Creating Valuable Employees

Creating Valuable Employees

Good employees are the backbone of every organization.  It’s not just service companies that can say, “Our most valuable assets walk out the door every day at 5:00.”  Whether a company builds widgets or houses, sells cars or cosmetics, or operates hospitals or schools, it is the efforts of the employees – the individuals – who make the difference between success and failure.  One of your most important jobs, therefore, is to hire and develop valuable employees, and that’s a big job!  How can you organize your company’s efforts to hire and develop outstanding employees?

The best way to tackle a big job is to break it down into smaller pieces, so let’s look at the first part first:  getting the best bang for your selection bucks.  It can cost your company the equivalent of a year’s salary to hire a manager or supervisor who doesn’t work out, which is one of the most persuasive reasons I know to spend the time (and money) making the hiring decision in the first place.

Most unsuccessful hires occur because the urgency to fill the empty position resulted in cutting corners during the hiring process.  Let’s assume, therefore, that you have diligently followed each step in the selection process:  interviews, reference checks, personality or work style testing, background or drug checks as necessary, skills testing if required.

What you get from each step of your selection process is information about the applicant – information that helps you make a decision about how well-suited this person is to fill your open position.  And yet, if you use that information only  for the selection decision, then you are leaving money on the table.

Make Your Selection Dollars Do More

No one wants to leave money on the table, especially when we need to be using the company’s resources as efficiently as possible.  The selection process has produced a wealth of information about each applicant and, once the hire decision is made, that information is also a rich source of material that can make a significant contribution to the new manager’s successful performance on the job.

The question of how well a hiring decision turns out depends on two factors:

  • whether the “right” person gets hired (someone who is well-suited to the job in terms of knowledge, skills, attitudes, and experience);
  • whether the person who is hired makes a successful transition into the job through orientation and training.

The information that you gather during the selection process contributes directly to the successful outcome of the first factor – that is, selecting and hiring a person who is well-suited to the job.  Let’s look, though, at how the same information can be used to everyone’s benefit during the orientation and training of the new hire.

Share The Wealth (Of Information)

By the time you make a hiring decision about a manager candidate, you know a great deal about him or her.  For instance, you’ve reviewed the resume, gathered specific information during interviews, confirmed education or other background, and possibly also obtained results of personality or work style testing.  The new manager is hired and perhaps placed in a distant location to begin training, and much of that information simply gets filed.

How much more helpful would it be for the manager’s new supervisor or trainer to know about this person’s special experiences or expertise so that training could be customized to save time (and money)?  Similarly, training needs areas that were identified during the selection process could be targeted from the very beginning of the individual’s tenure.  Finally, information about areas of concern in terms of personal work style could be addressed, with specific improvement goals established, before bad work habits became entrenched.

To get the best return on the money you invest in gathering information during the selection process, extend that same systematic approach to appropriately sharing information after the hire decision is made.

It Won’t Happen Automatically

Just as you need to have a well-defined process for gathering information during the selection process, you will also need to figure out a systematic way to extend the information after the hiring decision is made.  For example, some of the information that has been gathered is sensitive and confidential and should not be shared.  On the other hand, information that ought to be shared must be in a form that is easy to transmit.  Finally, since the purpose of sharing the information is to help the new manager be successful on the job, care must be taken that information sharing contributes to that goal.

Let’s look at some specific things that you can do to get more benefit from the information that you have gathered.

Three Tips For Successful Information Sharing

When you begin to think about what information to share, and how to share it, ask yourself, “Who needs to know, and what do they need to know, to help this new hire be successful on the job?”  Here are three specific tips for sharing information about new hires with their new supervisors:

1.  Identify and label information that is private, sensitive, or confidential, and keep it that way.  Sensitive information, such as health-related test results, for example, don’t belong in an employee’s general file.

2.  Identify information that will help a new hire’s supervisor or manager understand the special skills, expertise, and assets that the new hire brings to the job.  Provide a summary of this information in a form that can be shared with the new hire.

3.  Provide information about the new hire’s training needs to the person who is responsible for his training.  This may not necessarily include specific skills test results; instead, it may be more useful to provide general guidelines about areas of emphasis that are needed.

 Putting It All Together

 As a hiring manager, the more you know about an applicant, the better your hiring decision will be.  It turns out that this applies, as well, to the supervising manager!  Knowing the new hire’s work preferences, strengths, training needs, and special expertise or experience will help expedite his transition to a fully productive asset to your company, and these three tips will help you systematize the sharing of that relevant information.