Do You Have The Right Employees In Place in Your Business?

Catherine and I recently met a networking meeting. She’s this edgy millennial with multi-colored hair who happens to run a nonprofit organization. Catherine is going to change the world. I wholeheartedly believe that. As we went around the table sharing our businesses, Catherine mentioned how her new marketing hire wasn’t working out. She’d been doing all the marketing, all the creative work herself and was looking forward to this new hire assuming those tasks. She was ready to relinquish scouring the internet for photos and then editing those photos. Catherine told me that stock photos never worked as-is for her organization. So some tweaking in Photoshop is always necessary. My new friend thought she could finally let go of writing web copy and emails and social media posts. This new hire was going to free her and her business partner up to work on the bigger aspects of their business. Things like funding, expansion, and making and strengthening key connections. 

Except it didn’t work that way. Instead, she found herself having to redo work she had assigned the new hire. Even after thoroughly explaining the project and outlining the expectations, the new hire failed to deliver. The business partners even began to question their ability to communicate clearly. They still don’t understand why their new hire could not or would not deliver the work they clearly asked for. And now they find themselves looking to solve a problem they thought they had already solved.

Business speaker and blogger, Jay Goltz wrote a piece for The New York Times and confirms what every business owner knows. You cannot build a company without the right people. According to Goltz hiring the right people “requires both a great hiring protocol and the stomach to make the changes that become necessary as the company grows.” “Especially when it turns out that people who were ‘right’ at the beginning are no longer ‘right’ in their roles as the company grows,” Goltz writes.

Assess Your Needs

Sometimes you need an employee. Sometimes you need a temporary or contract worker. And then sometimes you need to hire a consultant. The latter was true for one small business.

The Problem They Needed to Solve

It had been months since they posted to their blog. They were out of ideas on how to increase leads and grow their business. Their solution was to recruit a low-level marketing employee who would spend 50 percent of their time writing blog posts and come up with lead generating ideas the rest of the time. They discovered that this wasn’t the best solution to their problem.

Two Possible Solutions

  1. One solution would have been to hire a consultant. Someone who could create and implement a marketing strategy. A consultant could oversee existing personnel or a temporary or contract employee.
  2. Another option would have been to restructure the department and hire a marketing executive who could create a strategy and assign the implementation to an employee, contract worker or even outsource.

Hire Slow, Fire Fast

In 2014, I had the opportunity to interview Arquella Hargrove, an HR expert on my podcast show. You can listen to the interview in full here. In that interview, she said something I never forgot, “hire slow, fire fast.” Meaning take your time and find the right person. The main reason being cost. Hiring someone who isn’t a good fit costs you time and money. Keeping someone who is no longer a right fit for your business can cost you customers, money, morale, and productivity. So the thinking that someone is better than no one isn’t true if you’re having to redo all the work or you’re losing customers in that process.

Train The Right People

Even if your business doesn’t have the budget to hire seasoned and experienced professionals, the rule is to then hire talent. Hire employees who show flexibility and who are teachable and can be trained. Hire passionate people who embody the mission and values of your company. This is why Hargrove suggests a slow hiring process.

If the people who were ‘right’ at the beginning are no longer ‘right’ in their roles, you could consider:

  • Reassigning them to another task or role within the company
  • Offer training or education if there is interest and/or potential for growth
  • Simply letting them go…and remember to do so quickly

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