A couple of months ago I asked about the biggest challenge or obstacle to success that small business owners have experienced. And whether it was during the pandemic or before, the most frequently expressed obstacle to success was finding and hiring employees.
There are a lot of facets to this issue. Available talent pool, type of job - skilled or unskilled, wages relative to unemployment benefits, and more. Having hired and managed employees in a variety of companies, I understand the frustrations of trying to find just the right person. And further frustrations when you realize that you actually didn't find the right person.
Look at Retention Before Looking at Hiring
Before going into the finding, hiring, and training of new employees, (which I will explore of the next few weeks) I want to address the issue of retention.
There is a management adage that goes like this - employers don't want to spend money to train current employees because they fear they will leave. So do you want to keep an untrained employee dealing with your customers and is your future to success or trust that a trained employee might stay, and actually bring you success if you treat them well?
Pay Incentives Don't Work
One suggested answer to retention is pay. Better pay, bonuses, etc., makes a better employee and provides motivation. Author Daniel Pink has spend a couple of decades debunking that theory. See his TEDTalk for a great summary.
There is the real issue that employees don't care as much as the owner. The problem is that the owner believes that the employee should care just as much because they are getting paid to care. WRONG! No one will ever care about your business nearly as much as you do.
You can't hire and fire employees because of how they care about your business. If you were to ask Gary Vaynerchuk about how to deal with the never ending treadmill of hiring and firing employees, he would be the first to tell you that the problem is not them, it's you.
So what to do?
First and foremost is to evaluate the relationship of the owner and the employee. The employee does work for your but you, as the owner, need to serve the employee. Simply put, what are you doing to provide support to the employee so that they can do the best job possible. The owner is the idea person but can't scale all by themself. Simon Sinek wrote a book titled "Leaders Eat Last". In the military, the idea is that the soldiers need to eat before the officers. The message - serve their needs before yours for best results.
Next, create a work environment where employees feel that they are joining a cause, a movement, not just joining a company. If you are the owner of an HVAC contracting company, your mission, your cause, could be helping others to live in a safe and economic environment rather than just selling air conditioning units.
Over the next couple of weeks, I will be addressing the idea that care for your employees is really your job one. And that if you really want to achieve the success you deserve then you need to serve.
QUESTION: What was your biggest takeaway from this story, or from this post? Share in the comments below!
QUESTION: What was your biggest takeaway from this story, or from this post? Please share your comments!
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