The first step in this process is to Identify Your Needs. Examine what’s happening in your business right now. Are things starting to slip through the cracks? Are you missing deadlines? Are you reaching the point of being burned out? Any of these situations can be indicators that it’s time to bring someone on board to assist you.
My strategy for adding employees is what I call MYTOP, or multiply yourself through other people. Your first employee should be someone who complements your skill set, allowing you to focus your time and energy on the things you do well and that add the most value to your business. So before you hire anyone, identify and analyze your own strengths and weaknesses.
The second step is to Determine and Convey Exactly What You Want for the position. After you’ve settled on the skills that would be most helpful to you, write a job description that encompasses those skills. Yes, I realize this is challenging because, since the job never existed, you’re not yet sure what the job is going to entail. It doesn’t matter. You still need to map out the responsibilities of the position and document it before you start your search.
To identify the right candidate, it’s important to establish your expectations. This is also important for your new employee. Without articulating your specific expectations, the chances of your new hire failing are great. And that will be frustrating and unpleasant for both of you.
Let me explain. During a question-and-answer session at one of my seminars, an attendee wanted to know why she couldn’t seem to find a good administrative assistant. She told me how several people she’d hired for the position hadn’t worked out, and she was ready to give up. She concluded that there wasn’t anyone out there to fit the job. Then I asked the obvious question: “Do you have a job description that lays out expectations?” The woman responded with a vague “sure,” mumbled, and gave rambling explanations. So I asked again . . . and again. Finally, she admitted that she hadn’t actually written anything down. Voilà! Problem identified. If you don’t know specifically what you expect the new hire to do for your business, then don’t be surprised when it doesn’t work out. Take the time to draft a comprehensive job description before you begin your employee search.
Once you’ve done that, it’s time to move on to the third step, which is Determining the Salary Range. I realize that committing to a salary amount is scary, but it’s also necessary. You also need to come to grips with the fact that sometimes, in order to hire the type and caliber of individual who can help you grow your business, you may have to take a salary cut yourself. In fact, many entrepreneurs find they have to miss a paycheck here and there in order to make sure their employees are paid. Be sure you are ready to make that sacrifice. Don’t forget, your employees are a financial investment in your business. However, if you choose employees wisely, the rewards will come because two people can accomplish far more than can one.
Finally, Hire Smart, Not Fast. Entrepreneurs tend to have large egos, but the smartest people are the ones who are willing to admit they don’t know everything. Those people are the most successful because they hire employees who fill their knowledge gaps. Also, make sure that whoever you hire has a proven track record of success and is at the top of their game.
Now with that being said, avoid hiring the big-company star. To grow your small business, you’ll need someone who knows how to get things done without a big budget and a big staff. The big-company star may look good on paper, but often they don’t know how to get great results with limited resources. They are super at developing big picture strategies, delegating responsibility, and outsourcing tasks, but they don’t know how to dig the hole themselves. Look for someone who has worked in an entrepreneurial environment.
There you have it. My four step process for adding new employees.
This article was originally published by Susan Solovic