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Employment Matchmaking

by Patricia Guerzo 

So you’ve finally decided to take the plunge, and add a new person to your team.  This is an area where how you go about it – process – makes a big difference in finding and retaining the right person.

In a small business, recruiting is one activity that happens so infrequently that it’s unlikely the owner will be good at it.  Plus, the multitude of steps required to find, screen, interview, and orient them can be overwhelming.

If you choose to do it yourself, here are some steps that will save time, weed out poor fits, and increase the likelihood that your chosen candidate will be a long-term contributor to your business.

Know what you want.  This is obvious, right?  Not really.  Most times, an owner will think of every trait they want, creating a superhuman expectation that cannot be fulfilled.  Write down what you want, and see if you know anyone with all those skills.  Separate the must-haves from the nice-to-haves.

Create an ad to match those must-have needs.  You will get the highest number of qualified applicants if you “bait your hook” with the right bait.  Your bait is the words in the ad.

If the person will be expected to take orders or support others, you may not want someone who responds to “self-motivated” or “self-starter.”  Try using “team player” and “diplomatic” instead.

If you need a business development “hunter,” skip the references to a team environment.  Your ideal candidate will identify with “highly driven,” “excellent opportunity,” and “growing company looking for new markets.”

Match the recruiting process with the job.  Do you want someone to make cold calls?  Then have them respond by calling you.  If you want someone to follow instructions, create a process that requires them to follow instructions.  This is a sure-fire way to weed out people who don’t have the personality for the job, even before they interview.

Prepare interview questions in advance.  The stakes are too high to rely on a resume’ or to use a gut feel to make a decision.  People can hire professional resume’ writers, and unfortunately, desperate people might be less than truthful.

Questions should produce a SOAR response:  Situation, Obstacles, Actions, Results.  Keep this acronym in mind during the interview, and prompt the candidate for missing pieces.

Have an orientation plan.  After you find the right person, make them successful.  Too often, owners believe that “the right person” will know what to do.  Give your new employee the best chance to succeed, by painting a picture of what they need to learn and do within their probationary period.

If you have other employees, make sure they know how to support the new hire.  Set the expectation that they will help them succeed, and find unique ways each person can contribute.  Is there a role for a mentor, resource for questions, or even a schedule to take the new person to lunch?  These things can keep internal dynamics on track.

Remember, increased staff is necessary to grow.  By focusing on the hiring process, you will find and then create your winning team.

To use this article in your newsletter or blog- you must include the following: Patricia Guerzo, President of GBSC, is an accomplished business executive with a proven record of enhancing bottom line results.  http://guerzo.com

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Workplace Humor: Are We Having Fun Yet?

By Allen Klein, MA, CSP (aka Mr. Jollytologist®)

“If you want creative workers, give them enough time to play.”

– John Cleese

Work places are not necessarily fun places. Yet research has found that people who have fun at work are apt to be more productive and have a lower rate of absenteeism.

How to add some fun to a not-so-funny workplace is, of course, a challenge. A recent issue of Inc. magazine, however, gave some clues of how to do just that. Some of their suggestions and examples are below.

  • First, identify people at your organization who share some common traits such as having attended the same college, bike to work, or perhaps have the same first and last names that begin with the same letter. Then, bring one group together at a time and see if they can determine the common denominator.
  • Doing spring cleaning in your office? Make that fun too by offering prizes for the oldest or strangest or funniest items to emerge from the clutter. The most fossilized food gets a special prize.
  • Post a cartoon, without it’s caption, or photograph over the copier each day. Have employees add a funny caption on a piece of paper underneath the photo or cartoon.
  • For a great social lubricant at meetings, or a way of getting to know new employees, ask everyone to write down two facts about themselves that are true and one that isn’t. Then have people try and guess which is the fib.
  • Hold a food fest. Have something like a cookie contest or barbecue rib-off. Ask employees to bring their favorites in those categories and have judges or customers select the best.
  • One company, P. J. Salvage in Irvine, California, lightens up their staff’s workload by providing tea and scones every afternoon at three.
  • Another company, Sub Pop Records in Seattle, Washington, once hired a pet psychic for a day. Employees brought in their furry friends for an analysis session.

As the Inc. magazine article shows, there are lots of ways to add more fun to dull workdays. But you’ve got to plan them. Sometimes fun takes a little bit of work.

