How can a business owner ensure they're hiring the right people?
We have a small cleaning company that we started in 2005. Our biggest challenge is with employees. We read many leadership books, have weekly meetings with our leaders, monthly staff meetings to remind them of our policies on phone usage and other topics. We do have some really great people though. But it seems like every time we get a new job someone quits or becomes a poor performer. We use a system to clean every job and we also provide our team members with both tools and a description of the building they are cleaning. Does anyone know what else we can do? We would love to expand. Oh and I also sold my carpet cleaning equipment because nobody wanted the responsibility. Help!!!
Leonard, your actual question is likely “Why people leave or become poor performers?”
To understand that, you need to determine why they take the job with your company. We could write another leadership book on this together, but here’s a very TL;DR version of what’s already been discovered by some other smart guys.
People need a job because of their three basic needs “physiological” (get the means to support oneself and family), “social” (to feel part of a group of fellow human beings), and “self-development” needs (learning new things, having a purpose in life). The relative importance of these needs varies from person to person but in most cases, it all starts with “physical” needs – just to make a living.
As yours is not a high-margin business, you won’t be able to attract and retain staff with higher-than-market wages. In fact, this is good news, because your competitors are having the same problem – but are not reading this. :)
Here’s what you should do next.
Maintain the “market” wages to meet their “physiological” needs – but focus on the next-level needs of your employees.
‘Social’ needs include, above all, respect and recognition. Quick examples: at your regular meetings, give sincere praise to your best performers (at least weekly); never hesitate to shake their hand publicly; perhaps post a photo of the “Employee of the Month (or Week)” and update it regularly on your site.
Sounds touchy-feely? Well, try it, and you will see the difference within 3-4 weeks. Already these small steps will improve your employees’ engagement and lead to better performance and employee retention. I have been doing this “soft stuff” for over a decade, across industries and continents, and it works.
Then you can get to the next level: the purpose – and communicate it to your staff and clients.
The best thing is that it does not cost you an extra cent!
Actually, it will: in a few months, you’ll want to buy back your carpet cleaning equipment…
Wow! Unfortunately, this is becoming way too common for small businesses. There is no silver bullet way to hire employees that are going to stick with you over the long haul.
I would make several suggestions. First, take your time in hiring and have multiple interviews with a potential employee. Even go far as to meet the other half and the kids to see what their life is outside the work environment. That will often tell you if the employee is going to work out. I would also find the average wage for the position and raise it up a bit higher. As of now, this is a worker's market where anyone willing to work is getting hit by your competition with sweet offers to come work for them. Last, don't be afraid to look them up on social media. It will often tell you where the potential employee's head is at. It will also warn you of impending issues you might run into if you decide to hire them.
Owner of Air Duct Cleaning Cincinnati
It's been said many times that every problem in business is a people problem.
You need an expert who is competent and skilled in the entire process. Sadly, everyone claims to be an expert. I can tell you how many HR firms, internal staff, outside firms, recruiters and placement firms I've used over the years. I can tell you that my education was costly and it took me a long time to figure out what nearly everyone does wrong.
People are very dynamic and aren't easy to figure out - especially not by looking at a resume.
It's certainly no surprise that people have so many jobs throughout their careers today. Hiring isn't as simple as looking at a resume and having a traditional interview and then basing your decision on a gut feeling, a strong handshake, GPA, or even industry experience.
Hiring is about objectively creating a crystal clear description of the job and what's required of the job. Once that's done, we look for people who have identical behavioral characteristics of the job requirements. These are the only people we want to interview - and surprise! We're not interviewing on job-related tasks - the right people can be easily trained to do exceptional work.
You should hire them on a contractual basis or freelance model then after 3 months of a working relationship, and after examining their work capabilities, hire them as a permanent employee. You would refer to this period as a probationary period.
I think it could work in your case.
Hire for the work that needs to be done - do not hire to fill a ‘job’ - discern how the work can best be done. What can be automated? What can a person do and how can the work be engaging? Use personality assessments to help hire the right mix of people that will fit the culture.
I recommend getting your management team and employees involved in the hiring process. Instead of just meeting with a candidate and making a decision, have them go through an interview process with a current employee, manager and then you. This can empower your employees and managers to feel like they're contributing to the overall health of the business. It also provides them with an opportunity to have a say in the future of the business. After all, they are the ones who will have to be working with this new candidate each day. If there's disagreement between you, a manager and an employee, don't hire the candidate. As you know a business is as successful as its people, and it's important to treat your employees with even more value than your customers.
Another option is to run trials. For a small cleaning company, it could be easy to offer two to three opportunities for candidates to "audition" on live jobs. This would give your managers and other employees an opportunity to see how a candidate works and further involve them in the hiring process.
I'm not sure if doing this will radically change your business's hiring success, but thinking about how to get all your employees involved in the future of your business could be a good start. It could instill team pride and empower them to build your business with you. These hiring philosophies all come from Danny Meyer, a famed New York restaurateur and founder of Shake Shack. If you want to learn more about how he maintains a level of excellence across all of his restaurants, it's worth a quick Google search.