Aside from fixed costs, such as minimum wage, benefits, and health care, your hiring practices can cost you the loss of a sale, the loss of a student, and eventually the loss of your business if you hire the wrong person for the wrong reasons. Did you hire someone because of convenience, out of desperation or did you hire the right person who will be productive in your business?
You can staff your dive center with hard-working, enthusiastic, and knowledgeable individuals if you ask the right questions during the interview process, hire people that share your vision, and train and develop your staff every day. This article addresses how to hire the right person; it is assumed that you have properly evaluated your staffing needs.
A quick survey of books and articles on hiring, suggest numerous questions to ask a job candidate. More important are the questions you need to ask yourself about each person you interview:
- Can the candidate do what you need?
- Does the candidate believe in your vision?
- Does the candidate have the strengths you need as opposed to lacking the weaknesses you’re trying to avoid?
You should choose questions to ask candidates that will help you answer these questions.
You should have a vision for your dive center and be enthusiastic about that vision. Are you just selling equipment and courses or are you committed to teaching your customers how to have fun? Regardless, you have to convey your dive center’s vision to a candidate and they have to believe in it and share your enthusiasm for it. It is easier to train and develop an employee who believes in what your are trying to do.
Now that you have hired the right candidate and infected them with enthusiasm for your vision, you must make sure that you train and develop them every day. Giving them a list of procedures, an employee manual, and a couple of uniform polo shirts isn’t training or developing. Teach them how to do their jobs, and spend the necessary time doing so. Make sure they know what you expect of them. Coach and empower you employees to make decisions to keep customers happy. Your customers should never hear the phrase, “Sorry dude, but I can’t offer a refund; I have to wait until the owner gets back.” Conduct daily, ten minute meetings prior to opening where you can review important information and quiz them about processes and procedures. Evaluate them often and communicate to them how they are doing. Invest in training and developing your staff; it will cost you time but will be worth it in the long run.
Instead of hiring drones to ring up sales, hire hard-working, enthusiastic, and knowledgeable individuals. Remember, hiring, training, and developing the right people can help you avoid losing sales, losing students, and possibly losing your business. Here are three action steps you need to take to make sure you are hiring the best people:
- Ask questions that will help you answer the three questions noted above.
- Convey your vision to candidates and hire only the ones you can “infect” with your vision.
- Train and develop them every day and reinforce your vision; don’t assume you’re done just because you hired them and taught them how to use the cash register.
This is Part 2 of a five-part series by Patrick Abercrombie on the challenges facing dive retailers in the coming year. See a complete list of the articles in this series or read the series introduction.