The harder it is to find and hire the talent you need, the more critical…
By John Borrowman, CPC
Borrowman Baker, LLC, BV Staffing + Consulting
Hiring staff who can take work off your hands is a dream come true for the solo practitioner. That dream can become a nightmare, though, if you ignore your staff’s career needs.
You deserve credit for taking the Job Title you resisted for the longest time: Employer. You’re in a better position to accept referrals; especially the ones that show up with last-minute deadlines. And you actually have time to cultivate those referral sources you always wanted to talk to, but never had time.
So, what’s the problem? None. Yet.
For the first year—or maybe two or three—your staffer takes on more and more responsibility. If you snagged someone with relevant experience, you’re probably handing off as much work as she can handle.
Sooner or later, though, she’ll notice that her learning curve has flattened. She may ask to handle parts of your role that you’re not prepared to give up. Worse, she may suppress her frustration until it triggers a resignation. An ounce of prevention can help you can avoid the pain of losing her—and starting over.
- Hire with headroom. You went for experience because you had no time to train. The temptation is to target someone with enough experience to immediately take over big chunks of your role. By definition, that person will have less room to grow and will be quickest to be frustrated. Compromise by making sure your staffer has headroom.
- Take her along. There will come a time when it makes sense to involve your staffer in appointments. If you do it on select engagements, and couple it with follow-up dialog with the staffer, you can add depth to her experience and value to her work.
- Hire below and push upward. There could come a point when the only way to let your staffer take on even more of your own role is to bring someone on board to support her. You can take a big step toward building loyalty by involving her in hiring and supervising the next person.
Hiring an experienced staffer isn’t the answer for every single shingle shop. When it makes sense for you, make sure you’re giving that staffer some place to grow.
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