Episode 294: Show Notes
Hello all you wonderful listeners and welcome back to The Strategy Hour! Today we will be talking about a big step we took recently and when we say big, we mean really big! That’s right, we hired our first full time employee here at TCC and we are going to be talking all about the first part of this process and helping you think about this idea for yourselves. Before this everyone we have hired has been part time as a contractor and we were their client. To tell you the truth, we have been itching to get someone on board with more time and commitment to our business and this is when we decided to do it!
When someone is an actual full time employee everyone can get a lot more out of the relationship and knowing boundaries and how and when to do what can be a lot clearer. We do have to admit that there was some hesitation on our part due to going into the unknown. We had some concerns about what this would mean financially and legally and so we asked ourselves and others a lot of questions before getting serious. When we felt like these were answered and it was the right time, we got serious! As we cover during today’s conversation, our favorite book at the moment, Traction, came in handy for some helpful ways in which to go about this process. So join us as we break down this big step and hopefully get you thinking about your own big steps too!
How We Approached the Challenge of Hiring Someone Full Time
We had to ask ourselves, where do we want to go? We took the overall view from Traction and looked at our business to see where we needed to reinforce it and where we want to branch out and grow. For us, this was such a vital opportunity to generate and save revenue in ways that we may be missing and we have noticed just how much harder it has become to carry the weight of the business as it has continued to grow over the years. Sometimes it feels really hard to keep up with it all, so we came to the conclusion that we needed someone to take care of the customer service side of our biz as well as to handle of the cultivation of relationships within our community. Working on retention and churn were just so exciting to us and we could not wait to get started!
The Episode That Sparked Some Action
Early in the process we actually looked backwards and re-listened to one of our own podcasts! The episode we went back to was number 277 with Bonnie Fahy who talked about this exact topic and how to go about hiring your perfect employee. This chat was all about how to vet candidates and we really suggest listening to this episode if you haven’t already. In the past we had done our hiring in pretty much the simplest way possible and to be completely honest it has not always worked so well! So much so that there was even a bit of fear around bringing someone else on to the team. The thought of losing time and money in this process was something we wanted to avoid if at all possible because we know how that can go. The most important thing for us when considering applicants is the right fit, skills can be taught and ideas can be communicated but hunger, drive, self-sufficiency and being fun are pretty much built in. We designed the application process to give us a great idea about the people in question so we would really know what we were getting into.
The Application Process
Our application process had two steps - or three if you want to get really technical. We posted the job in numerous spaces online all with a few specific directions to visit the webpage and apply there and nowhere else. This immediately weeded out some applicants who did not follow the instructions closely! From there there was some info on the job, the location and specifics and what sort of person and skills we were looking for. This was actually the first time we have created a written job description! The description enabled us to also slip in the KPIs and these have been so vital to our peace of mind. We have been in the process of figuring what each role in the company means and why exactly it exists. Both us, as the owners and the employee must be clear on this answer in order to be really contributing. So this information that we compiled really helped us when we got back from the Christmas break and we could slide right back into work!
Key Performance Indicators for This Role
The title we agreed up for our new hire was customer report specialist. This would mean dealing with member retention and return, student refunds, student engagement, course completion, student wins and response time. With these mapped out clearly we can easily measure performance and growth. In the past we have just sort of laid out random questions and hoped for the best but KPIs can give you so much precise insight and their value goes beyond the numbers into how people are reacting to them and how to proceed. Another thing we did in the past was when we were hiring we would often focus much more on what the applicant would be doing for us and not as much on the opportunity we would be offering them. Putting more emphasis on this this time around meant we had a noticeable increase in passionate applicants and just including a paragraph on why someone might want to work here yielded such great results!
More About the Application and the Specifics of the Role
The biggest step that we took in creating the application process and something that came directly from Bonnie was the creation of hypothetical scenarios that the applicants would have to complete. We chose key areas and had them deal with these situations off the bat to see how they would handle them. We cannot tell you how helpful this was in gauging where they were at and actually narrowed down our possibilities remarkably. After this stage we were able to see whether we thought this person was coachable, well-equipped and so on. We had hundreds and hundreds of applicants and after this stage we were actually left with just a handful of possibilities. We also knew what the people who made it through this were capable of. In part two of this topic we will break down the interview, deciding on an applicant and onboarding them!
How We Approached the Challenge of Hiring Someone Full Time. [0:07:12.6]
The Episode That Sparked Some Action. [0:09:01.3]
The Application Process [0:12:49.2]
Key Performance Indicators for This Role. [0:17:12.7]
More About the Application and the Specifics of the Role. [0:22:17.4]
Sifting Through Applications and Using A Job Site. [0:26:31.4]