Grow Your Own - The 7-Power Contractor

Grow Your Own

Yes, Grow Your Own!

No, I’m not talking about what’s now legal in Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington in varying degrees.

I’m talking about Grow Your Own: Developing Great Employees that are homegrown vs. store bought.

Trying to pirate away staff from your competitors by only hiring “experienced” staff to work at your company is a stop gap approach which is neither effective for growing your company or even maintaining it.

The real path forward is to grow your own great employees by committing to hiring willing people and providing them with all the skills training they’ll need. In other words, getting those employees to “released.” This approach puts an end to the insanity of hiring spoiled talent and trying to rewire them. I know. I tried for years.

Hiring willing people and providing the skills training applies not just to Technicians. It applies to all the positions at your company.

What are the many positions at your company today? My guess is you don’t really know because you’ve never formalized it.

How do I know?

I know because in my consulting career I’ve rarely arrived at a client, no matter how big a company they were, that had the type of Organizational Chart (aka Org Chart) that defined all the boxes it takes to run their company. At best, some of them had a vague idea in their head about who does what. Yes, I said in their head because it was just assumed everyone would know.

Some of the companies had come a long way by throwing people at the problem and never systematizing their business. It’s a tribute to the Owner’s force of will but it’s a bad thing because without systems a business can’t support the healthy addition of new people to fill the right boxes on the Org Chart as they grow their company.

As an example, I would ask, “Hey, what happens when John’s not there and he was the guy who actually knew how to put in the invoices to the software or pay the bills?”

At bigger shops, the good news is they tended to have an Org Chart. The bad news is it really wasn’t their company Org Chart. That’s because it’s an Org Chart they might have gotten online, in a seminar, through a trade group or affinity group. Unfortunately, when it comes to Org Charts, a one-sized approach to businesses doesn’t fit all types of businesses. The right Org Chart has to fit how a plumbing, heating, cooling and/or electrical company actually needs to operate. It’s really about the boxes it takes to run the company and not the fancy titles like CEO, CFO or even Controller.

A common myth is that small companies don’t need an Org Chart. They absolutely do! They actually need it more. The problem is the Owner feels their name would be in every box if they created an Org Chart, and they are right. But, they are already filling those boxes and many times they didn’t even know it! Here’s the reality: as an owner, until you define in writing what goes on 80 percent of the time in each of those boxes, no one will be able to come and help you fill those boxes or even take any of those boxes away from you.

That’s why one of the first steps I do in my one-to-one consulting work and now my Signature Operating Manuals System is start with the right type of Org Chart that I know works for pretty much every PHCE company there is.

Why is the right Org Chart so important to growing your own and developing great staff?

The reason is the right Org Chart tells everyone (especially a new hire):

  1. Where they are today
  2. Where they can go tomorrow
  3. Who really is their boss
  4. Who they can go to for help

Now, if you have Salary Levels that are tied to objective things like demonstrated skills that you teach them, they will have a career path. All of it is tied to your training, the Org Chart and the Salary Levels working together to make you the employer of choice. I say that because once you have these in place you’ll be totally unlike you competitors who only give lip service to, “We offer a career not just a job.”

Think it’s too much work? Too expensive? When would I find time to do that?

Fair enough. How many times have you interviewed a new experienced Tech and asked if they could fix a faucet, diagnose a frozen air conditioning call, fix a no heat call or fix a home that has a problem with blinking lights?

Plenty I bet.

I also bet the only answer you ever get in a hiring interview is, “Sure, I’ve done that a thousand times.” And I also bet you found out once they got in the field that what they said they knew and what they really knew were two different things.

This dilemma also applies to hiring “experienced” inside staff.

Ever had an interview with someone for a bookkeeping position and asked them, “Do you know QuickBooks?” Bet the majority of time you got an enthusiastic response about how well they knew the program and could do it in their sleep. Unfortunately, once onboard you found out what they said they could do was very different from what they could actually do.

I found out a long time ago that the only way to have really great employees (and all the employees you want) is to take willing people and provide them with all the skills training they need to be great, instead of always trying to hire skilled people and praying they’d be willing.

If you overpaid for talent because you thought training was too expensive, you need to stop. It’s more expensive to hire badly. It damages your culture. The dollar hoppers who arrived for a couple of dollars more will hop their way out of your company as soon as someone else offers them a dollar more.

It’s so much better to grow your own great employees!

Operating Power, Staffing Power

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