Companies are powered by the people that work for them. No matter what technology, reputation, or unique product you offer, the future of your business comes down to the team you assemble. Whether your company has decided to bring on an entry-level employee or a senior manager, it is imperative to assess the long-term impact of the person, and the specific value they bring to your business.
Hire entry-level superstars
All too often I see companies seeking to fill junior level roles with people that have years of experience in a similar role. The perceived advantage to this practice is that it will reduce training time, and the company can simply slot this person into their system and get back to running their business as quickly as possible. This person will likely do a fine job in their junior role for years to come; completing the status quo with competence. However, you should consider what you could be missing out on if the person who assumes this role is either incapable or unmotivated to grow within your company.
The keys to success in business growth lie in development, opportunity, and innovation. What many companies often fail to see is that junior level positions are the perfect place to scout your future managers and leaders. Don’t think of them as rank and file - think of them as junior leaders that are getting a ground level view of your company. This way, when they have developed the skills and capacity to move into management, they will already know your business and have conceptualized some ideas on how to manage things more efficiently.
Know what you can train
When it comes to hard skills, being open to hiring candidates that have the willingness and ability to learn will greatly widen your candidate pool.
For example, an accounting clerk may not be familiar with your software. However, learning how to use required software applications is something that can be trained quickly and easily. If you find a candidate that gels with your work environment, demonstrates the crucial knowledge required for the job, and has a track record of success, are you going to discount them because you are unwilling to spend a few days training them on how to use Quickbooks?
Simply put, employers are better off in the long run when they hire based on organizational fit and the individual's willingness and ability to learn new skills.
Know what you can’t train
It’s also important to know what you, as a company, are incapable of training. Be aware of where you lack expertise and recognize the need to bring someone on board who can improve areas of weakness.
For example, a day spa that TPD recently worked with wanted to improve floor sales of its skin care products. The existing staff were spa veterans, all of whom had a comprehensive understanding of spa services and knew how to deliver exceptional customer experience. However, the company was lacking expertise in merchandising.
To improve in this area, the company hired a candidate who was an expert in visual merchandising but had no prior spa experience. Though the candidate required some additional training on spa products and processes, the new merchandising expertise they brought to the table enabled the spa to improve floor sales for their skin care products. Ultimately, the company found success in recognizing that it didn’t need help with what it was already good at; it needed help in the space where it was lacking.
Focus on the horizon, not the vacancy
Turnover can be expensive and frustrating. However, it is also an opportunity to maximize your team's effectiveness. Candidates are neither equal nor interchangeable. If you lose a salesperson, don’t simply hire another person to fill an empty seat. Decide what you want the outcome of the role to be long-term. What could the last person have done differently to be more effective? Should you consider tapping into a new market? Utilize a new CRM? Present a different image to your customers? Think about where you want to go and you will see turnover less as a vacancy, and more of an opportunity to develop your business.
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Filed under Creating Your Dream Team 101, Expert Series