Time to Process-Up

“People are the greatest asset for any business.”

We have heard this quote a million times and of course, we all know it is so valid. As a talent leader, I have employed/lead over 400 individuals in my lifetime and I have had some really bright shining stars grace my past. I can honestly say I have had some truly irreplaceable members on my teams, and currently have a crew of these folks at Timmermann Group today!

On the contrary, I have also had my fair share of situations with the opportunist employee- where the will, the talent, the composure, and drive were severely lacking attributes. People often suggest that I should write a book about the craziness I have witnessed in the employment zone of a talent leader career, but the message could potentially get miscarried by the readers. However, my favorite part of hiring + retention of top talent actually spins from the systems and processes that are SET in place in a business. I have also seen some really green new-hires soar to the top in only 90 days due to dynamic processes and flawless operations.

Now, don’t jump to conclusions.

Your mind may immediately move to the word, “micro-management” when you hear this. And in some ways, yes… it is a bit micro. It’s all about that tiny laser focus from leadership on how the systems, the situations, the steps, and the formality should work in a successful, thriving business. The processes come first folks. The system is initial. The people piece… well, creates the force of motion. So, you make a masterpiece of a process cake, add the systematic icing and sprinkles, and then what? You pass the baked goodness of business strategy into the hands of the people to use their silverware skills to make the cake matter, and eat it.

“Hire character, train skill.”

Say hello to the HR quote-of-the-moment (more like quote-of-the-decade) that is used time and time again. I love this one too, but only IF your business has the training plan set up to develop and guide this expected skill-set. If you don’t have the system in place to train, or worse…you have no one in management willing to slow down and follow-up, then that solid “character” you just hired will likely loose trust, disengage, and often exit your business before you can even sign their first check. I am a big believer in training. Train, download, train, and then train again. Drive that training-train!

So, how do you get the right systematical balance to ultimately retain team members?

I love to communicate in business, and new hires especially love it too. People find comfort in knowing that the plans are made and formality is actually defined. The top secret I have experienced in retention is having formal processes that prove success and ensuring that your team truly knows their role in the mix.

There are four points to ensure that your business has micro-processes ready to match your top-talent.

  1. Ensure that your Leaders are aware of the goals, know the game-plan to reach the goals, are empowered to manage the systems, and model the processes themselves.

– Your processes are defined and set solely to ensure that your business achieves formal key performance indicators, or KPIs. Maybe the said KPI is nailing a series of steps in your sales cycle, maybe it’s achieving your fiscal goal, your hiring goal, your onboarding plan, or defining your billing procedure. Regardless of the KPI(s), your leaders must all be aware of the vision, know their part, and feel ready to lead a team of superstars to make it happen. Most important, leaders model the way, and stick-to-their-guns, about following all steps of each internal process.

  1. Document all critical steps of your business. Bare minimum: how the consumer experiences what you sell, and how they are serviced in your customer retention strategy.

– No step left behind. Every single anticipated part of your process should have proper documentation and all team members should have some buy-in on their accountability/ability to perform in the process. This also prevents “blurred-lines” with cross-over roles in any organization.  The consumers, customers, and clients should have trust that your biz can anticipate next steps and show confidence in each part of their consumer journey. The accessibility for reviewing each process is critical for your full team. Whether it’s a handbook, server access, an intranet program, or charted in your break-room, the process must be easily tracked and found by all.

  1. If you didn’t internally define a process for a KPI that is working well, just know that it will exit with your talent, when they exit you.

-Consider yourself warned. If you have a room full of amazing talent that failed to peer-coach, document, or log company-specific knowledge, then you will most likely lose some business structure formality following a resignation. On the other hand, if you properly document, and your systems are in place, any new-hire will gratefully walk right into a replacement role with certainty on what success looks like in your evolving biz.

  1. Stay open to evolving & editing your processes

-Just as a business grows and changes, processes grow and change. There may be a time when you need to remove, edit, or add new systems to replace the old. There may also be a time with your awesome talent suggests a more seamless way to evolve your dinosaur-age processes. Be open to collaborating, checking in about the flow, and allow your top talent to achieve some new track records for your internal processes.

Don’t let potential team players fall under tribulations.

I have witnessed that the best-of-the-best talent out there will often fall short in performance and career utopia, not because of skill or will…but because there was no foundation for them to connect to, in the core of the business.  Furthermore, it’s never a fair idea to bring on new talent with the inappropriate expectation that THEY will bring defined systems to you, in absence of your own. Remember, newness means that they are still green to your business mission and vision, and could potentially persuade their own (sometimes inappropriate) visions in the mix. Both scenarios will likely come to a screeching halt time and time again.

Know where your headed before you start the voyage.

Bottom line, it’s time to “process-up” if you want your people to be the greatest asset of your business.  Road-tripping without a GPS may feel fun at first, but the intended destination will never be found without a detailed map…and you probably also need someone great sitting ‘shot-gun’ to mentor that top talent along the journey!