Archive for the 'Hiring' Category

Can you make teleworking work for you?

Here’s a scenario that every small business owner fears: A key employee resigns because he or she cannot continue to come to your place of business to work for reasons out of their control, such as an illness or a family issue. Is there another answer besides accepting the resignation?

With the exciting recruiting resources available today, you might discover that the best prospect for a job opening you have lives in another state, or even another country. What if they don’t want to move? What’s your next move?

One word answers both questions: Teleworking.

New technology and evolving management paradigms make stories like these have happy and productive endings through teleworking.

A marker of the 21st century workplace, teleworking is where an employee works off-site full or part-time (aka tele-commuting), most often from home. But in order for such an arrangement to be successful, two things must happen:

First the easy part: You must have the necessary technology and tools, which you will have to provide your teleworker.

  • Computer capability and Internet connection are the minimum.
  • Your teleworker will need the right set up, like office furniture, etc., to make their off-site working environment as productive as possible. And it’s not unreasonable to ask to see how the space is organized.

Now the hard part: Can you handle such a management relationship? Consider these four ground rules to execute a teleworking relationship.

  • Find out if, and what work can realistically be done off-site.
  • Determine how to coordinate all work, off or on-site.
  • Establish expectations for scheduled communication, plus production, execution and delivery of work.
  • Talk with other employees about why this employee is being allowed to work remotely, so they can support the new plan. If handled properly, you’ll get major points for being such a cool, 21st century manager.

Execute your teleworking plan with the expectation that adjustments will almost certainly have to be made. So schedule periodic reviews with your teleworker to discuss how things are going.

By the way, if you’re still having trouble imagining having an employee who’s not sitting under your roof, add up how many hours in-house employees work and communicate without actually seeing each other. I’ll bet that number will surprise you.

It might make you feel better knowing that the teleworking model is now being implemented by thousands of small businesses like yours every day.

Write this on a rock … Teleworking can work. Can you make it work for you?

RESULTS: What are your hiring plans for the year?

The Question:

Employment in the U.S. is still down. What are your hiring plans for this year?

16% - We will definitely be hiring this year.
5% - We’re probably going to be hiring this year.
61% - We only hire as business opportunity dictates.
18% - We will not be hiring this year.
Jim’s Comments:
There was a time when businesses hired in anticipation of opportunity, to make sure there was no delay in serving customers. But as you can see from our response this week, of the almost 80% who have no current plans to hire this year, three-fourths of them are waiting on opportunity to dictate their next step.

Employment growth has historically been one of the indicators of economic optimism. So when barely one-in-five of our respondents are making plans to hire, we have to be honest and admit that doesn’t bode well for the economy in 2015. However, as mentioned above, if good news could start taking over the headlines, those who plan to hire and those who would hire could turn the tide and result in over 80% of small businesses putting more new employees to work.

I’m working on more about this for an upcoming Feature Article, so stay tuned.  Thanks for participating.

The Four Levels of Performance Consciousness

Ever wonder why some people are effective in their work while others aren’t?  The answer may be found in their consciousness. But it’s about being aware, not just awake.

Take a look at the four levels of performance consciousness.

1. Unconscious Incompetent
The Unconscious Incompetent doesn’t know that he doesn’t know. He’s also called a DK2, which is short for, “don’t know, squared.” He’s not only incapable but actually clueless about his inability.

In truth everyone is a DK2 from time to time. The challenge is to not live our lives as one because DK2 is a terminal professional condition. But if you’re thinking, “Oh, Great One! Please, stop me before I DK2 again,” don’t fret; we’ll get to that.

Photo courtesy of Impact Learning

Photo courtesy of Impact Learning

Don’t envy the Unconscious Competent because not knowing how you got where you are is one of the definitions of lost. Any resulting success is also likely to be temporary.

3. Conscious Incompetent
This person is incapable and knows it. There’s no ego about what he thinks he knows and no resistance to your methods and practices. A Conscious Incompetent is an amorphous block of disciple clay waiting to be molded by you, the sculptor.

