LAST MONTH I reminded you that in starting a new business you are not faced with the problem of having second-rate employees (“When it’s time to strike out on your own,” February, pg. 16). Of course, all bets are off if you, personally, are a bottom-of-the-class individual.
In more than one instance in other industries I have, as a consultant, suggested that a client had a location with so many second-rate people that it would be a better use of available corporate assets to shut it down.
Your intention must be to start a new business rather than to announce your availability for day labor.
Your first start-up task is to find and hire quality, hard-working, intelligent people to assist you in building your new business. Starting now, and for as long and you own the business, you will never be able to afford second-rate people. Not good old Uncle Ned to sweep out the place and tell funny stories about you as a child, not Aunt Harriet to “do the books,” and not the in-law or outlaw who promises to stop abusing that substance if you give him a chance! Stifle your reformer and missionary instincts and concentrate on identifying good people. As with diamonds, you cannot correct obvious flaws.
You, the founder, have a dream to build a true business with the form of a real business and populated by quality people who share your dream. Early on there will be a formal office and what I consider to be one of your most important employee selections, an intelligent and honest office manager.
From the very start this business will act like it is a business. The phone will be answered properly. Only those who have been trained to answer the phone properly will be allowed to touch that most important point of first contact with customers.
As new employees are hired they are indoctrinated into the philosophy of The Company, the objectives of The Company and dreams of The Company. They will be asked to share those dreams and they will be promised that if the dreams come true, they will have a better job tomorrow than they have today. This does not necessarily mean they will change jobs, but it means that their job will profit from the growth of the dream, even if their function or their title does not change.
For example, you hire an office manager and you cannot really afford to pay what an outstanding office manager is worth, but you can promise that if this high-quality person will sign on, then as the business grows, the office manager position will become more important and the compensation package will reflect that increased importance as a product of the corporate growth.
For this promise, as part of their dream, all employees come on board with certain preordained expectations.
You can expect that employees will come to work every day dressed professionally. It is a small-business office and not many people ever visit the office, but you can expect the office manager to be dressed and groomed for success. Each day every employee will start properly groomed and with clean, appropriate clothes. This expectation starts the first day of employment and continues forever!
No employee will moonlight, start a second business, work for a competitor or in any other part-time employment. Employees will be hired and rewarded based on their willingness to make your business their career choice. They will be asked to sign a non-compete/confidentiality agreement that reinforces this important personal dedication to their success as a part of your success.
You expect all employees to participate in the sales of your goods and services. Employees are expected to actively promote the hiring of your company to do whatever it is you do. This means that if a next-door neighbor is remodeling, you have a right to expect that your employee will visit that neighbor and recommend your company. This means that if the employee’s grandmother needs a new something-or-other, the employee will suggest that Grandma should buy it from your company.
Does this mean that the employee cannot personally install new products in his own home? Of course not. It does, however, mean that the employee will tell you about this installation before it starts. You have a right to expect that employees will not come to work overly tired because they have worked until midnight or after on home-improvement, equity-enhancing projects to the detriment of your next day’s expected output.
You expect people to work the hours scheduled and to neither steal time from your company or your customers. You expect all employees to conduct the affairs of the corporation and in their relationship with you in a sober, moral and honest manner. No substance abuse, no bleary eyes, no barroom breath, morning, noon or night. No lies to you, other employees or your customers. No immoral actions relating to other employees, your suppliers or your customers.
Infractions of these basic rules will be treated as firing first offenses. If this is clearly understood, all parties will not suffer the indecisions or hesitation attendant to whether just a little sip or a little slip is cause for dismissal. It is.
CALL, FAX, OR WRITE:
Schmitt Consulting Group
2141 Schuetz Rd., Suite 201
St. Louis, MO 63146