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Thursday, April 20, 2006 

Finding, Working & Keeping a Job(Part III)

Tips for Employers

Hire the best people for the job
Don’t succumb to the evils of nepotism and patronage to run your business. Just because your nephew has been jobless for the past 10 years is not sufficient enough reason for you to hire him. No matter how much you love your children or spouse doesn’t mean they are necessarily capable of working for you. And even if they are, tread lightly in this area because family businesses are often a hellish experience for the rest of your employees. Families bring their fights to work and usually have no problem questioning your judgement and decisions in front of other staff. Your other employees will feel they have too many bosses and can’t figure out who they’re really working for.

If you hire employees based on appearance alone, don’t expect them to be hard workers when you both know they were hired as eye candy. When you consistently hire employees for reasons other than experience, education and work ethic, you can kiss any expectations ofa healthy profit goodbye.

Treat your employees with respect
Employees aren’t inanimate objects and you don’t own them. For the most part, they’re thinking, feeling humans with lives outside of work. Just because you have chosen to forsake your family, personal life, hobbies to devote yourself 24-7 to your job doesn’t mean your employees have chosen the same path for themselves…especially when they’re often working for a paycheque not worthy of the time, stress, and effort they put into their jobs. So stop screaming at the receptionist if you can’t find your golf clubs. Don’t resort to name-calling and insults if you have a problem with the work they’re doing. And most of all, don’t treat them as your personal harem when you need a date for the weekend.

If you’ve got problems with all your employees, then the real problem is you and your hiring methods. Treat them with some respect and you might just be surprised with the results you get.

Train your employees well
When you hire someone, make sure they know exactly what their job description is and what kind of performance you expect. If you don’t spend some time training them properly, then you will only have yourself to blame when things get screwed up. If you tell them you hired them as salespeople and didn’t tell them that from time to time, they’ll be expected to cover the phones when the receptionist is at lunch or if they must type their own quotations then you can't really blame them if phones go unanswered and handwritten quotations are sitting in their out boxes.

Establish a clear chain of command
In all workplaces, there will be problems from time to time. To prevent your phone from ringing off the wall every time the coffee pot is empty or there’s a paper jam in the photocopier, let your employees know who their direct supervisors are. You have a company to run, don’t waste your time on a dying ficus plant or every irate customer who believes he’s your best customer deserving your personal attention. Let your employees do their jobs and handle the day-to-day routine work of your business. Don't take the “my door is always open” policy too seriously or there will be a steady stream of employees, customers and supplies bothering you with inanities at best. At worst, middle managers will find their positions obsolete with every employee questioning their authority and going over their heads to you.

Don’t micromanage
If you feel you have to hover over your employees shoulders to make sure a fax gets sent, a garbage can gets emptied or a salesperson emails a quote, then you’ve either hired the wrong people or you are a dreaded control freak. Only become involved in your employees’ jobs if you notice a pattern of sloppy work and missed deadlines. Otherwise, leave them alone so they won’t come to resent your presence and go off in search of greener pastures.

Show some leadership
Inspire your employees. Lead by example. Deal with problems as they arise. An army is as good as its leadership.

Reward them on a job well done
When employees have gone above and beyond the call of duty to get a job completed, make sure you recognize their efforts. Let them know when you’re pleased with them. An employee who only hears from you when they’ve made mistakes will start to think that’s all that gets noticed and will soon lose their desire and initiative to give a little bit extra effort in their jobs. If an employee is constantly exceeding your expectations, give him/her a raise, bonus or time off in lieu of pay without them having to ask for it. The majority of employees will appreciate it and reward you with loyalty and continued hard work.