Hire Evidence, Not Hope

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Hire Evidence, Not Hope

By Terry McKenna, Convenience Store Coaches - 06/05/2013

Ninety-five percent of your business success depends on hiring the right people to work for you and represent your company to the buying public -- not products, but people. After all, you and your competitors pretty much sell the same products and services these days, don’t you? People are the differentiator that will cause your business to stand out from the crowd.

But not all new hires are created equal. Only 25 percent of new hires end up becoming high performers, while 50 percent are disappointments and 25 percent are chronic disappointments. One great high-performing employee can do the work of three good-performing employees.

As a matter of fact, high performers are free because they pay for themselves. Bad employees, on the other hand, are very costly in so many ways: sloppy job performance, poor customer service, toxic with coworkers, morale killers and they require an inordinate amount of time and attention (hand-holding) from their supervisor. This is time that the supervisor could be spending on more important issues, like further developing their high performers.

Bad employees frustrate your high performers because your high performers are smart people, and smart people don’t like working with stupid people. Am I wrong? High performers won’t tolerate bad employees; they’ll quit first. If you’ve had a high performer who quit on you because you tolerated non-performers, do you now regret not addressing and rectifying those non-performers?

When Is It Time to Fire?
I’m often asked, “When should you fire an employee?” My response is always the same -- when you first think of it, or when you find yourself complaining to your spouse about the employee.

Here’s the acid test question to ask yourself when you find yourself contemplating firing an employee: Would you, knowing what you now know about this employee, enthusiastically (enthusiastically is the operative word here) rehire that employee? If you’re not enthusiastic, then fire them.

I certainly don’t want to come across as a cold, heartless individual. My point is that small-business operators don’t have the luxury of time and resources to develop a bad hire into a high performer by teaching them the skills they’ll need to succeed. You can, however, hire high performers by zeroing in on proven skills and track record.

. Interview for what you’re looking for: friendly, responsible, initiative, honest, desire to succeed, etc. Interview for and confirm through their past job experiences that they have the skills you desire. Then, hire the best and let them loose to do what they do best – produce results.

What Do High Performers Look For?
Here are the top five things high performers look for in a company:

  1. Co-workers. Am going to enjoy or regret working with my potential co-workers?
  2. A challenging job. Is this job challenging and engaging, or is it going to bore me to death?
  3. Opportunity. Do I have an opportunity to learn new skills and advance in the company, or is this a no skill, dead-end job?
  4. Growth. Will the skills I learn serve me both professionally, as well as personally?
  5. Money. Will I be able to pay my bills and make additional money if I prove myself?

When it comes to employee selection and termination, use this as your mantra: Hire slow, fire fast. And here’s a tip to determine just how bad the job candidate wants the job – let them schedule the job reference phone calls for you. References should be their last three to five supervisors.

Terry McKenna is principal and co-founder of Convenience Store Coaches & Employee Performance Strategies Inc., where he helps convenience retailers achieve greater financial results by optimizing their workforce. McKenna can be reached at (910) 458-5227 or [email protected] He also maintains a blog at www.terrymckenna.typepad.com.

Editor's note: The opinions expressed in this column are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Convenience Store News for the Single Store Owner.