The only way to find the perfect employee

Finding the Perfect Employee

Have you decided to bring on a new team member recently? Maybe you need marketing help or a bookkeeping assistant. You set out write the job requirements down.

Let’s take the bookkeeper for example. Your requirements may be:

Of course, there’s more. But, let’s press on. When you’ve got your requirements list, you post the opening on Craigslist, let your followers on twitter know, and start talking to colleagues in the area.

You get a phenomenal batch of candidates.

Three to five are given two rounds of interviews. And you end up hiring Jessica, a bookkeeper with several years of experience and a bubbly attitude. She’ll talk to anyone.

But is she perfect?

Probably not. Can you remember a time when you hired the perfect employee? They probably met 85-90% of your expectations. But, she gets the job done.

The problem is that a lot of companies stop at the 90% mark. They accept 10% imperfections. But, don’t you want your team firing on all cylinders?

Of course you do!

A team made up of 50-60 percent team members and a couple of star players simply isn’t going to propel your company forward. So how do you make your team the best they can be?

By training them in the skills they’re lacking.

Surprisingly, employees want to learn. It keeps them motivated and sharpens their skill set. They want to spend a day learning about better accounting principles. They want to research better ways to get more customers into their software. Or, maybe the want to experience a different department.

Giving them the opportunity. The benefits far outweigh the costs. Let’s explore how training development helps your team.

How does training and development help your team?

1. Cross-training

What if the employee who runs the cash register in your retail store calls out sick? Someone has to run the register! That’s why you train Cindy in receiving how to run the register. That way, she can jump in to run the register to help out when your employees call out or need back up.

2. Opportunity for advancement

To make it to the next level, employees often need to acquire new skills. When you train them to advance – whether to another department or management position – they’ll not only be motivated to learn, they’ll appreciate you chose them to move to a position with more responsibility.

3. More productivity

One of the main reasons behind hiring a new employee is so you can grow your business and get more work done. By acquiring new skills, team members may be able to simply get more work done. And what’s wrong with that?

4. Motivation

Learning new skills is a natural source of motivation for almost any employee. They’re not only developing their own skillset, but they’re able to add a new piece of software to their resume or build up a list of certifications. Now, that’s pretty motivating!

This whole training thing sounds pretty awesome, doesn’t it?  The only downside is, although you may want to, the transition to a training-first company can be challenging.

Embarking on a huge training blitz will overwhelm your team. Some team members may not want to learn new skills and others might not think they have the time.

How to work with one person to turn them into the perfect employee (and get the rest to follow suit):

1. Identify a team member who wants to improve

It often just starts with one employee who wants to learn. An employee who wants to improve their skill set. Find them in your team – or another manager’s and proceed to step two.

2. Find out what they want to improve on

The best way to get a team member interested in learning more is to see what they want to learn. Maybe they want to spend the day in another department or maybe they want to get Google AdWords certified. Write a couple learning goals down together and move on to step three.

3. Discover tools and resources to help them get there.

You can learn practically anything online. There are millions of blogs, videos, online tutorials, classes, and conferences to attend. Get a learning plan together and pay for the resources if you need to. Your beta employee shouldn’t have to pay out-of-pocket to learn new skills.

4. Follow up

Once your employee has gone through the training, ask them how it went. What did they learn? Is it something they think other team members would benefit from? Gathering this feedback is useful when you roll out a company-wide training program.

One team member is a great start. Use his or her experience as a launching board to a larger team initiative. With several team members on board learning new skills, you’ll be well on your way to eventually working with the “perfect employee”.

How have you used training to help your team get to the next level?