Tag Archives: Business

 

 

Over the years of hiring for different positions locally and internationally,  I have had my fair share of accomplishments and failures to learn how much the right hires can make a company unique and special while the wrong hires can erode everything you have built to accomplish. When I think about chicken, the first thing that pops to mind is Chick-Fil-A and that is because of the amazing people that work there.  They always have a ready smile, a great attitude and for some reason they seem to be the only fast food place in town that remembers to put your condiments in the bag every time you go. That is not by accident, sure, they train well, but I believe they hire for that and in doing so they have distanced themselves from every other chicken place or burger joint in the planet. Now let’s look at KFC, the original famous chicken place.  Personally I think their chicken tastes better than Chick-Fil-A but I will drive past three KFC’s to get to one Chick-Fil-A. I am sure you know the answer why- their employees look like they hate working there, they ask for your order at least 3 times and when it comes it is usually still wrong. They don’t have a product problem, they have a hiring problem and that is why Chick-Fil-A is wiping the floor with them.

 

You can take any industry in the world and find the same set of issues over and over again. Whether it’s a small business or a Fortune 500 company, hiring can make or break an organization.  Company A has great service while company B has average to bad service and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out which one is winning. So what does it take to make a great hire? Here are three steps to getting things started right.

Hiring for cultural fit ensures organization success

  • Identify your culture – Who are you and what do you represent? A team culture has to be decisively defined from the inception of a business. If you had  a hard time figuring it out, you most likely are already in the thick of figuring it out the hard way. But it is not too late. Take your top two to three high performing employees and break down what they do that makes them indispensable.  Try to be as specific as possible. An example would be: “Yesterday Paul had a client he was about to lose to a competitor but he thought outside of the box and bundled Product X which has been sitting in inventory thus creating more value and now the customer has changed his mind and decided to work with us.”  I know this seems simplistic, but flesh out day to day examples of core values that make an employee stand out- whether it is innovation, integrity, adaptability, accountability, self improvement, teamwork, integrity- find it and define it. Conversely, pick your average employees and figure out what makes them mediocre. An example would be,  “The team did not meet a project deadline this month, and instead of owning up her own failure and finding areas of improvement, Debbie jumped at the opportunity to blame another team member and management for lack of process or resources. She does this often and is hardly open to criticism. “ But Debbie shows up everyday! But she does not demonstrate accountability, and her blame game is starting to be contagious. Stop right there! Realize that average employees are worse than bad employees, because they have enough good qualities to make it hard to let them go but they keep you and your team from having another high performer. The sooner you’ve established what you do and do not like through specific examples, it becomes apparent what type of company and culture you are trying to build. Once you have a well defined company culture, you need to refine your recruiting and hiring process to support these core values.

 

 

  • Finding the right candidates – If finding a good candidate was as easy as just writing a post on Monster and the floodgates would open, there would be no need for professional recruiters and talent acquisition specialists. Finding the right person starts with going to the right places. LinkedIn and Indeed.com are great places to post jobs for people actively seeking work but you do not want to miss out on passive candidates. Go beyond traditional recruiting and use sites like Exalead.com. Be proficient at using Boolean search terms to narrow down your list of possible candidates. There are books and tutorials as much as there are college courses that cover Boolean search so I won’t go over that. The key thing is to target the right places to conduct your search. Your search strategy should have a well defined skill set along with job titles to make sure you do not miss out on a future rock star that just happens to be in a different field at the moment. (And if they happen to be in the same field, beware that non-compete). Once you have your passive candidate short list, reach out and grab that coffee. A friendly discussion about career paths can go a long way. Other creative ways to find good candidates is to  maximize social media networking, incentivize referrals or be active in community events. The best employees I have ever hired I found through networking or referrals. Some of them were not even actively looking. One that comes to mind is someone I met at church. I remember thinking “this kid is driven and has a great attitude”. Someone from my hiring team was eyeing another candidate who had a double major from the most expensive college in town and who had a stronger background in our industry. Fortunately, cultivating fresh talent won the argument that day and long story short, my “kid” was instrumental to some of the best years we’ve had in revenue growth and customer satisfaction, and validated my philosophy that I can train skills all day long but I can not train character or force a fit.

