What happens when you . . .
• make a bad hire?
• can no longer afford to fund a full-time position?
• discover that an employee is not a good fit?
Yep. You guessed it. You have to fire them. (Or let them go. It’s all the same thing.)
Even when letting someone go is the right decision, it’s not an easy one. To look someone in the eye and tell them they no longer have a job is so hard that most employers tend to put off making that decision too long.
Once the hard part is over, now you get to start the hiring process all over again. (Oh, awesome! . . . That’s exactly what I was thinking too.)
I’m certainly not suggesting that every employee you hire is not going to work out. Nor am I suggesting that traditional staffing models are entirely defunct. I’m merely trying to underline the idea that hiring full-time employees comes with a lot of baggage. Sometimes it’s worth it. And sometimes it’s not.
What’s worse is that there are businesses that are being held back because they can’t afford to expand their staffing levels or simply don’t want to incur the risk of doing so.
• This hurts the business owner.
• This hurts the job market.
• This hurts the economy.
Hire enough people, and you will have to fire someone. It’s usually not pretty and is often very uncomfortable. This is why so many businesses choose to leave seats empty rather than risk that next new hire.
It doesn’t have to be that way. The disruption you should be worried about is achieving that next level of growth and success, not making the decision to fire and re-hire someone.
Bryan Miles, CEO
There have been countless studies conducted on the eight-hour workday trying to determine how many hours a day employees are productive. Some of those studies suggest employees max out their productivity at four hours a day.
Some large companies have used this data to create variable work schedules for their employees as long as their business units continue to meet their productivity goals. Unless you’re Best Buy, you’re probably not sitting around thinking up creative work schedules for your employees.
As the business owner, you have a lot invested in what you’re doing. The most difficult part about staffing is coming to terms with the notion that no one else — no matter how much you pay them — is going to care as much as you do about your success and future. So you need to get over it.
Employees most likely aren’t given any ownership of the company unless you’re talking about senior executive positions in large, publicly traded companies. (And if that’s the kind of staffing you’re doing, I have to ask… why are you reading this blog?)
Employees don’t have the same “skin” in the game you do. The idea that employees work every hour they are “on the clock” is ludicrous. It just doesn’t happen. If that’s true, why is the only staffing option that you consider legitimate one that requires a full-time employee who works eight hours a day, five days a week?
• What if you’re an independent consultant who needs help coordinating travel, setting appointments, or managing paperwork?
• What if this function only required five hours of help each week?
• What if by offloading this task-related work, you could add one new client to your list?
My guess is you’re probably doing things right now that are taking you away from your core work, the stuff that makes clients want to hire you. You know there is more opportunity out there, but you’re stuck in the middle because you don’t want to hire a full-time person.
If you’re spending time completing work-related tasks instead of work that creates revenue, it’s time to add staff. But hiring a full-time person is NOT your only option.
You have options… if you’re willing to consider alternatives to traditional staffing models.
Bryan Miles, CEO
Never confuse availability with competency. The reality is that you need to expand your workforce to accomplish your business objectives. That means you need the right person at the right price—today. (I’m confident in making that assumption because you’re probably not reading this for pleasure.)
Just because someone is available for the time you need them, at the rate you can pay, and for the tasks you need completed, doesn’t mean they are the best person for the job. In fact, sometimes the person you need to hire is most likely already employed by someone else. (Did you just hear the universal cash register in the sky ringing, adding the pile of money necessary to lure your next hire away from another employer?)
When you make the investment in hiring an employee, you deserve to get the best person available on the market. I want that for you too. All business owners want the best their money can buy.
Remember, the end goal is not to hire people for the sake of hiring them. You’re hiring them because it’s part of the process of moving you toward you business goals. (If you confuse one with the other, you’re business will go broke—and quickly.)
If reaching your business goals is the end game, then why would you settle for someone who is AVAILABLE instead of the BEST person for the job? You shouldn’t! I want you to know it’s possible to have the most competent person available for the price you can afford and for the amount of time that you need them. Seriously.
You can have your cake and eat it, too, if you’re willing to think about staffing slightly differently than employers did during the industrial era.
Bryan Miles, CEO
Here at Miles Advisory Group (MAG), the parent company of eaHELP, one of our core values is gratitude. (See all of our core values here.)
We’re not a company that spends a day in a retreat writing out our values, and then never talking about them again. We strive to live out those values each and every day, and in each and every interaction we have with our clients and providers. We strive to be a grateful people here at MAG.
So today, as we pause to give God thanks for everything He has done in our company in the past several years, we wanted to say we’re grateful for everyone who’s made this possible. Clients, providers, employees, partners, fans, friends, and family – every one of you has played a key role in making this organization what it is today.
Today, as we prepare for our national Gratefulness Day, we’re grateful for you. And we wanted you to know. Thank you.
