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25 01, 2015

“Undercover Boss” Uncovers Bad Leadership

By |2017-03-03T12:06:53-05:00January 25th, 2015|Categories: Blog, Customer Satisfaction, Training|Tags: , , |5 Comments

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Discovers some inept bosses.

Discovers some inept bosses.

After watching season after season of “Undercover Boss” I’m thinking we need  a show called “Undercover Employees.” They could find out what their bosses are doing.

“Undercover Boss” is  an American reality television series, based on the British series of the same name and producted by Studio Lambert in both countries. Just as the title suggests, the boss goes undercover to see what his entry-level employees are doing.

Two things that seem glaring; there is little customer service training and “bosses” don’t know what’s going on in their businesses. In fact, most of the bosses are amazed at what’s going on!

I was watching the “Undercover Boss” last week and was disturbed by the boss’s decisions. He was very generous with the employees he worked with, giving them large sums of money. The problem, as I see it, is that people were getting money to help with their “troubled lives” but weren’t asked to “better themselves” or attend schools, so they could obtain leadership positions.

My hunch is the people will spend their money, have great vacations or new toys but what will they have learned? I believe that people will be more apt to change is there are some conditions to these generous gifts. In fact, I feel so strongly about it. I sent a letter to the “Undercover Boss” and sent some customer service books.  I don’t know if I’ll get an  answer, but maybe the letter with my suggestions will get read! My biggest gripe, where in the  business  world do people get free handouts with no “strings attached?” And what’s the point if the gift isn’t connected with your business?

One great thing about the program is that bosses get to understand their employee struggles and help them grow. One of the best ways to help them grow is to provide opportunities for them to advance within the organization. Promoting good employees is essential to their learning.

In order for a business to perform adequately the “boss” must  be able to communicate with his employees.

There must be a way for the boss to know what their employees are doing without spying on them. This reminds me of mystery shopping; another task that I think is ridiculous. If you think, you’re employees are not acting appropriately they probably aren’t. This problem usually starts when a company doesn’t have a suitable training and accountability program. Teaching and training is one thing, if you don’t hold people accountable for what’s expected to don’t waste the training program. CEO’s must create a business model that is in line with the customer’s and employee needs.

Everything goes back to customer service and how customers are being treated. Front line employees are the ones who need the training and usually get the least amount. Because they’re not seen as the ones who “bring in the money,” they typically don’t get best training.

So far, 100% of the companies have leaders who have no idea of what’s going on in their businesses. How sad.

Many of the problems could be avoided if the leader spent time reading employee evaluations and staying in touch with their businesses.  No matter what business you have, the only thing that makes it work is the customers. The first customer of any business is the employees.

Lisbeth has been coaching business for over 25 years. To schedule a consultation or have her speak at your business, she can be reached at [email protected] Lisbeth lives in Historic Hudson Park in Albany, New York, with her cat Rainyday.

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28 11, 2011

Stop Hiring Losers!

By |2017-03-03T12:07:07-05:00November 28th, 2011|Categories: Blog, Interviews|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |2 Comments

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The last U.S. Census reports that small businesses with fewer than ten employees make up 78% of all employers. A recent survey of small-business owners, by SurePayroll Inc., found that poor hiring costs about $10,000 per hire. And according to a recent study by Leadership IQ, nearly half of all new hires (46%) fail within 18 months. That means every move of every employee counts. 

What do you need for your business? You need super stars. Simply enough it takes good people. Don’t think there are any good people out there? Wonder why all the bad ones are in your business? Could it be your lack of nterviewing skills?Interviewing is tough business and takes being prepared. We all know that hiring mistakes can kill your company. All the motivation, all the coaching, all the training, all the total quality management and all the reengineering in the world can’t make up for a hiring mistake. If you hire bad people you can’t overcome it or train your way out.

How does it happen and how can you overcome it? Here are a few ideas. Don’t go to the supermarket  when you’re hungry. Just like shopping for food on an empty stomach shopping for  employees when you’re desperate produces the same results–a sick  stomach and an empty wallet. Hiring a bad employee can empty your wallet as well as create problems for your business . Statistics show that a bad employee can cost upwards to  $40,000 or even more. If you’re desperate to hire you’re more likely to get a bad employee.

Here are some interviewing tips to help you hire the right  employees, by the way, this link is a video.

Know what you’re looking for and what will work for your business. If you’re not sure of the job description watch your employees and determine what’s right and what’s wrong with your team. What skills does your team need and what’s missing. Simply, be able to define the job.

Benchmark the job. Do you have someone who works for you with the qualities that you’re after? What does that person do well and list the qualities that  you want. Maybe your industry has statistics for job performance.

Don’t hire someone like yourself. This is one of the easiest and most deadly traps that interviewers face. When someone is like you rapport is built easily and it seems like a perfect match. Ask yourself, does my business need another employee like me? If the employee is like you, how will they do with customers who aren’t like themselves?

Meet with your critical staff and develop a check list for the hiring process. If more than one person will be interviewing, everyone should be clear on the criteria. As they interview they should check off the questions and see how closely the candidate fits the criteria. Liking a person doesn’t necessarily make a good candidate.

Be forever hiring. Interview people when you’re not hungry. Encourage applications on your web site even if you don’t  have an immediate need for an employee. Who knows, someone spectacular may come along, someone you don’t want to pass up.

Should you read the the resumes? If you ask someone to bring a resume ask for a skills resume rather than an experience resume. Hiring is too costly to hire someone just because they have experience,  hire those who have skills that will help you stretch their abilities and you need. What will references tell you, not much. By law the questions you can ask are so limited that it’s doubtful you will find any useful information. These are desperate times with many desperate people and mistakes are costly to you and your business. I know plenty of floor covering salespeople with plenty of experience; most of it is bad experience. Just because they have product knowledge doesn’t mean they’ll make a good salesperson. I would go for the one who can build rapport anytime.

I have been asked many time to provide  job references for people who didn’t work for me!

Hold a telephone interview before you meet with your potential employee. Does the candidate make a good impression on the telephone? How do they sound on the phone, who answered the phone when you called, was it someone who could deliver a message? I have had employees whose wives couldn’t deliver a message.

Read the cover letters, check the spelling and word usage. When in doubt hire the  person who can write and spell. Most likely they can also talk.

Throw in a wrench! Ask them a question to throw them off guard. “If you found that the customer over paid what would you do?” Sounds like an easy answer doesn’t it? Ask me sometime about the bookkeeper who suggested the owner keep the extra check when the customer had over paid.

Ask the candidate to give you a list of their skills; then ask them to demonstrate how  they demonstrated these skills. Three pages of job experience doesn’t mean the person can do the job the way you want it done.

BEST Instruments testing has great, inexpensive tests that you can administer at the interview. Tests on communication styles will give you insight into your candidate and their ability to get along with other team members.

You’ve probably heard this suggestion: hire slow and fire fast. Whenever possible have a “get to know you period,” evaluate and if it’s not right move on.

Lisbeth Calandrino is a business coach and trainer. For more information on using BEST Inventories give Lisbeth a call at 518-495-5380.

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