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Building the Team
Looking for qualified employee applicants
A downside to good economic conditions would surely have to be the lack of availability of employees. Whether you are needing an entry level person, or a candidate to become your store manager, looking at the number of help wanted ads in newspapers and store windows will tell you that you are in for a challenge when people are not looking for jobs.
Here are some suggestions that can be given in regards to finding applicants, as well as suggestions to help you in screening for quality employees. There are also some ideas that will enable you to build a team which will work greatly towards eliminating the turnover in employees.
If you find yourself in the position that you are now looking for employees, referrals from your current employees is the best source of applicants. The next three leading opportunities for obtaining applicants are newspaper ads, recruiting from vo-tech or high schools, and the traditional sign in the window of your store.
The major concern is getting your business past the point of needing to rely on these methods of locating employees, especially when you have received a two week notice that someone is leaving your business. There are four steps that you can take to put yourself in the right direction.
The first is to have a policy of always accepting applications. Second, accept all applications with the thought that you are looking to improve the quality of your overall staff. Every professional sports team that has been successful has made a point of obtaining better employees (players), as compared to simply tolerating the staff they have and hoping that they get better.
Since referrals from your current employees have the best chance of succeeding, implement the third step by asking your employees to always look for a sharp person. They may encounter that person when they are away from your store, or may even find them shopping in your store. The fourth step is to offer a bonus to your employees for any referral that lands a permanent job with your store.
Traditionally, the hardest idea to convince your current staff of, is that of being willing to remove less qualified staff members and replace them with new and more qualified staff. However, if you will offer a bonus program for your employees based upon profitable sales, you will find that they are more interested in better employees because it will make a difference in their paycheck.
You can convince your staff that this idea works best if you have an ongoing training program in your business. A biweekly staff meeting, no longer than one hour, where you provide product knowledge, review of your policies, procedures and your current advertising programs is the best way of keeping your employees informed of your plans. Your staff is willing to assist you in growing your business, but they will need to know what the plan is and to have the feeling that they are a part of the development and implementation of the plan.
In conducting the interviews, you will find that the most desirable person to conduct the interviews of the applicants will be your best employees. If you have at least two of your employees conducting the interview, they will get together to compare their notes to make sure they are in agreement in their selection. They will work together to find the best employee, and they will not oversell the job to the applicant. You will need to practice interviewing with them.
It is important that in conducting the interview, that questions are being asked of the applicant, and that your employees are listening for the response and taking notes. Another useful tool in the interview, and the management of your store, is a written job description.
If you and your employees have taken the time to detail what jobs employees perform each day, and from that create a written job description, you will have a better chance of having each of the applicants understand the position.
The combination of a written job description, and multiple interviews by employees instead of the boss, will tell applicants that this is a company that does things differently.
The last two concerns in this brief text are motivating your employees and pay. These two go hand in hand when you make a point to examine the needs of people. The Maslow theory of human study explains that there are five needs of every human.
The first need is to have enough money for the basics: food, clothing, and shelter. In short, pay competitively. Pay is not a great motivator, but lack of pay can be a tremendous demotivator.
The second need of any person is to belong to something. Is your store a place to work or is it a team with a common goal?
The third need is to have the esteem of other people and the fourth is to have self esteem. What better way to achieve these two needs than to allow them to build esteem by sharing their knowledge with a customer? Again, the example of having a training program comes to the forefront.
The fifth need is to be able to give to others. Perhaps when a person develops to this point, and meeting the five needs must be done in order, you may have the opportunity to have this person become one of your interviewers of new applicants.
When you get to this point, we are expectant that you will be examining the extra time available to you, because it will no longer be the owner and his employees. You will then have an entire staff thinking as owners. And don't forget to take down the help wanted sign in the front window.
This article is copyrighted by Tom Shay and Profits Plus Solutions, who can be reached at: PO Box 1577, St. Petersburg, Fl. 33731. Phone 727-464-2182. It may be printed for an individual to read, but not duplicated or distributed without expressed written consent of the copyright owner.
Profits Plus Solutions, Inc.