Small business promotion with retail speaker Tom Shay
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Hiring the Right Employee

Proven techniques to improve your hiring

An old adage says there are three ways to obtain the best employees. The first is to hire the good ones away from the competition, but that is expensive as you most likely will be able to lure them away only
with money. The second option is to train them to be good employees. This does not take as much money, but it does require plenty of time and effort. It also requires you, or someone working for you who knows the necessary techniques, to produce the results you want and need.

The third is to say the Retailer's Prayer ("O God, I hope this employee works out better than the last one."). While you may look at any or all three of these options, we suggest you first reexamine the initial hiring process. From our years of experience as retailers and working with retailers, we would like to share with you some best practices. The first is to let you know that most retailers are always looking for new employees. Not that you want to fire someone, but always leave the door open for a potential great employee to introduce himself or herself.

When looking for a new employee, many have told us the best "help-wanted" ad begins with a description of what the person is to do in the job, rather than first stating the job title or name of the store. The next key ingredient is having a job description.

It does not have to be long or detailed; some of the best we have seen are no more than a list, numbered in order of importance, one through ten-a brief description of what the employee is to do.

This job description is attached to the application form and is required reading before the applicant can fill out the form. Some retailers even require the applicant to sign the job description before filling out the application. The signature is designed to signify that the applicant understands the job description and is able to fulfill it. The next part of the application process is unique to the most successful. Instead of the owner or manager interviewing the applicant, two of the best employees are assigned the responsibility of individually and collectively conducting the interview.

Experience has shown that by having employees conduct the interview, the candidate is likely to ask more questions and receive answers he or she is more likely to believe. When the owner or manager conducts the interview, he is sometimes likely to overlook potential negative factors of the candidate. This is especially true if the owner or manager is working hours that would traditionally be covered by the new employee.

Another benefit of having the best employees conduct the interviews is that they have shown a strong ability to find candidates who more closely duplicate the skills of the better employees. The employees conducting the interview are also looking to find the new employee whom they will like and want to work with.

Once you have selected the new employee, the next challenge is in making sure he or she fits in and stays with the job. If a person is going to leave a job, he is most likely to do so within the first 90 days. The other downside of this statistic is knowing your business will spend 40 to 60 percent of a year's wages before you have developed a productive employee. Many successful retailers assign a coach to the new employee. It is the responsibility of the coach to mentor, answer questions, and develop a friendship with the new employee.

The benefit for the coach is receiving a reward from the employer when the new employee has successfully completed a six-month job review. Some of the most popular rewards have been two weekends off with pay, a week off with pay, or a cash bonus of one week's pay. Of course, there are retailers who will say this is an expensive price to pay for a new employee; but after a retailer has gone through three or four employees within a six-month period in an attempt to fill one slot on his team, the coach idea may then appear as quite a deal.

The ideal employee may or may not come walking in your door; but by utilizing the techniques of these successful retailers, you are more likely to recognize that person as well as improve the staff you currently have. With the cost of labor being such a sizeable percentage of the expenses on your income statement, isn't this the advantage you want and need to have?

Tom Shay is a fourth generation small business owner providing proven management and business building ideas through his Profits Plus Seminars, Profits Plus Solutions coaching, books authored, and articles written. Tom can be reached at 727-464-2182 or through his web site:

Profits Plus Solutions, Inc.
PO Box 1577
St. Petersburg, Fl 33731
(727) 464-2182
Fax: (727) 898-3179