When A Business Doesn’t Have the Right People

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Many business owners and managers say that it’s difficult to hire the right people. They want to hire people who perform well, take initiative, have common sense, and work well with others in the business. It’s frustrating for them when the people that they hire turn out to not meet their expectations. Businesses often think that if they can just find the right person to hire, things will work well.

While it is important to find a candidate who is a good fit for everything that the job entails and for the company culture, this is often not the real issue that needs addressing. Often when  someone finds it difficult to find the “right people,” they are actually looking to hire someone who will do what they expect, they way that they expect it, by the time that they expect it, automatically and without clear instructions. Often, there is also the expectation that the new hire will do tasks correctly every time after being told or shown what to do one or two times. There is a mismatch of expectations, and for these expectations, finding the “right person” is likely to be an impossible search because workers can not read the minds of their superiors. These businesses are often looking for someone who is a duplicate or clone of themselves who think like they do and perform tasks like they do.

Many times, what is missing are:
1) Sufficient training of the worker.
2) Documented procedures for the tasks that the worker is to perform.
3) Effective supervision or management of the workers.
4) Working with people the way that they are.

If a candidate is qualified for a position and is a fit for the culture, then what is needed is to accept that the worker is the way that he or she currently is. This means working with people the way that they are and not they way that we wish they were or think that they should be. Now steps can be taken to take they the way that they are and work with them to become one who performs the way that the business needs or wants. 

People will often do things if they see that it benefits themselves and their team instead of doing tasks because they were told to, like a robot. They want to know that they provide value to the organization and that their work means something. By providing a clear understanding of their role in the business and how their work benefits the business gives them some understanding and a feeling that they matter. They can start to see how their job affects the jobs of the others inside the company because some jobs depend on them to get their work done. An organizational chart and a diagram that shows the workflow between jobs can help illustrate this. Many job descriptions have duties and responsibilities. They may have tasks that need to be performed. They are often vague about what the worker actually has to deliver in reality. Writing out clear expectations in the form of the quantity or quality of specific tasks and results help both the worker and the supervisor know what needs to be done. It removed the ambiguity and the worker can measure how he or she is performing at the job without waiting for a performance review to find out. It also helps the supervisor measure performance when many of the tasks and results of the job can be measured.

Having documented procedures for tasks helps workers perform tasks consistently. It provides standardization, predictability, and helps with quality control. If a business doesn’t have documented procedures, having the person being trained to document as they are shown the task can be useful.

For a worker to be trained sufficiently, the worker needs to do the task over and over until there is competence. This is unlikely to happen after being shown the task once or twice unless the worker has done it before. For the worker to practice the task effectively, there needs to be supervision to review that the task was done correctly and feedback provided. Without the feedback, the worker doesn’t know if the task was done correctly or may assume that it was since no corrective action was taken. When tasks aren’t done correctly, use the documented procedures to help the worker know what step was skipped or if the procedures need to be improved.

In the end, what many businesses need is to improve how they train and manage their workers in order to help them perform at the level that the business wants. By working with the people the way that they are, managers can create win-win situations because the business, the manager, and the worker all benefit.

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