources file. Former employees that were strong workers are important people to keep in contact with.

“Maybe they are somebody we can bring back,” Kleiman told O&P Business News. “Always be aware that when someone calls for a referral for an employee that has left us, we now know that employee is looking for a job.”

Building a winning workforceMost exceptional employees that have left your company on good terms will not call you to ask for their job back but if you have the knowledge that they are seeking employment, give them a call and see if they are interested. Additionally, these people can often refer others to apply with your business.

Local and online job boards are also a great source of applicants.

“If nothing else, you need to be looking at,” Kleiman said. “It is a great source of potential applicants and many of the ads listed there are picked up on other Web sites.”

Kleiman also offers the following advice when shopping for new employees – “Never go to the grocery story hungry. When you are hungry, everything in the world looks good.”

You should be looking for new employees before you need them on your payroll. When employers wait until the need to replace one arises, they are often left to make impulsive decisions and hire someone not based on their value in the company, but out of necessity.

Building your empire

Building a winning workforceMost people you interview are better at it than you are, Kleiman said. The reason? They have had a lot of practice. They know exactly what you want to hear and they know how to sell it to you.

Kleiman reminds employers that everything in the hiring process can be made into a test. From the moment they hand in their application to the completion of their interview, there are a number of free and paid tests that an employer can administer to get a bigger picture of the candidate.

For example, if you instruct applicants to fill out the application completely without leaving blank spaces and without writing, “see resume” and you still receive applications, which have gone directly against your instructions, your applicant has already failed your first test.

“One of two things happened. They cannot follow directions or they will not follow directions,” Kleiman said. “So which one do you want to hire?”

Similarly, for retail sales positions, you can have your applicants observe the sales floor on the busiest day and report back what they saw. From their report, you can get a good idea of what kind of sales associate would be.

There are also a number of assessments including personality profiles and attitude surveys that are available through different agencies. These assessments are an easy way of asking each applicant about issues concerning dependability, attitude, attention to detail, energy level and personal learning style through a 100- to 200-question survey.

Filling the gaps

Once you have established that you have someone you feel confident about, it is best to empower them to do the job. Give them a little room to use their own judgment in reaching the end goal of meeting the customer’s needs.

Recognizing the hard work of your employees is also a key factor in maintaining high quality work. Giving employees positive feedback boosts their morale, which can often have a positive effect on working habits and business.

As for those members of your staff who are not as strong, it is not easy to change habits. Many have tried, few have succeeded. If you have given that employee enough guidance and chances to turn around then it is best to let him or her go. by Jennifer Hoydicz

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