How to Get and Keep Good Employees

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How to Get and Keep Good Employees

Running a business with employees is not a task to be taken lightly. Whether you manage for someone else or it’s your own business filled with a half dozen or more employees, you can attest to the challenges that arise.  You’ve got scheduling issues, they’ve got personal things to take care of. You assign tasks, they assume you’re dishing out punishment. Customers have needs, employees have demands. Sometimes it’s all you can do to keep up. Employee A prefers truck 3 and set hours while Employee B wants off early every Friday because he shares custody of a child whose mother lives 4 hours away. And Just about the time you get it all hammered out- BAM Employee A gets another job, or Employee B feels slighted because he thinks someone else is getting more: ___________ (Fill In The Blank)

If your plan is to stay in business and make money, you’ll need to master this juggling act. You need qualified, experienced people who can think for themselves and make split-second decisions.  But does that mean you’ll have to take the good with the bad? Will you keep on horrible people just cause they know a thing or two? Of course, when you’re new you’ll believe that these hard-cases will just bend to your will. But the only bending that’ll be happening will be done by you.  If you want to keep the problems to a minimum and build a business you’ll enjoy going to everyday you’ve got to start by getting the right people in and the bad ones out. So make the decision right now to get better at your job of finding the right folks for the job.

It all begins with the hiring process: It seems that Lizard Lick Towing and South Beach Tow have impressed upon a huge swath of the population the absurdity of dressing properly for the job. And that lax attitude is expressed by many towing applicants. Of course you can’t judge a book by its cover but it can give you an indication of what’s inside. Be warned there are a myriad laws against discrimination.

If the application process leads to an interview the best tack would be to ask a few questions and then shut-up. Take the opportunity to ask about previous employment, driving experience, and what they liked or disliked about their other jobs, then sit back and listen.

There’s always a wide variety of reasons for separation from previous jobs. It could be that they found a better opportunity elsewhere, a disagreement with their employer, or due to a work-place injury. These reasons matter of course, but it’s not the reason for leaving itself that you’ll want to pay particular attention to, it’s the words and how they’re used that tells the story.

Exactly what story are you looking to avoid?

Most people fail to learn from their mistakes and instead foist all their failings onto others. What I mean is that instead of taking responsibility for themselves and their own problems many will take any opportunity to point the finger at someone else, so they don’t look bad. We all do it on occasion. As an extreme example-A crazy person can easily justify ludicrous actions, such as harming another person if he believes they’re evil. He does so while thinking he’s 100% sane and will deny any wrongdoing because of this belief.

What I’ve learned is that, if an applicant complains with vitriol during an interview , about his previous employer, you can pretty well assume that he’s going to talk about you like that some day. Does that necessarily stop you from hiring him? I don’t know, I guess it’s your call. But if you do, just know that later on down the road you may run into the same problems his previous employer had.

Of course many employees have had difficulties with their employers and that shouldn’t exclude them from being considered but again it’s not the difficulty they experienced it’s how they’ve processed it.  Have they learned from it or have they allowed it to fester under their skin- ready to infect your business should a similar problem arise?

Rest assured not all employees will carry this much baggage.

Once you’ve found an employee you believe will work it’s time to get them trained-in. This is the exciting part because you get to impart your wisdom onto them. You can watch as their eyes light up and the dots start to connect, it’s a wonderful time.

Just know that it won’t last.

When they’re new and fresh, employee and employer alike, are experiencing what I like to call “The Honeymoon Period”. You appreciate him and his eagerness to learn, and he appreciates the job. And neither one of you can see a problem with the situation. If there is no “Honeymoon Period” and it’s clear that the new-hire doesn’t really care to learn, now’s the time to cut bait and find someone else. But as the Honeymoon ends, and those who do care get more proficient at their jobs they’ll become more confident and need less and less of your input. This is a good thing, it means that they know what they’re doing and can be trusted.

But you can’t just ignore them. If you’ve got a good employee you’ve got to constantly provide them with opportunities to demonstrate their value. Many believe that constant advancement is the key. They suggest that if an employee isn’t moving forward, as far as wages and titles go, they’ll wither on the vine and seek better work someplace else. Although much of that is true, most people who gravitate to the towing industry and stay, do so because of the constant challenges that arise. When given the correct combination of advancement and new challenges, (IE. not taking all the rollovers yourself) you’ll stand a much better chance of keeping good employees.

About the Author:

Don G. Archer is the former owner of a 12 truck, 20 employee towing business. He now spends his time helping others build and start successful towing businesses around the country. Don is a multi-published author, educator, and speaker and is known as the tow-evangelist, www. thetowacademy.com Want to learn more? Email him direct at don@thetowacedemy.com

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