How to Hire (1/3): Developing Employee Roles

One of the most important parts of hiring an employee is defining the role that they will perform at your company.   No employer wants to hire a brand new employee only to find that they have an employee who doesn’t perform at the level they wanted.

As a small business owner, you can’t afford to hire a bad employee!

Below are 3 important steps that every employer needs to take before hiring a new employee.

Prepare A Job Description

Hopefully this is a first step that has you saying, “Yeah, duh.”  This means that you’re already ahead of other employers.  My client companies sometimes hire individuals and put them to work without a job description. In fact, one client had 300+ employees–and they failed to provide job descriptions.

As a result, Employees didn’t have a baseline for their work expectations. This effected every part of the business. Many employees didn’t perform required tasks. Others would often complain about having to perform certain tasks because it wasn’t ever communicated that this was part of their job.  During performance evaluations, employees and managers alike had no idea what goals they should set for the next year, so they would write in generic and unproductive goals that stagnated the business.

Having a job description that explains baselines for a job and still leaves ambiguity so that an employee can grow as your company grows is extremely important. Make sure you understand how to write a good job description.

Have Documented Processes

This is a step that most employers large and small overlook when bringing in a new employee. Because a job description only provides some baselines about the nature of work your employee will be performing, it is important to have an organized and clear documented process that will explain to your employee how to achieve each of their tasks.  This can take the form of a checklist, a booklet,  a spreadsheet, or even a neat training video.  These materials will allow your employee to understand and carry out the tasks that you’re outsourcing to them, all within the exact parameters of your preferences.

Explain Expectations And Boundaries

When my clients take the time to sit down and set clear expectations and boundaries with their employees–they change their work culture and increase their retention.  Take the time to sit down and explain verbally to every new employee the standards you expect.  This can include: the time of day you want your employee to show up to work, the standards of work quality you expect, the standards of customer service you expect, the acceptable way to schedule a conference room, and the time of day you expect people to leave.  The more specific and open you are about what you expect, the better your employee will be able to meet those needs.

Don’t forget to also explain the boundaries to your employee as well.  For example, if you hire a secretary who is always going above and beyond–is this something you want or do you want them to only perform certain tasks?  How much “above and beyond” is too much? When an accountant is your staff member, can they reach into the petty cash fund at any time or is there a particular process in place for that task?  These and many other boundaries are important to have in place so that you don’t have a miscommunication that leads to performance problems later on in the working relationship.

Closing Thoughts

In short, most new employees want to please their employer.  Their first month with your company will set the tone for the rest of their time with you.  These critical months will define whether or not they stay with you long-term.  Clearly defining roles  as a first step in the hiring process provides your employees with the knowledge they need to do well and have a satisfying work experience.

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