Articles For Retailers - by Tom Shay

Hiring the Right Employee

An old adage says there are three ways to obtain the best employees.

  • First, hire the good ones away from the competition.  That strategy can, however, be expensive because more money is usually what it’ll take to attract this person.
  • Second, is to train them to be good employees. This does not take as much money, but it does require plenty of time and effort. It also requires you, or someone working for you who knows the necessary techniques, to produce the results you want and need.
  • The third is to say the Retailer's Prayer ("I hope this employee works out better than the last one.").

While you may look at any or all three of these options, you may want to start by re-examine the initial hiring process. Here are some best practices for your consideration.

Rather than just stating the job title, the best "help-wanted" ad begins with a description of what the person is to do.  The next is to simply have a job description. It does not have to be long or detailed; a simple, short list of the key responsibilities of the job will do.

Attached the job description to the application and consider having the applicant sign the job description to ensure they’ve read it before applying.

The next part of the application process is unique to the most successful retailers. Instead of the owner or manager doing the first interview . . . have two of your best employees do this.  This gives your employees a sense of responsibility and ownership for the applicant/potential new employee.  Your employees will also look for candidates they like and feel they can work with. Additionally, when employees conduct the interview, the candidate is likely to ask more questions and receive answers he or she is more likely to believe.

Once you have selected the new employee, the next challenge is making sure he or she fits in and stays with the job. If a person is going to leave a job, they are most likely to do it within the first 90 days. Many successful retailers assign a coach to the new employee. It is the responsibility of the coach to mentor, answer questions, and develop a friendship with the new employee.

The benefit for the coach is receiving a reward from the employer when the new employee has successfully completed a six-month job review. Some popular rewards can be a weekend off with pay or a cash bonus of one week's pay. This may seem an expensive price to pay for a new employee; but after you’ve gone through three or four employees within a six-month period in an attempt to fill one slot on your team, the coach idea may then appear to be a deal.

We all know that the ideal employee is not likely to come walking in your door; but by utilizing the techniques of these successful retailers, you are more likely to recognize that person as well as improve your staff. With the cost of labor being such a sizeable percentage of your business expenses isn't this an advantage you want and need?    

Tom Shay is a fourth generation small business owner providing proven management and business building ideas through his Profits Plus Seminars, Profits Plus Solutions coaching, books authored, and articles written. Tom can be reached at 727-464-2182 or through his web site: