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Develop a hiring contingency plan now
Develop a hiring contingency plan now

Employed the wrong person? Read this

Hiring the wrong employee can cause havoc for managers. DAVID BROWN says following a clear strategy for this will ensure any changeover has only a minor impact on business.

We’ve all been there – that ‘perfect’ candidate we hired just didn’t work out.

For whatever reason, it was the wrong choice and we’re now left ruing the decision while we think about how best to manage the fallout that might happen afterwards. Depending on the personality of said candidate, fallout can cause disagreements, in-store confrontations, lost time spent re-performing tasks, a loss in sales and even damage to property or person. There might even be legal costs involved if things get extra ugly.

Sometimes it just comes down to having the wrong person in the wrong position. This may not always be obvious. If a staff member is struggling to perform tasks, they can sometimes be very good at disguising the problem. Rather than just admitting they are unable to cope, they deal with the matter in a variety of ways that may seem to have nothing to do with the issue – arriving late to work, lowering productivity, arguing with fellow staff members. Dissatisfaction can show up in myriad ways.

Prevention is always better than cure and using tools that can help business owners and managers appoint the right staff in the first place can solve 80 per cent of the problem. Getting it right the first time is always optimal but what do you do if you get it wrong?

Here are six steps to help deal with staffing issues that may arise.

Do your part

You can control your own performance and this is always the best place to start. Have you been clear in the job description? Has the staff member received the training necessary to perform the task? Is there regular communication and feedback on their performance? The law of averages suggests that 50 per cent of the issues surrounding staff performance will be caused by management not providing an appropriate structure to perform the job.

Profile staff

Although this is best done before making appointments, profiling new staff might help identify their strengths and weaknesses and enable you to give them tasks that are better suited to their skills and talents. Profiling staff involves assessing their compatibility to the job requirements and can be as important for existing staff as it is for hiring new staff. Not only will an in-depth profile indicate job compatibility issues but it will also provide a guide on how best to manage a person for optimal performance.

Talk it out

Staff problems rarely go away and will most likely create a larger issue. Getting back to basics by having a conversation with a problematic staff member can go a long way in resolving the matter. Performance can often improve when staff believe their issues are being heard and that there is someone ready to listen and offer assistance.

How do other staff cope? 

Depending on the situation, other staff can be affected by the attitude or lack of performance from a problematic staff member. In some cases, peer pressure can also help resolve the issue. It is important that other staff understand that any impact on them is being acknowledged and that steps are being put in place to fix the issue. Most importantly, good staff need to know that disruptive staff members won’t be tolerated. Staff members undoubtedly respect management that is seen to set boundaries for performance and will take steps to enforce them when required.

Prepare an understudy

It’s not wise for any business to be overly dependent on one staff member – including yourself! Make sure that all positions in
the store can be handled by another staff member who can do the job in the event of someone’s absence.

Problems can develop when one person starts to feel they are indispensable to the business and it becomes difficult to take strong action where there is no adequate replacement. Rotating staff through different functions will help this and also provide them with some job variety.

Terminate quickly

Employment legislation can be complex so you should always seek appropriate legal advice; however, a long, drawn-out situation is disruptive to the team and unfair on staff.

Wherever possible, give the problematic employee a chance to make the decision rather than you having to make it for them. Disruptive or non-performing staff are usually unhappy about many things. In most cases, an honest discussion will help them realise the position is not right for them and that it’s time to find a job they find more fulfilling.

While managing staffing issues is never easy, the above steps should help to make such tasks less stressful for all parties involved and reduce damage to a business.

David Brown

Contributor • Retail Edge Consultants

David Brown is co-founder and business mentor with Retail Edge Consultants. Learn more: retailedgeconsultants.com

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