Posted by: Chris | December 11, 2008

When It Comes to Hiring, You Do Have a Choice

scalesMy daughter is two, and she is now to the point to where she can understand the concept of choosing to do the right thing in order to meet a longer-term goal. For example, she now chooses not to throw a fit at bedtime so that my wife and I “sit with her” the next night at bedtime. (“Sitting with her” involves a mere 20-second countdown during which my wife and I sit next to her crib as she settles in under her blanket. Otherwise, it’s a quick kiss and “I love you,” and time to sleep.) We “sit with her” every night following a fit-free bedtime the previous night. It’s a small reward, but my daughter seems to really miss it when we don’t “sit there.” It is now a choice she conscientiously makes.

HR plays an incredibly important role in Services Marketing, and when it comes to hiring decisions, companies also have a choice. They can choose the clearly unmotivated, disinterested, paycheck-oriented shoe-filler, or they can choose “the right person for the job.” Too many times, I have walked into a business and experienced the former. I try to avoid those places as a rule, and I don’t think I’m alone on that.

While the selection of “the right person for the job” is a multi-faceted decision that varies from business to business, there are a few universal hiring principles that should be practiced:

1. A fully integrated marketing plan must be in place.

I hope your marketing team and your HR team are meeting with some degree of regularity, spending time creating hiring filters, planning training regimens, researching the company’s history together, and sharing expectations. Yes, even in industries in which service-provision is highly commoditized (e.g. fast food, mid- to low-end retail, custodial and maintenance, etc.), marketing plans and goals must be communicated to and embraced by hiring managers and HR. Otherwise, you end up with a random group of unmotivated paycheck workers who are hired indiscriminately, and you (and your customers) become victims of their performance.

2. You must be prepared to spend time training, educating, and empowering new hires.

Ever had one of those jobs where you were hired, dropped off at your desk, and left alone to produce millions of dollars? Most company education came entirely through informal get-togethers. Maybe you were lucky enough to find one veteran to cling to and learn from. The point being, no matter how seasoned a prospect or new hire is, he or she will at least need to be educated on the ways of the company. Probably much more than that. If you want a new hire to make money, be it a cashier, a bagger, a janitor, or a CEO, he or she must be empowered to do so through orientation, education, assessment and review, remediation, and reward.

3. You might need to be prepared to pony up the dough.

This holds especially true for the commoditized service providers mentioned previously. This is not to suggest exorbidant salaries for all. It is simply to recommend that you not insult your employees with a wage that is far less valuable than the work that is expected from him or her.

These things in mind, remember that no matter what, a new hire is a choice. it is your choice. And you have to live with your choice of whom to hire, just as my daughter must live with her choice of whether or not to throw a fit. The decision is not arbitrary, nor is it without consequences. No more “taking what you can get.” Be purposeful and brand-oriented in your hiring practices, and your company will soon start harvesting a Living Brand.

Obviously, there is so much more to be said about the matter. Let’s hear your thoughts.

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