Every day, thousands of millennials are entering the workforce for the first time. Now, many small business owners are considering hiring these individuals and asking what they need to consider before they opt to hire them.
There is no denying that the millennial generation is much different than the generation of workers that has come before them. This means that as a small business owner, you’ll need to make some changes to your business culture in order to accommodate the very unique needs of this particular group.
I’ve outlined a few key items you might want to consider before hiring millennial workers to ensure success for both your company and your potential millennial hire.
Millennial workers, unlike any other generation before them, are keen on the idea of having office hours that suit their personal needs. How flexible are you willing to be with your office hours? When interviewing potential millennial candidates, ask about their work schedule expectations. If you run a business that can only accommodate the hours of 9am to 5pm, then you can expect a millennial may not find your opening suitable to them.
- Millennials want to be valued
Millennials need a great deal of validation from and communication with their supervisor/manager to let them know how they are doing, and to give them praise (preferably in a group setting) when they have done a good job. In the workplace, this may require more of your time and attention. They want to be noticed for their work and you will need to be available to give them ongoing feedback. Do you have the time to provide them with ongoing feedback and praise? If not, a millennial may not feel valued in your office.
- Company Culture
Millennial workers are expecting an inclusive and exciting company culture that promotes social relationships and fosters innovation. If you have other millennial staff, or see your company hosting social nights or team-building activities, a millennial might fit in well. Their need to work and collaborate with a team is key to their success. Is your office made up of employees aged 45+? If so, a millennial worker might feel like an outsider and have trouble fitting in.
There is no doubt this new generation of workers are the future of business, and they have so much to offer, but we need to learn how to accommodate their needs if we are to add them to our workforce.
One of the biggest challenges I have seen many small business owners struggle with is that of delegation. Most owners started their businesses on their own being the person who does everything and so letting go or delegating can be difficult from many angles. Let’s face it, if you continue to do everything, then why do you have staff and how can you ever hope to grow your business?
Delegation means letting go of the day-to-day tasks associated with that responsibility, but by no means does it mean completely letting go of that responsibility. In other words, if you have hired a sales person to take on the responsibility of sales for your company, although you may not be making the sales calls, you do need to ensure that your sales person has the right sales processes, sales metrics and that they are in fact the right person for the role.
Without the right processes, metrics and people in place, it’s likely the onus will fall back on you to get things done. Sounds familiar? Letting go isn’t easy, but having a proper delegation structure in place will allow you to focus your energy and resources on building a successful business. Here are my recommendations for effective delegation:
1) Have the right processes
Ensure you have the right processes in place to ensure that the task or responsibility will be done correctly and in accordance with your standards. For example, if you are delegating writing you will need to ensure what type of writing, how much time the writing should take, what structure the writing must have, what approvals are required, what source materials, and how the writing must be started. The process needs to be written down, explained to the person who you are delegating it to, and followed up with by you to ensure the process is being followed.
2) Measure your success
The only way you can truly know if the process is working right is to measure its effectiveness and subsequent success. To measure the success of the objective, you may want to consider KPIs as they are an effective way of measuring key business objectives, as are analytics. There are numerous measurement tools available, so finding the one appropriate for your business is important. Whatever metric you choose should be spelled out and communicated to the person taking on the delegated task or project. They need to understand that they are being measured in their responsibilities.
3) Have the right people
In a previous blog, I discussed the importance of building a solid team. Ensuring you have the right people working for you means that you can delegate appropriate tasks with the confidence they will be completed accurately and efficiently. Trust and communication are two qualities that can make or break a business. In my many years as a business advisor, I’ve witnessed numerous business owners cycle through employees simply because they had the wrong person in the role who was not fully capable of handling the responsibilities despite having the right processes and metrics in place. Invest wisely in securing the right team. With the right team in place, you’ll experience no hesitation in delegating important tasks and responsibilities.
Delegating is what most business owners crave – you want someone or something to take the huge responsibility of doing it all yourself off your shoulders. Have no fear, by ensuring you have the right processes, metrics and people in place will mean you can lessen your load, and free up the much-needed time to do what you have always wanted to do: focus on building your business.
Employee hiring and firing is one of the most time-consuming and costly investments you’ll make as a business owner. It can be a long, drawn-out and sometimes unsuccessful process if you aren’t asking the right questions or looking for the right things. Many of the people I have worked with throughout my 30-plus years in business have improved their success rates by following a formal hiring process. Creating a hiring process that works for your business will prove invaluable to making this daunting task less taxing on your time and budget.
After sorting through resumes, you’ve chosen the most suitable candidates and it’s now time to meet these candidates and interview them.
The first step in the hiring process is the formal interview. Ask questions pertaining to their behaviour and personality, as well as their knowledge and skills. The type of person they are is as important as their skills. Evaluate if this candidate will fit with your vision, your team and the culture of your workplace.
Many businesses stop their process after the interview, but why not include a testing element? The testing element will differ depending on what industry you’re in but what remains the same is the value you will get from it. You will be able to get a true sense of the candidates’ skills and what exactly they will be able to bring to your business. Tests are also a way that you can filter if the person can back up what they say they can do.
Be sure to utilize a test that will give you a real sense of how the person will perform on the job. These could be hands-on, performance-based, or analytical tests. For example, if you are hiring a salesperson, have them present a sales pitch to you, or for an IT candidate, maybe it’s a written test that displays skills that are directly related to certain job duties they’d be performing. This will allow you to get a better sense of the overall capability of this candidate in the role they are applying for.
Score the tests and then determine which candidate you should move forward with to the next step – the reference checks.
I have seen many people show mixed emotions when it comes to reference checks. Some believe they are the most help in making a decision to hire or not to hire and some believe they are just a waste of time. I suggest that in order to make the most of references, you need to make the calls personally and ask the questions you want the answers to. Ask questions about the candidate’s personality and work style, as well as skills. You want open-ended questions that spark discussion, not closed-ended ones that only allow for one-word answers. After all, you want to know if this candidate is right for your business, so use this time wisely with directed questions.
Who you accept as a reference is also an important component of this step. Contacting a relative or friend as a reference will give you the biased answers you don’t want you to hear. Ensure that you make the most of the limited time you have during these calls to find out what your face-to-face interview and test have not already revealed.
The hiring process can be exciting and purposeful. An elevated interview, the addition of a testing element and appropriate reference checks are just some things that can make a world of a difference to your process. Once you’ve found your perfect candidate, what are the best ways for keeping employees? Stay tuned for my next blog that will provide insights on employee recognition and retention.
What procedures have you used during a hiring process? What worked the best? What didn’t work? I look forward to a lively discussion!