Be careful. Sometimes this person wallows in his condition as an excuse for non-performance. Conscious Incompetence should be a temporary condition on the way to the ultimate level of consciousness.

4. Conscious Competent
This person gets the job done and knows why. She can identify what causes success while being fully aware—and taking ownership—of failures.

How do you become a Conscious Competent? Through a practice called self-analysis.

Self-analysis allows us to see what we do well and capitalize on it, as well as recognize and evaluate what we don’t do well and improve or minimize it. It’s not easy because it requires control of our egos.

Ego obstructs self-analysis by telling us that any success we have is because we’re so smart, while assuring us that any failures we experience couldn’t be our fault. Successful self-analysis is part of a conscious plan for professional improvement.

By practicing self-analysis, Conscious Competents discover the enduring benefits of being honest with themselves about their own performance.

Write this on a rock… If professional excellence were a mountain, Conscious Competence would be its peak.

SBA Poll Results: Are you finding qualified applicants for jobs?

The Question:
What is your experience in finding qualified applicants for your job openings?

57% - We have openings but it’s difficult finding qualified applicants.

13% - We’re finding qualified people when we have an opening.

30% - Doesn’t matter-we’re not hiring and don’t expect to this year.

My Comments:
As you can see, 87% of our small business respondents are not hiring, with the largest group reporting they have job openings but can’t fill them with qualified employees. Indeed, research indicates there may be 4 million unfilled job openings in the U.S. The next highest group of respondents allowed they weren’t hiring, regardless of the prospective-employee pool.

This troubling employment condition has many negative implications for all of us:

1. The economy is being harmed by millions of skilled, high-paying assignments going unfilled.

2. Companies can’t grow to their potential because of the lack of manpower/brainpower associated with these assignments.

3. Millions of families aren’t enjoying the financial and emotional benefits of quality employment.

4. The government is missing out on millions in income and payroll taxes.

If I tried, I could think of a dozen more examples of how this condition is harmful to the U.S. I’m going to have more to say about this in an upcoming Feature Article. Stay tuned and thanks for participating.

SBA Poll Results: Why are you not hiring?

The Question:
What single issue will have the greatest impact on your decision to hire new employees or not?

68% - The overall economy

11% - Obamacare

8% - Technology alternatives

14% - Outsourcing alternatives

My Comments
This is not a “chicken or egg” quandary. No one ever founded a small business so they could hire people. They hire people so they can grow their business. So when facing troubling circumstances, small business owners stop hiring.

We wanted to know what current troubling circumstance was causing the five-year drought of small business hiring to continue. As you can see from the responses to our poll question last week, the big trouble is overwhelmingly the overall economy, with the other options dividing up the other third.

This is also not a quandary. As I’ve said many times in the past five years, small businesses create half of the U.S. economy and most of the net new jobs. So when small business owners are troubled, you get half of the economy and very little hiring in the United States of America. Small business need more business from paying customer, from which businesses grow, profits result, and the hiring of more people can be funded.

SBA Poll: What’s important in 2013?

The Question:
What’s the single most important thing you’re working on in 2013?

57% - Sales - we need more revenue

30% - Profit - sales can always be better, but we need to improve profitability

2% - A bank loan - so we can take advantage of growth opportunities

11% - People - we need employees who are qualified to do our work

My Comments:
What these responses confirm is that the economy on Main Street is still languishing.

  • Sales and profits are both cured by a robust economy.
  • When small businesses grow, they usually fund that growth with a loan from a bank.
  • I’ve been told by economists that there may be one million jobs going unfilled in America because employers cannot find qualified candidates.

The last time the U.S. marketplace experienced such a moribund economy for this long was when Jimmy Carter was president, during the period he described as having a kind of “malaise.”

President Obama, Carter’s presidency is not a comparable you want to be associated with your legacy. Please allow me to introduce you to small business owners who can give you some tips on how to get this economy growing.

Check out more of Jim’s great content HERE!

Take this week’s poll HERE!

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