As your business grows the desire is always to add more staff. Something happens when we have employees, our businesses feel more real to us and we feel more successful. Something to remember when you hire those employees is that you do not hire a new employee simply to grow. You hire a new employee because growth opportunity is already there and this person will help you achieve it.
How do you know you are hiring the right employee? It isn’t just a warm body to perform a task or provide a service. Making certain the employees you hire are performing something that adds value to your business is also important. It involves how you plan your workforce.
Workforce planning isn’t mysterious or complicated. It can be but I am going to make it simple for you. It starts with your business strategy; you need one. How you define your business strategy will determine what your business will look like in the future, how you will get there and what you will be doing. Your business strategy should answer the following questions:
- Why is your company in business?
- What is your company best at doing?
- Who are your customers and who should they be?
- What products or services do you currently offer, should stop offering or start offering?
- Why are you going in the direction you are planning?
Once you have that you need to plan who will be executing your strategy. Besides you, that is your workforce. In broad terms, your workforce should do much more than simply perform work. If you want your business to grow, sustain that growth and make money your workforce must accomplish three key things:
- Add value while retaining high value and potential high-value customers
- Increase revenue (sales) per customer
- Reduce cost per customer.
Each of those three things requires certain skills and most likely will be different than your competitors. This is what makes your business unique, this is what sets you apart from the competition and this is why your business will thrive. You need to ask yourself a lot of questions to answer each of those three key things. Questions like:
- How do we add value to our customers?
- What adds value for our customers?
- How can I increase revenue from my customers?
- What increases revenue from them?
- How can I reduce cost per customer?
- When can I do this?
As you develop the answers you are also defining the who. Who will, besides your employees, do this? Yes, it will be your employees, but “who will they be? What skills and attributes will they have?” and similar questions.
Many will take a simple approach and say, “I will just hire the best” the so-called “A” player. Yet not every position you have will require an “A” player and in all honesty, you don’t need 100% of your workforce to be an “A” player.
So within your workforce, as you develop individual positions or even look at the ones you have now you have to ask a simple question, “is that job (position) critical to the success of my business and the execution of my strategy? Again, not every position will be. All positions are not critical. They have nothing to do with who is a manager, a Director, a Vice President. They have everything to do with a position where all of the talents you identify as critical are used. This could be the Door Greeter at your store or a sales associate. It could be the person who plans each project or organizes your workplace for the best outcomes. The issue at hand is not who, but what position (job) has the best set of skills to execute. Using this approach will allow you to put these “A” players in key places and fill your ranks with great workers who don’t need to be “A” players.
The advantage to this is a workforce that makes you different in the marketplace and allows you to deliver the very best products or services possible. It gives your business what it wants and needs the most; a highly successful brand with a reputation of quality product or service. It is what makes what you do and how you do it an advantage because your workforce is your competitive advantage. That competitive advantage is hard to duplicate.
Is it easy? No. Is it hard, not necessarily. If you don’t know how to do this find someone outside your business who can help you. This isn’t something you should let your ego decide on. It is, after all, your business. You want it to be the best.
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