Employees need employers to tell them what to do.
I’m not talking about barking orders at people or morphing into a quasi-dictator. Employees are expensive. That means you have to keep them busy to make them worth the cost. It took me forever to realize that not everyone works as hard as I do. When I was younger, I assumed that hard work was what everyone did. I thought everyone wanted to get ahead.
My experience as an employer (in previous companies) has been that most people are content with doing as little as possible, getting a paycheck, taking their vacation time, and going home. Yes, I’m jaded. If you’ve been hiring for any length of time, you’re probably a little jaded about the process too.
Don’t believe me? Just walk around the office and watch people looking busy. There are employees who make a career out of looking busy. (You know exactly what I mean. You’re probably reciting their names in your head right now.)
You’ve made a full-time hire. That means you’ve purchased 40 hours of their time in daily blocks of eight-hour segments. The employee is not going to feel bad if they only use 25 of their allotted 40 hours. They did what they were told was expected of them. The one who loses is you!
What if you needed someone to fill a position but only had enough work to keep them busy for 20 hours a week? You’d have to go searching for a part-time employee. Many times the best, most qualified people aren’t looking for part-time work. That means you have to settle for less.
The end result is that you have 20 hours of work but hire a full-time person for 40 hours a week plus their employee burden costs. You lose . . . again . . . on every front.
Bryan Miles, CEO
Personnel budget is often the largest expense any business has. Unless you’re a one-person show, it is likely that you are spending a lot of money on people.
That is good and bad.
The bad part is that you have to make payroll. (It isn’t optional.) There are so many rules and regulations surrounding payroll that it makes my head spin. It’s enough to make a business of any size fearful of expanding its workforce and increasing the responsibility of leading and developing employees.
The good part is that people help you spark ideas, produce products, and offer services that generate revenue and help you accomplish your organizational objectives.
When it’s time to hire that next person, the first thing you’re going to want to understand is how much this hire is going to cost. So you calculate the salary and realize that the best candidates are probably going to want…
- health insurance
- life insurance
- short-term disability
- paid vacation
- retirement plans
- and more…
… just to name a few. And don’t forget about worker’s compensation costs! (See our post on Know Thy Employee Burden Costs for a more complete list.)
A general rule of thumb is to add 35 to 50 percent to the salary you intend to pay. This is the “true cost” of your next hire. (And probably a number that is going to turn your stomach inside-out.) The cost of even one full-time employee can be discouraging.
For growing businesses and organizations who need help, adding employees means accruing fixed costs versus variable costs. The Great Recession is still fresh enough in our minds to cause us to pause before committing to any growth or activity that provides fixed costs such as employees. That’s why businesses are relying on freelancers and outsourced services more than ever.
Today’s business climate demands agility —especially in the area of staffing. But there is nothing agile about the true cost of hiring employees.
As a current leader, are you doing all that you can do to equip the next generation of leaders who will lead?
Chances are, they will face pressures that you have never faced, in addition to facing some others that you’ve already conquered. Regardless, they need your encouragement and investment in them. Stop seeing them as your competition and start seeing them as leaders who will lead your kids one day. The innovators of the future are roaming the streets of your community and likely the halls of your organization.
When you see a young innovator, one who gives you a sense of hope for the future, are you intimidated as the older, more established leader? Stop it! Start encouraging that young man or woman for the future.
Stuck? Unsure HOW you would encourage a young/aspiring leader? Here are some idea(s) for you.
1) Give them a book. Write something encouraging in it that demonstrates your hope for them. Paint a vibrant picture of what can happen if they work hard and lean into wisdom.
2) Get them out of town. Pay for a trip or conference for a young leader. Allow them to break free from their current environment and enable them to experience new insights from their trip.
3) Build something with them. Start an endeavor from scratch. Show them how you kill plans/ideas effectively. Show them how you measure success. Model for them the hard things about your job as a leader.
4) Help them find a mentor worth following. As a busy leader yourself, you may not have the time to heavily invest in others as a mentor. But there are business leaders all around you who can and want the opportunity. Help establish a good mentoring program and let other business leaders teach them invaluable skills on communication, time management, financials, etc.
A final note – if you undervalue someone because of his or her youth, you suck as a leader. Same goes for younger people who devalue and disrespect older leaders – you suck too. This life as a leader – growing a business, building a team, enhancing an economy, providing for your family and employees – is not easy. Partnering in a multi-generational way will help you, not hurt you.
Start encouraging each other. Spur each other on. We need all leaders to be developing at every stage of life.
Bryan Miles, CEO
We’re starting a new series on the blog to finish out 2013, challenging you to re-think your approach to staffing. Here’s challenge one – it takes forever to find the right person. Read on…
Hiring employees stinks! Maybe not all the time. But more often than not, hiring someone comes with A LOT of risk and takes A LOT of time.
