Hire slowly, fire quickly

One of the biggest headaches I hear about when chatting to small business owners is that “I can’t seem to find a team that cares as much as I do!”

“I may as well do it myself!” is a common phrase I hear and there is nothing more frustrating than working longer hours after your team has disappeared for the day.

The problem is that a majority of small business owners cannot recruit correctly.  They have never been trained and are either making it up as they go along or using the recruitment process they used when they were employed, which doesn’t work as an SME owner.

What usually happens, because of bad planning, is that you are looking for somebody: like now, if not yesterday.  This usually means that because you are up against it and need help now (and the fact that you can’t recruit very well), you rush the process because you need a bum on a seat to reduce your hectic workload.

You gather some CVs that, if you’re honest, you don’t know if they’re any good (there’s never a bad one), agree to a handful of interviews that you don’t prepare for and cobble together some lame questions.  You end up making a decision based largely on gut feel.  Basically, you rush it!… due to your workload.

A month or two later and they have started, with very little if any induction and left to their own devices.  You don’t meet with them to review progress due to workload.  Fast forward to the end of the probationary period and they are not delivering.

But you need them to and you are still mega busy, so you extend their probationary period.  It’s perhaps not their fault or you feel you need to give them more time to bed in and get up the learning curve.

Extending a probationary period is never a good sign, you are just delaying the inevitable.

What you have created more often than not is a team member that never will deliver.  The longer you leave it, the more difficult it is to cut your losses.  You don’t want to be back to square one again, costing you money, time and effort you don’t have.

You put up with second best and ignore the red flags because it’s easier.

What you need to do is flip what you are doing.

The average lead-time for a good quality employee from starting the process to bum on seat is six months.  Yes, six months!  You have to start to plan for recruiting that role much earlier than you have done previously.

And once you have done this, follow a more rigorous process.

Ask a HR professional to assist with the interviews.  Get your team involved in the interview process.  Ask questions and observe behaviours to look at value and attitude alignment.

Take time to assess their suitability.  Time that you have because you planned and started early.  Once you have made the correct decision after typically three months, they are going to be on a one or three month notice period.

Now, if they are inducted correctly, you review their performance regularly and you have taken the time to recruit correctly, there is a strong chance that they will deliver results and pass their probationary period with flying colours.

If you follow the above and they are not performing, you see red flags that you know you shouldn’t ignore and/ or there is an unrest in the camp due to value misalignment, cut your losses and make the change.

Don’t delay, the long term impact is far too risky.

The average cost to your business of a bad employee in terms of lost time, reputation, business and team disengagement is typically between 10x and 20x their annual salary.

That is a huge cost and I’d imaging one that you cannot afford.

Hire slowly and fire quickly if you want to build a dream team that delivers for you.

Developing a dream team is one of the essential building blocks to running a successful business. If you are working too many hours or are frustrated about any element of your team, it’s time to take action. Access our tool here to get started: tendo-uk.com/dreamteam

Gary King Tendo Business Mentor Leeds