The Wheels on the Bus Go ‘Round and ‘Round
You no doubt have read numerous articles about ensuring that you have the right people on the bus and making sure they are sitting in the right seat on the bus. First of all, we’re going to assume that your bus is heading in the right direction and that its wheels have not fallen off. So if your bus is not on course and intact, your hiring process can certainly help to begin repairs. For example, if you use a four-part hiring system such as:
- Behavioral Interviewing
- Background checks
- Drug Tests
then you should have good luck in selecting the right person for the job at hand. Of course, there are other activities that help as well,
- Benchmarking each position
- Writing good position descriptions
- Conducting an In-Tray or other hiring exercise
- Job shadowing
- Actually working for a trial of 30 days
These are all excellent ways to get the right person on the bus and in the right seat. However, what if you are a new manager and have inherited a staff. Since you are more astute than your predecessor, you are able to identify the people who are in the wrong job. Or perhaps, you have been working with a team for a while and one or two of your staff’s positions have changed and performance has plummeted or the individuals are becoming increasingly stressed. Maybe you’ve promoted someone and things aren’t working out as you had planned. A good example is the star salesperson who gets promoted to sales manager. This is not always a good strategy. So now your bus might be on a collision course with poor customer service and reduced productivity leading to sagging profits. Now what do you do?
A person can only adapt so long, before a breakdown occurs. For example, a person who prefers to work alone in the back of the building where it’s quiet and away from people will find working around heavy activity involving a lot of people and noise exhausting physically, mentally, and emotionally. At the end of the day this individual will drag his/herself home and want to hide from their spouse and children because they need downtime adding another dose of stress from ensuring martial problems.
The next morning, these folks will dread going to work and perform poorly all over again, take more “sick” or personal days, or fail to show up at all. Of course you can expect the same outcome reversing the situation. The person who loves activity, being with people, and noise and who is constantly facing the daily chore of working alone, in the back of the building with no interaction with humans will one day probably run from the building, pulling their hair out while screaming, “Get me out of here!!” Not a good visual for your company.
So it’s best to stay in tune to your talent and be aware of the type of tasks where they excel – or not. Of course, you can do this following some of the suggestion at the beginning of this article. In addition to these, some other ideas are:
- Monitor performance on a regular basis – not just once a year. Don’t wait until the wheels fall off the bus before taking action that may be too late and your bus gets towed to bankruptcy court.
- At review time, create open and honest dialog. Your staff members will let you know how they feel their job is changing, what tasks they do and do not enjoy, or what is beyond their capabilities.
- While administering assessments provides the best data on your talent, surveys can help you and your talent identify where they fit best
- Look through your bus windows at your customers. They may need something you’re not providing and there may be someone on board who can provide that talent.
Hiring and managing talent is not static or like a parked vehicle that has been stored for the winter. Rather, these two important skills keep going ‘round and ‘round just as the song goes. Staying current by keeping your bus tuned up, cleaned, polished, and air in the tires can drive your organization to the success you desire often at break-neck speed. Managing that speed is another topic for another day. Happy driving!