Streamlining Your Hiring and New Employee Processes
What to Do When a Trusted Employee Lets You Down
The skilled labor shortage is just one of the challenges that contractors and business owners in the construction industry face. Once you find people reliable, trustworthy and qualified enough to hire, keeping those employees for the long-term is a benefit to both the company and your customers, and prevents turnover that can be damaging to both efficiency and productivity. That said, there are times when an employee will let you down, and those can be tricky situations to navigate, both in the moment and later. Knowing how to refine your hiring processes can work to try and prevent it from happening again.
What follows are a few tips from someone who understands the ins and outs of being a building industry business owner—Paul Winans[i], a consultant and facilitator in the remodeling industry who previously ran his own remodeling business for 30 years.
Tighten up Your Hiring Process:
Take some time to review how your company’s hiring process could include more safeguards to ensure the right fit. Do you thoroughly vet employees by asking for, and checking, references? Do you develop open-ended questions based on past challenges your company has experienced? Do you ask candidates to elaborate on or provide additional detail to their answers? Do you allow other employees to be a part of the interview process so that they can meet the candidate, ask questions and give the hiring manager feedback prior to making a decision?
Trust and Verify:
Building trust takes time, as does getting to know the ropes of a new job and company. Develop a process where you slowly give your new employees more responsibility. Check in to ensure that the work being done is satisfactory before providing the next level of responsibility. Only by following a gradual and slow process of following up can you really verify that the employee is gaining your trust by doing good work. Though this approach takes time, it’s a solid way to invest in employees for the long term.
From the beginning, schedule weekly meetings with new employees that have the same set agenda: ask two questions that both your employee and you (regarding the employee’s work) will answer.
- What went well in your last work week?
- What could have gone better this past work week?
Ideally the employee will provide answers with specific examples of wins and challenges from the past week and open a dialogue where you can ask follow up questions. The goal is to understand the employee’s thought process. When you answer the same questions about your employee’s performance in the past week, be sure to also provide examples and allow the employee to respond to what you’ve said.
Wrap up each week’s meeting by setting a goal for the following week on one thing that he or she can improve upon. If you’re able to consistently schedule these meetings for four to eight weeks, it will augment the new hire process, and create an open dialogue that will allow both of you to understand each other better and work together more effectively.
Walk the Four Corners:
Simply check in with employees individually at least every few weeks. (But be careful not to do it too often and micro-manage.) Finding time isn’t easy, but building rapport with employees is important, and even short interactions are valuable ones. By being accessible and showing sincere interest in your employees’ work, you build trust. In being available to your employees, you build better rapport, and employees are more inclined to let you know of issues before they become big problems.
See more from the August 2017 issue of Dealer Digest.