Finding Great Employees

I once read most employees work just hard enough to stay above the level of getting fired.  When I first read that I thought it was both funny and true.  I have talked to many entrepreneurs, business owners, and even managers since then and we all agree the statement is true.  Why? 

Why Do People Hold Back on Working?
When I first started pondering this thought I asked myself two things:
1. Are most people just inherently lazy? 
2. What makes a person come to work and ask themselves, “What do I need to do today not to get fired?”

As I started thinking about those questions, I realized most people are not driven the way you and I as business owners are driven.  As an entrepreneur, manager, or business owner, you have passion and drive to make your company successful.  You would inherently think your employees share that drive to want to be successful, yet they don’t. 

Why?
Change the scenario.  Have you ever heard someone say one of their goals is to be financially independent?  Then you’ve observed them and realized they never do anything to improve their situation.  They don’t read books on financial success.  They don’t attend seminars.  They never go to a class on investing or savings.  They simply seem to believe money will just drop from the sky into their lap.  Statistically less than five percent of people who set financial goals ever do anything to try and achieve them.

Unfortunately, we have become a society of TV watchers, Internet suffers, and Facebook-ers.  And all of those things promote instant connections, answers, and solutions for the moment while promoting a sense that the easiest way is okay.

Are We Hiring the Wrong People? 
In the book Good to Great, Jim Collins talks about the importance of hiring the right people.  Collins states that great companies spend more time finding the right kind of people than they do worrying about strategy.  But what is “right”? 

It’s hard to identify the right person during the interview.  But after they have worked for me for a while, it is easy to identify if they’re right.  To me right means:
1. You are 100 percent committed to the company’s success,
2. You are intelligent, and
3. You have integrity. 

I call the right person an “employee/partner” and will do almost anything to keep them on at my urgent care clinics. 

But like I mentioned earlier, it’s hard to find the right person during an interview.  One thing that helps is making sure you check BUSINESS references.  I have learned people rarely change their behaviors, so there is a high probability that the behaviors they have with you will be very similar to the behaviors they had in their previous roles. 

Are We Creating the Right Culture? 
There is no right culture for your business.  Our urgent care center promotes a casual work environment entirely centered around the customer experience.  Your company’s culture may be more strict, more formal, or full of more discipline.  But having a culture everyone understands is important.

Most companies who struggle with employee buy-in have never defined their culture.  That is one reason why they continually struggle with motivating employees. Once you know the culture you want, getting the right people becomes easy.  Then, once people are hired, they should be indoctrinated into your culture.  This will only happen as they listen to their co-workers.  Listen to your employees and you will find out your real culture.  

Are You Getting What You Tolerate? 
So many times as business owners or managers we let things slide that we shouldn’t.  Being a leader requires making tough decisions and sometimes having tough conversations.  Leading is about coaching.  It is about taking responsibility for what is wrong and setting it right.  It is about giving credit where credit is due and taking responsibility for the short-comings.

If you continue to overlook things, even from your superstar employees, it will infiltrate the entire organization.  In fact, the hardest person to address sometimes is the superstar.  They believe they are above the law and those silly rules don’t apply to them.  Do not let this happen. 

The word on the street is that a good job is hard to find.  The reality is that a good employee is extremely rare.  You can increase the odds of being successful if you hire the right people, create the right culture, and remember you get what you tolerate.

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