Problems with your Employees?

What’s wrong with employees these days?

 This is one of the most common questions I hear from my clients.  It sometimes seems like they cannot find that one great employee or the several good employees that they need to increase the overall profitability and effectiveness of their organization.

Like most things however, there is more than one way to look at the problem.  It could be that the problem doesn’t solely lay with the employee.  Before you ask what is wrong with ‘them’ it is important to carefully review your system of finding, hiring, supervising, training and retaining your employees.

This writing will not address everything on a corporate HR director level – those people are the real experts, but if you are a small business owner who doesn’t have the money or manpower to have a well trained HR director, here are a few things that you can point to:

Where are you looking for your employees?

One of the more common complaints I hear is “If I hire someone with good work record and experience to match my needs, I have to pay them.”  Well, duh.  There is only one right way around this.  Otherwise it is almost ALWAYS better to hire experience and pay then it is to hire two or three people who don’t know what they are doing in hopes of finding that diamond in the rough.

Doing this right:  Look for an older person who was recently downsized or is under employed at their current job – they have experience, enthusiasm and mostly know how to do it right.  You can then work them into a five-ten year plan for their advancement or having them train someone younger and less experienced to be their replacement when they retire.

Doing this wrong: Hiring inexperienced people who don’t know how to think for themselves because they come at the ‘right price’.  Studies show us that most employees take up to 18 months to start paying for themselves if hired to anything other than a general labor level.  How much money is that costing you?

What are you looking for when you hire?

The old adage:  Hire for attitude, train for aptitude is a good one.  Shortcuts don’t work when your profit margin is on the line.

What is your support/training system like? 

Truthfully, most of the training programs I’ve seen in years of consulting with Fidelis LLC are abysmal failures.  AT BEST they train for mediocrity, if there is any real training at all.  If you want top notch employees then you need a top notch program.   

Put your people in a position to attain success

Once you hire someone, you have an obligation to work with them and put them in positions that will increase their potential for success.  That is simply good management.  Giving them responsibility that they are not trained for, not ready for, or not capable of doing, is your fault, not theirs.



Most employers today do not do a good job of this.  The first thing that should be done is to teach an employee what ‘work’ means in your organization.  Once you teach them the effort required, you teach them the right way to do it.  Then you supervise and critique for improvement, and finally fully engage them into the success vision of the company and show them how they can be important to that vision.

Unfortunately, many ‘problem’ employees in today’s businesses are simply a reflection of the leadership they receive.