 

 

  • Interview to win –  One of the common mistakes most interviewers make is asking the same set of questions to different candidates. While this is useful for an initial screening, at the very least  I always use a strengths based test to have an initial read on a candidate’s mental aptitude and personality dimensions. This allows me to have a customized list of questions to conduct behavioral interviews, allowing me to probe and have a stronger understanding of a candidate’s potential and areas for improvement. I go back to step one and look at my list of core values. For example, if flexibility or adaptability is one of them, I would use questions to prompt for this, such as “Describe a time when you were expected to complete a project with a tight deadline and with little to no direction.” I can then observe if the candidate shows indecisiveness or has the ability to act on his or her own. A good HR department will have an exhaustive list of well formulated interview questions with interpretive guides to use depending on the candidate’s profile.  Use them! Above all else, listen. Many interviewers go into an interview and end up spending the entire time talking. A good candidate always turns the table and gets me and the panel talking and I have to remind myself to make sure to listen more than I talk.

 

 

These are simple steps without the geek speak and there is much more to employee retention than recruiting and hiring. It  is important to study the trends, best practices and ethics in the field of Human Resources and to use technology to make the process easier, but at the end of the day, finding the best talent boils down to knowing and understanding people and starts with who you allow in. And when you find them, repeat Step 1. Religiously. Identify your high performers versus average performers. Evaluate both for these core values and not just performance. It is easy to get caught up in a reclamation project but keeping an average employee can lead to a toxic work environment, or you may be holding them back from being a high performer somewhere else. Define and protect your team culture and do not compromise on finding employees that fit your vision and your company culture.

 

 

By: Todd Marinshaw. Todd is the director of sales and talent acquisition at a sportswear business based in Oviedo, FL and one of the founders of iPrevail, a non-profit organization focused on consistent and sustainable support for foster homes, homeless assistance and natural disaster survivors.

hands teamwork

 

Studies have shown that a company’s atmosphere is what makes the difference between being profitable and unprofitable. Companies that have an atmosphere of encouragement tend to be highly profitable while companies that have interoffice friction or simply don’t promote encouragement typically are barely making it or actually losing money. Since most people would prefer to have a wildly profitable company over a struggling one I listed six great ways to encourage in the office.

 

1. Greet each other – yes this is a profound one but simply walking in the office each day, smiling and making sure everyone is greeted in your office lifts the spirits and encourages those who are recipients.

 

2. Use praise in abundance – when someone makes a great sale go out of your way to make a big deal out of it. When a coworker gets something done on time make sure they know how much you appreciate it. If an employee is having a hard day take the time to sit down and listen. This is not rocket science it’s simply letting people know you care.



3. Talk about victories in weekly meetings – it’s easy to get caught up in numbers, bills, problems and issues during a weekly meeting. So instead of bringing up the issues and problems right away start the meeting by quickly talking about a victory they’ve had in the past week. This will allow them to reflect on how awesome that victory felt and it also allows everyone to share in the victory.

 

4. Send out testimonials for all to read – The only thing better than a testimonial is a testimonial shared. Sometimes employees forget why they are doing what they do, then they read an amazing testimonial and all of a sudden they remember why they love their job so much. Good moral creates great encouragement.

 

5. Keep an open door – People need to know you’re accessible and that you won’t judge them. So keep an open door that allows people to tell you what’s happening and even if you don’t like what you hear make sure you thank them. If employees feel you are unapproachable they will start to talk behind your back and in no time at all you will be dealing with a toxic atmosphere.

 

6. Say “THANK YOU” – yes this seems so simple but companies such as chick-fil-A have literally built their business around using those two words… Get used to saying thank you over and over again to both coworkers and clients and watch how they react, then watch how your business grows!

 

There are plenty of ways to encourage but if you can just remember this one scripture the rest will follow: Ephesians 4:29

29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

 

By: Todd Marinshaw. Todd owns and operates a sportswear business based in Orlando, FL and recently founded iPrevail, a non-profit organization focused on relief and rehabilitation for victims of disasters such as Typhoon Haiyan

 

depressedI look around every day and see people who are talented, intelligent and fully capable of making an impact around them but in reality how many people actually make an impact? If you think about everyone you know, how many can you honestly say is making a difference right now? I would venture to say the number is quite low, and even among the people making an impact it’s quite limited. That’s why when somebody actually does make a huge impact it can be quite astonishing. At the same time, have you ever met anyone that’s made a huge impact that doesn’t have a great story? A great story is essential to a life of impact and purpose and the only way to get a great story to go through great suffering. Here are three keys to making an impact through joyful suffering:

 

Embrace The Suffering – When I was young I read James 1:1-4 2Dear brothers and sisters,a when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

           To be honest I didn’t understand this scripture very well because I never learned      how to embrace the pain and be ok with it. How can anyone be alright with suffering and actually find joy in? When I learned to let it hurt, really hurt down deep without trying to talk myself out of it, distract myself or even tell myself it would be ok I learned a valuable lesson. You can only grow and move forward by letting the pain in, change you, mold you and allow you to move on from it.

