Monday, February 15, 2010

Is your staff in the right job?

Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.
~Joseph Addison

There is no question that staff is the most important thing when running a business. After all, nothing would happen without them! It is the staff that represents your company, and you want to have the best team that you can. That said, when an employee is no longer effective, you must take action.
However, before making any decisions about termination, I think it is so important to ask yourself whether or not an employee is in the right job. Time and time again, I have seen employees flounder because they lacked either the skills or the motivation to do the job, and if an employee is in the wrong job, it is through no fault of their own.

We were working with a business that had promoted a very good salesman to the position of sales manager. As a salesman, the employee had always exceeded his sales goals and contributed so much value to the business. Having performed at such a high level in his sales job, it seemed he was the best candidate for the management position. Additionally, the owner really liked the man, so he was promoted.

As part of the promotion, the salesman’s salary went from 100 percent commission to 98 percent fixed and two percent override commission. The owner did not think that the salesman needed any additional sales manager training as “obviously he knows how to sell and is good at it.”

Fast-forward about four years, and the firm’s sales were very flat with no growth at all. The sales manager was not very successful as, even after all this time, he still did not know how to manage effectively. The owner was paying this sales manager much more than he was making as a salesman, but obviously, the owner had little to show for it.

The owner knew the sales manager was not doing a satisfactory job and would have considered letting him go except that, under current job market conditions, he was concerned for the employee since he is older and has a family. The owner said he would feel so guilty letting the employee go knowing the impact it would have on the man’s family, yet this man was having such a tremendous impact on his business. The owner knew if he did not turn things around very soon, the firm could wind up in a very difficult financial position.
When we met with the owner and came to understand his issues, we clearly saw how dramatically this sales manager was affecting the business, as well as how difficult it would be for the owner to let this employee go. We also quickly saw that the sales manager really wanted to return to selling – the position where he felt comfortable.

We strongly recommended to the owner that he temporarily take over as sales manager and allow the sales manager to return to a salesman position. While initially the sales manager’s ego was hurt, two months later he was so happy to be back in a job where he felt confident and capable.
Now go out and make sure that you have the right people both on board and in the right positions. Your business is going to be so much better simply by having the right staff doing the right jobs.

You can do this!

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