One of the most frequent questions across this country, when I am talking to small business owners, is, “How do I hire the right person?” Looking for the right person to hire can be the most expensive and damaging process in your business. Your employees are the lifeblood of your organization. They are often customer facing and affect your bottom line in various ways.
What we as business owners should be searching for are “core employees”. A core employee is defined as an employee who has been with you for two or more years. Once someone has been with you for two or more years, you pretty much know what to expect from them, they know what to expect from you, and efficiency increases. The more core employees that you have, the better your organization functions. The trick is to streamline your hiring practices to pinpoint great partners to work with.
It all starts with your job description.
Many businesses don’t create job descriptions or have minimal descriptions and throw in the catch-all statement, “And other duties as assigned.” The problem with this practice is that we never truly define what we are searching for and we likely create legal issues for our businesses. If you don’t actually explain what you want your employee to do, how do you expect them to perform the job? We must list every recurring function of the job. Is it possible to list EVERY function your employee has? No. But if that function becomes a recurring function, we should list it in the description. A great job description will include the essential functions of the position as well as the ergonomic, environmental, and physical needs of the position.
Ergonomically, are you requiring the employee to stand for 6 hours a day? Maybe they need to sit for 6 hours a day? It needs to be in the job description. We can’t assume that the applicant will automatically know what you need from the position and can perform those functions.
We need to list the environmental factors that could affect our employee as well. Will they be working in an environment that could be dusty? Will they be working in an environment where ear protection is needed because of noise? What about working in an extremely quiet environment. Your employee knowing the environmental factors is a big part of having happy well-adjusted partners.
The physical requirements of a job can be tricky. In blue-collar environments, businesses usually do a good job of spelling out the risks. But in our white collar jobs, we forget tasks that could require our employees to have physical requirements. For instance, what if you have a dental clinic and your dental assistant has the responsibility of light patient care. What if your dental patient passes out when the assistant brings in the tools for cleaning? They would need to assist that patient which would require that they lift heavier weight on an infrequent basis. So we should definitely put that in their job description.
A great job description is probably three to four pages long and includes a magical statement at the end of it; “Can you perform the essential function of the job?” By having your employee sign this description, it shows that you were clear about the job responsibilities and that they had an opportunity to share with you any issues they would have. This gives your business added protection legally and helps create more “core employees”. The biggest secret to creating more core employees is to interview employees who are functioning well in your business and create job descriptions that mirror their attributes. We want to hire new employees that have the same aspirations as our successful employees. Their success will leave clues to what we are seeking. For instance, if you have an employee that succeeds in your organization because they prefer to work in an open environment with little supervision, we should look to build that into the description for another employee we are hiring. Take these simple steps and let’s create more core employees and grow the business!
About the author
Oginga Carr is a Certified High-Performance Coach and HR consultant. He works with businesses on how to structure themselves from an HR perspective to create high performing organizations.