 

Learn From The Suffering After letting the pain do its work without getting in it’s way by running to alcohol, smoking or talking your way out of it, it’s time to start reflecting on the issue. Ask yourself:

What am I supposed to learn from this?

How should I change?

What is God trying to tell me?

When you can answer these questions you will have learned a valuable lesson. It’s important not to skip this step because those who fail to learn from their past are doomed to repeat it.

 

Let The Suffering Change you Many times this can be the hardest part because it takes true humility to let your suffering permanently change who you are. It’s an acknowledgment that the way you were was not good enough and even the way you are changing will most likely still not be good enough. When you are humble enough to accept these changes you will grow like never before. This growth is what will enable you to make an impact on others, to change lives and to become the person you were meant to be. We are constantly being refined in the fire of life, those who allow their suffering to mold and change them will come out a masterpiece while those who fight the fire will eventually be consumed by it.

 

After going through all three of these steps, which can take days or weeks it’s easy to be joyful, enthusiastic and ready to conquer the world. But it’s the man or woman that can be joyful and thankful for the trials while it’s happening that will truly have an impact in this world.

 

By: Todd Marinshaw. Todd owns and operates a sportswear business based in Orlando, FL and recently founded iPrevail, a non-profit organization focused on relief and rehabilitation for victims of disasters such as Typhoon Haiyan

Out Of The Ashes – Resurrecting a Struggling Business

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There are many factors that can lead to a business struggling to survive. Change in consumer attitude toward your industry or product or change in the overall economy either up or down are a few macro reasons and can spell the death of your business, but the majority of time a business fails is because it’s lost it’s first love.

 

Remember when you first started your business. you didn’t know if you would make it but you wanted your business to stand for something.  You were passionate and felt like your business did it better than anyone else. Then you got big and things changed, new people came in that do not understand your vision or love for what you do and it became more about compensation and health plans than it did about being the best in the business.

 

Before you know it life’s worries have made you forget why you got into business in the first place and that’s when things go downhill. Sometimes it’s drastic and unrecoverable but other times it’s more subtle and slowly degrades your business, product and pride in what you do at your business over time. Your baby has become a millstone around your neck with little to no options of getting out. In short, you have forgotten what got you there in the first place and you’ve lost your first love.

 

Is there hope for you and your business?  There is if you do these 3 things..

 

1. Get back to the philosophy of why you started your business in the first place and train your employees on it as well. If it’s sports uniforms, spend meeting after meeting drilling into the heads of your group  that you are here to deliver the best uniforms and the best service the customers have ever seen. Make sure they know it’s not just about making money but more importantly, it’s about making the customers ordering experience amazing while giving the athletes a uniform that will make them confident every time they hit the hardwood or the field. Your employees should be proud of what they do and sell and have the right reasons for working there. If someone does not get on board with your vision, let them go. No matter how good they are at their job you can’t have a cancer destroying your vision.

 

2. Do the things you did at first. What was your niche, what made your company unique? whatever it was get back to doing it. Maybe you own a bakery and when you started you stressed that anything your customer wanted, you could make it. This made you prosper but as you got bigger you realized the profit margins were better with simple or cookie cutter products that didn’t require as much customization so you went in that direction. That’s great, but you have to remember what made your clients loyal in the first place and make sure you still offer whatever it was that got your business off the ground in the first place. Before you know it your customer retention while be skyrocketing once again.

 

3. Start over with your personnel. I eluded to this in point one, but it’s important enough to mention all on it’s own. Everyone has to be sold out on your vision and where you’re going. Hiring good people is a constant need so you should always have an employment ad out with one or two people in waiting in case a current employee leaves or loses the vision of your company. Get rid of all clock watchers and unmotivated employees. An unmotivated employee is a like a virus in your company that can spread from one person to another and undermine everything you’re trying to accomplish.  When you do have a good employee lift them up, pay them what they are worth and keep them in the loop so they stay a good employee. If you’re struggling with paying people more, just think how much it will cost you to lose one of your best employees and train someone new. I’m sure you will find it’s better to just pay them a little more money to keep them happy.

 

Your business can be great again and will be great again if your remember your first love and do the things that made you great in the first place. Don’t let the thought of quitting enter you mind and have faith in what makes you unique. Before you know it you will be back on your feet and loving what you do all over again.

 

By: Todd Marinshaw. Todd owns and operates a sportswear business based in Orlando, FL and recently founded iPrevail, a non-profit organization focused on relief and rehabilitation for victims of disasters such as Typhoon Haiyan