Allen Klein is a professional speaker and author of The Healing Power of Humor. He can be reached at humor@allenklein.com

Employee Issues Resolved

Have you ever thought one thing was your problem, only to find out it was something different?

In business, it is especially painful to solve a symptom instead of the root cause. The money spent is essentially wasted on a band-aid. Instead you should focus on preventative care or surgery that cures the root of the problem.

At Guerzo Business Solutions Center, we have heard employees described alternately as, “The problem that keeps on giving;” and “We are just like a family with the infighting and favoritism.”  Does this sound familiar?

In a small business, any dynamic can become an issue due to a lack of written procedures on the jobs, policies, and company. The problems that result look like unmotivated employees, finger-pointing errors, ducking and covering, turnover, and a lack of profitable growth.   Because the owner created the whole dynamic, he often does not have the perspective to change it.

This is where Guerzo Business Solutions Center can be your employee relations team.  With a MBA concentration in Organizational Design, and an Internal Auditor Certification, Patti Guerzo is well positioned to see the root cause and fix it the first time.

Here is a situation Guerzo Business Solutions Center (GBSC) addressed in 2010.

A 2-location medical spa was experiencing employee non-compliance to policies and disrespect toward management.  The negative environment was evident to clients, and was also causing staff turnover.

Our field process began with a DISC Assessment of each employee to understand their underlying personalities, and a confidential interview with each.  This led to a report of findings, which identified previously unknown issues.  After agreeing on each point, we prioritized the list, and GBSC created a project timeline.  Patti coached the owner and management to understand the rules and policies that created the friction.

The specific fixes and outcomes for this client:

  • Job descriptions for all, included in the employee manual
  • Revised policies, compliant with all rules
  • Employee handbook rewritten to increase motivation and commitment
  • Retool employee goal tracking system
  • New Team incentive geared off company sales
  • Assessment of how the business can increase profitability
  • Two problem employees quit
  • One problem employee was terminated
  • Better morale and increased trust from remaining staff

The owner now has the confidence to make future changes without jeopardizing the progress he has already made.

What are the employee concerns in your company? Do you know? Imagine how your company would benefit from having a field assessment. How would your company morale, employee and client satisfaction grow through clear employee handbooks, tailored HR training and other proven techniques?

To use this article in your newsletter or blog- you must include the following: Patricia Guerzo, President of GBSC, is an accomplished business executive with a proven record of enhancing bottom line results.  http://guerzo.com/contact_us.asp

Growing Your Sales

As an advisor to entrepreneurs, I help businesses grow, and create the company envisioned by the owners.  This involves changing some aspect of the business, and working with employees to smoothly incorporate the new activities.  Unlike executives in big businesses, entrepreneurs do not have a team of department heads to deliver progress in all areas, and I help out by assembling teams as needed, and pitching in myself.

The most common problem I am seeing is unacceptable sales volumes.  The good news here is that social media tools can reach new potential customers more effectively than before.  The bad news is that these tools must be learned, or outsourced.   While social media was initially thought of as free, the time commitment has proven it to be anything but.

If your business needs more sales, then I have a few other ideas for you.  Social media may help you carry them out.

Do you need sales quickly?  If time is of the essence, go to your current customers. And if you are going to offer 25% off to new customers, why not offer a discount to your loyal customers too?  They already know you, and like you.

Do you have a product or service with specialty customers?  If your customers share a trait – location, ethnicity, hobby, then you can market to those people like them in other areas.  Did you know Facebook ads can be taken out without a fan page?  You can send the clicks to your website.

Note:  If you do not have e-commerce or phone support, then you have a few things to do before undertaking this step.  You do not want a new customer to have a bad experience due to your hasty actions!

The key to success is to develop a business plan to accomplish the new initiative, and to then “work the plan.”  Too often the Achilles Heel for a business is not vision, but persistence or follow through.  With all the “moving parts” of a business constantly needing attention, these weaknesses are to be expected.  The most successful entrepreneurs know their focus is critical, and they get someone to manage the details.  By accepting that they cannot do everything, they end up doing just that.

Do you know of a business that has it right?  If so, I would love to hear from you/them.  I will be highlighting the fighters and winners as we enter into a better economic time, giving them the credit they deserve.

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