Hiring a Skill Set? Think Again: It Comes Complete With a Person

By on February 2, 2012

By Andrea Feinberg –

Are you a new employer? It can be hard to realize you’re not hiring a friend or even someone you’d just enjoy sharing a meal; it’s an employee who’ll get paid for doing a defined job well. Period. At the other extreme, is the employer who thinks only of hiring a bundle of skills and experience. Every time I hear a small biz owner complain about a hiring disappointment, I realize a simple distinction would make this go away: Just what are you looking for when you hire anyone to help? Looking for a buddy with whom you can share the daily stresses? You’re better off with a puppy. Are you looking for a list of experience and training? Forget it, that’s never going to happen because you’re not hiring a bundle of skills, you’re getting a whole human being when you engage an employee on behalf of having a job done well. People come complete with problems, quirks, dreams and disappointments. All those show up daily as well as their experience, training and skills. Just take this as a given, ok? Employees are not 100% focused on doing your job every day (they’re also thinking about the same things you think about: money concerns, health, arguments, forgotten promises, shopping, doing the laundry – get it??)

Now, with that expanded view of what – and who – you’re engaging, there are 3 primary ways to leverage the opportunity represented by your people (virtual or sitting at the next desk):

When you write a job description, include in your list of desired characteristics more than skills, training and experience; consider behavioral type and values that will fit with your company environment. And I’m assuming you’re crafting an environment that appreciates its PEOPLE and not just SKILLS or CREDENTIALS – big difference.

Nurture an environment in which employees come to see that success on the job will lead to advancement in their PERSONAL goals as well as your business goals; this encourages process improvements, suggestions, enhanced productivity and the beginnings of a team. There are lots of ways this can be done through a welcoming physical workplace, access to resources, communication openness, training or advancement opportunities.

Use the performance review process to establish pay (or reward) for performance through co-created goals and abolish holiday bonuses that are connected to nothing except a calendar.

Now I know everybody hates performance reviews, whether employer or employee. But that’s only because you haven’t met mine. No, I don’t serve pina coladas but do recommend these big changes in the review process:

Ask your team to suggest their own goals within the context of upcoming company-wide goals.

Get their feedback on your or the company’s performance, especially within the context of the employees’ role or division.

Doesn’t it sound scary? Well, you’re a business owner- it’s all scary, every day. Yet, to my mind, that’s a much more interesting, and results producing, conversation than the standard review. And, it’s through the commitments made during that meeting that a potential bonus or other reward is identified and you throw out the (utterly wasted) year-end holiday bonus.

And there’s today’s vision for a perfect small business world.  In my dreams, populated with people, not skill sets.

Andrea Feinberg M.B.A., Cert. EQ Mentor, Cert. Prof’l. Behavioral Analyst, Cert. S.B.L. Coach, 2011 Winner: 50 Most Influential Women, Long Island Business News. Tired of feeling chained to a desk? Be sure to stop by her website: http://morefreetimezone.com

About coachandrea

Andrea Feinberg M.B.A., Cert. EQ Mentor, Cert. Prof'l. Behavioral Analyst, Cert. S.B.L. Coach, 2011 Winner: 50 Most Influential Women, Long Island Business News. Tired of feeling chained to a desk? Be sure to stop by her Website: http://morefreetimezone.com.

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Hiring a Skill Set? Think Again: It Comes Complete With a Person