Monday, March 18, 2013

Hire, Train, Motivate the Best People - 9/101 Marketing Secrets

Industrialist Andrew Carnegie
Andrew Carnegie, probably the wealthiest man in the world at the turn of the 20th century was also famous for saying:

“Take away my people, but leave my factories, and soon grass will grow on the factory floors. Take away my factories, but leave my people, and soon we will have a new and better factory.”

Show me a thriving small business, and I will assure you that there are quality people doing quality work who are enthusiastically signed on to the dream of the owner.  On the other hand, if the employees are not high quality to begin with or don’t care, that is generally even more evident throughout the enterprise.

No matter how well you are doing on other aspects of managing your enterprise, one bad apple can keep you from reaching success.  On the other hand, one change in personnel can make all the difference in increasing every metric.

Review Your People, Positions, Needs

I have seen this time after time in my own businesses and in the businesses I have consulted.  Sometimes the negative influence is the owner.  Sometimes it is a relative of the owner.  Sometimes it is a favorite of the owner.  But even more commonly, it is the neglect of the management to care enough to hire the best.

I recently had client who had an outstanding salesperson in a retail environment.  This salesperson eventually decided to take another position where he believed he would make more money.  While the salesperson was at the shop, he was the top producer.  Over the next 6 months, the owner failed to replace the position, and admittedly had no one else in the business who cared about selling or who was any good at it.

The owner couldn't understand why his sales were dropping even though our efforts on his behalf were successfully generating high rankings and traffic from YouTubes, the website, blogging, and more.  I repeatedly told him that someone was going to have to sell.  He need to hire someone who could sell.  Eventually, he did, and to everyone's great surprise, sales shot up.  The person he hired was a serious professional with experience in the industry.  He had to pay more than he had to the earlier salesperson, but the results were very profitable.

If Hiring a Salesperson Is on Your Mind, You May Want to Read This Post:  Seven Salesman Traits You Should Look For in Hiring

He Would Be King

Years ago, I had a CFO who wanted to be president.  I even told him he could have my job if he showed me what he could do.  Unfortunately he decided to try and usurp my position before it was offered.  He undermined my authority (or tried to) on the shop floor and in customer service.  He told employees that he knew better than me, and that they should follow his direction, not mine, if in conflict.

Fortunately, my staff was very loyal, and the CFO had no idea how quickly reports were hitting my desk of his inappropriate actions.  He was out in a short time.  But I will admit to holding on to other employees who were sub par or bad apples in order to keep from doing the hard work of replacing them.

Hiring is only part of the equation.  After you make a good hiring decision, is there someone in charge of training the individual, not just in specific product knowledge and skill sets, but also in company culture, the mission, and priorities?

Instilling the Company Mission

When I owned my manufacturing business, we did the very best four-color printing in the industry.  Every employee was constantly reminded and appropriately praised for that industry-wide recognition of what they were doing.  It was our mission and priority to do amazing printing.  That needed to be trained in the skill and in the culture.

However, we couldn't allow speed to drop too much or we would not be profitable.  There was a balancing act that needed to take place between quality and production labor cost.  We trained our people to do the closest possible tolerance work and drilled into them the mission of quality.   After the training comes motivation. 

Motivating the Troops will be covered in an upcoming 10 part series.  If you want to be kept informed of what we are posting on in this blog, there are many ways to get the information:
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Are you only hiring the best, especially in this high unemployment time?  Or do you settle?  Are you training your hires? 

I'm writing this in March of 2013.  The recession is starting to lift.  Housing seems promising.  Retail is up a bit.  The stock market is at all time highs or close, even if that might be Fed Stimulus all the way.  Consumers are probably restless to spend again.  So you have a golden opportunity to hire people at very, very low wages who are "capable" of working at very high levels compared to their hourly cost.

The downside is that this group is way, way out of touch with anything related to a work ethic.  If they have been in college, they probably didn't work their way through, as most did 20 years ago.  They had scholarships or parent's money or unemployment insurance.  Those who used to work had 99 weeks to get back to work.  These folks need to be trained in their skills and in the work ethic you require.  Cut your losses early if they just don't seem to care, which many don't at this point.

In another year or two, it is likely that the economy will find its way back to something like normalcy, unless the leaders in Washington continue to find ways to kill it.  If we get back to 6% or lower unemployment, the remaining available workers are going to be like the ones you could find when we were at under 4%.  Not much good and demanding high wages.  Build now for that future time.

We are very happy to provide you with free direction and step-by-step methods for running almost every aspect of your small business.  Please let others know about us by Tweeting or Google+ or Liking us, etc.  If you do need help with your business, give me a call.  310-910-1848.  I answer the phone.

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