Most entrepreneurs start out as the sole employee of their company. There are benefits to this setup – you know exactly who forgot to clean out the coffee maker, and you’ll never forget a staff birthday. But eventually, if you want to grow your business, you know that you’ll have to hire someone to work for you. You want to accomplish more, and you need additional staff to make that happen.
Don’t underestimate the importance of this decision. It’s estimated that the cost of acquiring, hiring, and training a new employee is around 15% of their annual salary. That’s a hefty chunk of change, which means that you need to invest it wisely. One thing that I’ve discovered is that you can dramatically improve the odds of your first hire being a successful one if you prepare properly. Here’s how you do it:
- Evaluate the work you do. Now you may think that you already know what position you want to hire for, but humor me here. When you’re finished with this step, you’ll thank me. You need to take a step back from the work you do every day and look at all of the roles you’re filling – sales, customer service, accounting, technical support, collections, etc. The list may be longer than you realize! Then you create an organizational chart, give each position a title, and arrange it on the chart based on who reports to whom. Post this chart on the wall, and as you go through the next week, jot down the tasks that you perform under each of the positions.
- Define the position you’re hiring for. Take a look at your chart after the week has elapsed and decide which of the roles is the best one to delegate to another person. You’re not quite ready to hire yet, but you are already prepared with a list of the tasks that your future employee will be charged with.
- Make it concrete. So if you’ve decided that you’re going to hire someone to handle your accounting and billing, you need to get their physical workspace set up. You get a desk, computer, chair, adding machine … basically everything that they’ll need to do the job, and you start performing all of the new position’s tasks in the new workspace. By physically moving to the new desk, you’ll ensure that everything the position requires is handy. By the time you’re finally ready to hire, you’ll be ready to train your new employee (because you’ve listed all of the tasks) and you’ll already have had the chance to troubleshoot the new workspace.
Systematization is the key to efficiency, and by taking the time to analyze and systematize the new position that you want to fill, you’re setting yourself and your new employee up for success. Employees who feel like their bosses are competent and organized will be more likely to emulate those qualities and stick around for the long haul.