WHAT MAKES A GOOD EMPLOYEE?
One of the questions I’m asked the most is how do I find good employees? Fear of getting it wrong is one of the main reasons why small business owners hold back from expanding their company. Over my 25 years in business, I’ve hired hundreds of people. Some were exceptional employees who made a major contribution to the company's success. Others just didn’t work out. Too often they were a great employee; just not on the right job for their particular skills and experience. I eventually came to realise that when an employee left or was terminated, more often than not, I was at the root of the problem! I simply didn’t know how to recruit and keep good employees.
When it came to hiring new staff, the key criteria I used were those set out in the job description and person specification. This was because I was trained by my employers to follow a set recruitment and selection process, designed to be fair to all the candidates and compliant with employment legislation.
Following a fair and consistent is really important. How can you compare the skills and capabilities of applicants if you don’t follow the same process for everybody? But a fair and consistent process alone does not help you to find the right employee for the job.
In an article for Forbes magazine, entrepreneur Alan Hall sets out seven categories that he believes will help us to find the best new employees. He calls these the “7 C’s.” They are:
- Competence: This is of fundamental importance and re-requisite for appointment. Does the potential employee have the necessary skills, experiences and education to successfully complete the tasks you need performed? If it's an apprenticeship or trainee role, can they learn?
- Capability: Is this person able to complete not only the easy tasks, but also the projects that require more effort and thought? Does the candidate have the potential for growth and the ability and willingness to take on more responsibility?
- Compatibility: Will this person get along with colleagues, as well as with existing and potential clients and partners? Is the person willing and able to develop a harmonious working relationship with you? If not, there will almost certainly be problems further down the line.
- Commitment: Is the candidate looking to work with your company for the long term? Or is he or she just passing through? Either looking for something better or with a history of only staying in jobs for a short period of time? The job history will answer this question.
- Character: Does the person’s values align with yours? Are they honest? Do they tell the truth and keep promises? Are they a team player or out for themselves?
- Culture: Every business has its own culture or a way that people behave and interact with each other. Culture is ‘the way we do things around here.’ It’s essential that your employees fit in with the company’s culture. For example, Zappos has a unique self-management system that gets rid of traditional manager roles and job titles called Holacracy. If you don’t agree with this system, as I don’t, you’d quickly find yourself at odds with the company’s culture.
- Compensation: You need to be sure that the successful candidate is satisfied with the package offered. If not, an employee may feel unappreciated and thereby under perform.
If you run a good recruitment process, applicants will give you their answers to each the seven categories. I include the following elements within my own recruitment process:
- I ask applicants to give examples in their application form or covering letter that illustrate they have the skills, experience, qualifications and capability to do the job.
- I use a relevant assessment test such as Strengthsfinder or Kolbe to find out their natural way of doing things.
- I create a practical test, based on tasks that the candidate will routinely undertake. If for example, drafting correspondence is a key requirement of the role, I ask candidates to write a typical piece of correspondence.
- I structure my interview questions so that candidates have to give real life examples of when they’ve dealt with similar situations in their current or previous roles.
- I check the social media profiles of the candidates I’ve shortlisted. If they’re a party animal at weekends, I’d be concerned that they’d be more likely to be absent Mondays or not functioning optimally.
- I expect the references a job candidate to provide a biased report. Who’s going to list referees who will give them a bad reference? Whilst I do take up references, I also ask the candidate for the names of former bosses, peers and subordinates, and then I phone them up.
Watch the Video
On our regular Monday evening Blab, I discussed how to deal with 5 very common, but tricky staffing situations with Emma D'Arcy and Christina Jones
After 25 years in business and having managed teams of up to 150 staff, I've plenty of experience of dealing with potentially tricky or awkward situations under my belt!
In this Blab, you'll discover what to do:
- When one of your team is going through a personal crisis. - About a team member whose absenteeism is getting worse. - With a weak member of the team who thinks they’re good at their job. - If one of your team is good but in the wrong job. - When you’ve got nowhere to promote a star performer.
The link is HERE.
Join the Conversation
Question: My favorite part of doing these Blabs is participating in the conversation they provoke. Have you held back from expanding your business because you're worried about how to find good staff? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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I have 25 years’ experience in business, including 8 years as a CEO. I trained at Cranfield School of Management, the UK’s leading business school. With experience in business planning, financial management, risk management, building strategic partnerships, product development, marketing (including PR) plus leading and developing staff teams of up to 150 people, there’s very little I haven’t had to deal with or experienced.
I now run a boutique business consulting and coaching agency, Best Year Ever. If you’re interested in working with me, you can find out more about my business consultancy and coaching practice HERE.
Will 2016 be the year you look back at as the one that transformed your business and took it to the next level?