Many of the companies with which we work are having unprecedented growth. And as we’ve talked about recently, hiring the best is getting more and more difficult. But just because it’s hard doesn’t mean you need to drop your standards. Remember, business ownership is a long game – it’s the businesses that can grow and succeed over the long haul that are the ones that are the true winners. The ones that have a commercial, profitable enterprise that works, without them.

So what do you do when you’re busier than you’ve ever been? Here are three areas of focus when it comes to keeping the quality bar high. After all, the fastest way to lose a customer is to provide them with less-than-stellar quality, service and experience. And it’s way more cost effective to keep a great customer than to invest in securing new ones.

PEOPLE

Great people are hard to come by, and Business Owners are paying more and more outside their comfort zones to get the best in a dwindling pool of employees. But does that mean that when you finally find someone to fill the job that you need to accept less than the standards that you’ve set for your business? Certainly not. It can be painful though to terminate an employee that you worked hard to recruit and train. The rule of hire slow, fire fast still applies, even when the job market is tough.

What can you do to avoid those hiring mistakes? Hire for culture fit first. Ask tough questions. Use our Group Interview process to discover who that person is among their peers. We also recommend that you do a DISC behavioral assessment to figure out if their base personality traits are ones that you’re looking for in the job.

For example, we were just talking to a business the other day that has salespeople who are not performing. They don’t seem to care, or be hungry to make more money, be competitive, and do better. Sales is something that you can train people to do, but that determination and competitiveness occurs naturally in people whose personality profile is D, or Dominant.

QUALITY OF PRODUCT

Just because you’re busy doesn’t meant that it’s time to drop your standards. In fact, it’s time to elevate them. It’s easy to say that “good enough” is good enough when things feel like they’re spinning out of control and you’ve got more work lined up than you’ve ever had. The construction and remodeling industries, along with the veterinary industry, are ones that we work with a lot, and they are in some cases drowning in business. When things get crazy, there’s going to be employees that just throw up their hands and leave the work at “good enough”.

Business is going to drop sometime, though. And without solid systems for how the business runs, at the highest quality, the ones who are going to be left standing when the business does drop are the ones that are producing quality work. Our team was just on flights to and from South Carolina, and while we know that the airline industry is crazy during a pandemic, having a 3 hour delay taking off, and 8 hour delay returning is not the way to gain a customer for life. (incidentally, every single one of us said we’d never fly that airline again)

WHAT DO I DO NOW?

Let’s say that you’ve got an employee on your team that you feel might not have been a good choice. They’re not a fit on culture, the customers are not responding to them, and the quality of work is poor. Start documenting the challenges now. Immediately write down specific dates, times, and circumstances when the work was subpar. Keep documenting future incidents as well. And don’t let them go. Be sure that after each incident, the employee knows exactly what they can do to change, and document that too.

Look at your own leadership as well. Did you explain the quality standards? Do they know what the key performance indicators are? Strong communication can help when there’s recurring issues. Above all else, remember that being decisive is a key leadership trait. You cannot afford for a single person to hurt the standards of your business, even if they were hard to find. Hire slow, fire fast.

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Turnover costs are real – and they’re getting bigger as the job market gets tougher particularly for small business owners. But the cost of decreasing quality, a culturally toxic employee, or someone who is not performing to the company’s high standards can be much more costly to the long term health of the business. The longer you wait, the larger the consequences. Decisive action is going to be your most important skill.

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Are you having trouble putting systems in place to achieve high quality? Do you have employees that need better training? Do you need help finding the best employees? We can help. Schedule your FREE, no-obligation business analysis today.

About the author,

Director of Marketing, ActionCOACH Columbus

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