Don’t you detest when that happens?! You go through the hassle of hiring a new person…reviewing an overwhelming pile of resumes, conducting interviews, half of which are worthless, and finally make a decision. THEN you spend time training them and just when you are starting to get your new employee to a point they can start freeing you up… they quit!
Champions of your continued success,
Molly and Laney
So why does this happen? We’d bet our bottom dollar that your employee shared some rendition of “It simply isn’t a good fit” or “I’m feeling like this job is more than I anticipated and I’m finding I am unqualified” or our personal favorite “My X (kids, dog, commute, etc.) is in need of more of my time and attention.” So…why does this REALLY happen?
One of our favorite stories about working in a small business is the Hiring of Holly. We hired Holly as the key assistant to our entrepreneur. We decided it would be a great idea to have her start the week he was on vacation. That allowed us a week to get her trained on our client management system and such before starting to actually support our entrepreneur.
At the end of the week we were thrilled – we had found “the one”! Holly was doing fantastic; catching on very quickly with a great attitude to boot! Then Monday came around and we began training Holly to support our entrepreneur. Tuesday she quit. Holly was also rare in her honesty, and told us, “I loved working here until he came back from vacation. He is nice, but I can’t work with him. I have no idea what he is saying or what he wants and I just can’t keep up. This isn’t a good fit.” THIS is what all your great employees that quit right away want to say, but don’t.
Luckily, Holly was honest and we were able to stop and restart her experience in training and working for us. We spent time going over the two key concepts that can support a team member in their immersion into a small business AND keep them from quitting!
Concept One: Kolbe
Everyone who has heard of Kolbe loves Kolbe. It’s fun and helpful to read about your Kolbe and see how you operate. The opportunity most people miss is to use Kolbe as an invaluable tool to help team members, new and old, understand where there point of overwhelm and shut down is and how it leads to missed expectations and miscommunication. In other words, you can have a conversation about how a quick start operates and how a fact finder can handle it. Ninety-nine percent of the time an office communication problem or stress is due to lack of awareness in Kolbe.
Concept Two: The Gap® (The Strategic Coach® concept)
The second concept that can dramatically reduce the possibility of your great new employee walking out the door is having a proactive conversation about The Gap®. This is concept by The Strategic Coach® that does a wonderful job explaining how we get stressed out and discouraged, or stuck in the Gap, between where we are and where we want to be. For a new employee to understand it is a natural part of the process to be overwhelmed and discouraged by the place they are starting (new and untrained) and how far they need to go (to have ESP and read your mind determining your every need) is a huge step in helping them get though the immersion process. There are also specific strategies you can implement to help a new employee work through the Gap in a less overwhelming way. One of these is having a specific training plan with target dates for each task or concept being learned. This lets a team member know where they should be and if they are on track. If they don’t have this, it is completely overwhelming for them because they feel they have to learn everything, now!
We feel these two concepts are crucial. When we support entrepreneurs in hiring a new employee through our Smart Hire™ Process we include a companywide call to review each team member’s and the entrepreneur’s Kolbe, what it means to each person and each role, and how to watch out for potential pitfalls.
If you are tired of going through the time, effort and cost of hiring only to have your new employee quit, implement one of these strategies to support your new team member in their training process.
What other methods do you use to support your new team members?
A common frustration with team is that they just don’t “get it”.
They are good at what they do but they just miss those almost intangible extra steps that are so crucial to make sure clients are taken care of. They don’t realize their tone with clients on a stressful day. They don’t go that extra step to make sure all the bases are covered. They are nice, but how do you make them “get it” and go to the next level?
“Getting it” isn’t a skill set or a task you can be trained on. “Getting it” is awareness that once you experience and see the impact on the other person, you can’t turn off. And to truly be aware, it has to matter and mean something on an emotional level. The hardest working, most qualified team member cannot “get it” if they haven’t experienced a heightened awareness through connection on an emotional level to what you do and what it means to clients.
Laney remembers the EXACT moment she “got it”, fifteen years ago. At the time, she was the receptionist for a small estate planning law firm. She was a 21 years young and very smart and hard working. Her boss saw a lot of potential in her and was trying to support her in defining the necessary skills to grow the firm. Of all the skills, and there are many, she learned, the absolute biggest was her boss allowing her to “get it”.
Early one Monday morning, in late November, she was asked to come into a meeting to discuss their process for answering the phone. She realizes now, after hiring and training tons of receptionists, that this was a nice way of setting up a discussion with her to talk about her lack of phone skills. Rather than scolding her, or giving her a written script for answering the phone, he instead told her what the firm did for clients and why it mattered. He explained that often clients were calling because they had a loved one who had passed away or was ill. He explained that she was the FIRST person they were talking to about this very hard experience and how it might land for the caller if she sounded rushed, or stressed, or was abrupt. He helped paint the picture of a scared, intimidated, alone prospective client calling into the office and being greeted by an abrupt receptionist after just losing her husband of 50 years.
Laney literally lost her breath. She was horrified of the thought of treating someone like that, especially someone like her grandmother. Laney was very close to her grandmother, and in fact was living with her at the time. Laney remembered losing her grandfather and was stunned at the idea that her grandmother could have called a law firm and been dropped into voicemail or talked to by someone who was “busy and just trying to take a message and get off the phone” like she had been on many days.
She got it. Everyone who called the firm was someone’s grandmother or mother, or husband, or child. They were worried, or sad, or overwhelmed, just like her family had been at one time.
And she was the person they were talking to, the very first person they were talking to.
This made such an impression on Laney that her boss never again had to mention how she sounded on the phone. In fact, it made such a lasting impression; she has tears in her eyes as she types this.
After that, of course they created scripts for how to handle certain types of phone calls and systems to make sure the process was followed and the client was served. All very necessary tools, but none of which mean a hill of beans if the team member doesn’t “get it”. Until then, it’s just a to-do item in their busy day and the client loses their humanity and becomes a check list item. After they “get it”, it’s a way of being and your team members will become your biggest advocates of making sure the client is served and honored.
Helping your team members “get it” is very easy. Simply explain to them what you do, how it impacts your clients, who you serve and why they really write you checks. Everyone has a grandmother, a mother, a husband, a child or someone they love and care about that has been or could be impacted by the problems you help clients solve. Once they see your client as their loved one, they “get it”.
And that is the most powerful training you can ever provide your team member.
Champions of Your Continued Success,
Molly and Laney