When it’s time to hire someone, we start asking ourselves these questions:
- Will I have time to conduct a search?
- How will I get things done while I’m looking for my next hire?
- What if I can’t find the right person?
- What if I hire the wrong person?
- Can I find a quality person who can scale with me?
You’ve probably asked yourself these questions as well as many more. My experience tells me that the person doing the hiring is sometimes just as uncomfortable with the process as the person looking to be hired.
There is an inherent problem when it comes to hiring employees: It’s difficult to get rid of the wrong person.
Plain and simple. The reason why so many organizations fail to hire all open positions is that sometimes it’s easier to get by with who you have versus taking a risk and hiring someone new.
The hiring process is designed to vet candidates, but it’s not always nice and clean.
- There are people who present well on paper but won’t function well in your culture.
- There are people who say all the right things but morph into a totally different person once hired.
- There are people—good people—who are identified as “ideal” during the hiring process but just don’t work out for a variety of reasons.
Finding the right person is an overwhelming hurdle that some organizations choose not to attempt and other organizations must endure hoping to find the right fit.
The good news is that new approaches to staffing are emerging to help businesses connect with the right person, minimize risk, save time, and ultimately move you closer to accomplishing your objectives.
It starts with focusing on the project you want to accomplish rather than worrying about the seats that need to be filled.
Bryan Miles, CEO
It’s budgeting season for thousands of businesses and organizations around the country. And so many organizational leaders I connect with throughout the year loathe budgeting. They hate it.
Call me sick in the noggin, but I think budgeting is fun. And sexy.
Yeah, you heard me. And here’s why:
1) Budgeting creates confidence with leaders, especially leaders who are owners, CEOs, executive directors, or lead pastors. With a solid understanding of knowing where the money is (and isn’t), you can cast vision with greater confidence. Show me a leader who is up against the ropes in their organization, and I’ll show you a leader who doesn’t know where the money is.
2) Budgeting teaches you what you didn’t learn in college (the basics of cash flow management).
a) You can’t conquer your budget by pinching pennies. You conquer your budget by doing the tough work of CUTTING and KILLING areas in the organization that are not working. You must be brutal, and other leaders inside your organization must agree to it.
b) You also must increase your revenue/income – and there is a strategy for doing this.
3) Budgeting should force you to be consistent with your personal income and expenses (and your employees’ too). After all, how can someone trust you to lead an organization if they think you’re incapable of managing your own personal expenses?
4) Budgeting is the foundation for organizational development. Budgeting helps you drive your organization to an end goal. Budgeting forces us to ask, “Did we maintain our numbers month to month? Are we on track with our income?” Budgeting is the bedrock of good, healthy financial decisions with your team.
5) Budgeting should be an All-Skate. Why does the Sales VP get a pass on his or her area’s budget? Just because they produce revenue doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be responsible with money for their area. Hold their feet to the fire with “Budget vs. Actual” reports and teach your team leaders how to really understand the knowledge behind the report.
Budgeting can be sexy. You just have to look at it in the right light.
Bryan Miles, CEO
Becky Teague, one of our virtual executive assistants (VEAs), emailed us a few weeks ago with her thoughts on the advantages a virtual working relationship can bring. We thought they were so on-point, we wanted to share them here! Thank you, Becky, for your service and your insights!
The virtual employment world is growing and on-trend. In the past, I’ve been both a virtual and an in-house employee. Especially since joining the team at eaHELP, I’ve thought a bit about both environments, how they are the same and the ways they differ.
One of my prior positions was as assistant to a CFO, a man. We had a very positive working relationship. He was a good teacher about new responsibilities, affirmed my work and was encouraging about my future with the company. For my part, I always felt that in the corporate environment I “had his back,” as long as that didn’t compromise my loyalty to the company and, above that, my own values and integrity.
The executive assistant/executive relationship is by its very nature a personal one. This man was an “outside the box” CFO with a warm, expansive, people-oriented personality. I felt comfortable working with him, but was constantly aware while carrying out my responsibilities as his EA it was important to keep communication, the work “vibes” and social chitchat within clear bounds.
One of eaHELP’s core values is service. In fact, we VEAs are tasked to assist our executives while keeping a servant’s heart. For an in-person female EA supporting a male boss, applying such a value to one’s work requires extra vigilance to maintain boundaries – even more than other female/male working relationships.
On the other side of the coin, working virtually provides a female EA assisting a male executive with an environment that enhances her ability to do so with a servant’s heart. With little to no face-to-face contact, the EA is able to provide truly servant-heart service with much less concern that such an approach might be misunderstood. In such situations, the virtual office safely allows for a higher level of service. It’s just one more reason for executives and business leaders to turn to eaHELP for administrative support.