Hate it when an employee quits because I have to train someone new, how about you? Here are a couple ways to make this less painful. Organize around functions and pay competitive wages whether they’re related or not.
Organize around Functions, Not People: I remember when my first employee “quit on me.” Had hired her as part-time bookkeeper and then trained her in setting type. Then, when she quit, I found myself looking for a typesetter who knew double-entry bookkeeping. Impossible. So, organize around functions; not people. Hire a part-time bookkeeper. And hire a part-time typesetter if needed. Then you will have a much broader pool of people to select from when replacing them as you will be recruiting for a bookkeeper or a typesetter, not someone who can do both.
Pay competitive wages and benefits whether they’re related or not. A bookkeeper in San Antonio earns between $10-$20 an hour with the median (typical) at $14. Don’t care how brilliant your bookkeeper is or if they have a Master’s degree in Accountancy or how long they have worked for a bigger company (halo effect), you need a bookkeeper whose pay should typically be $14 an hour and top out at $20 for now at least.
On the flip side, I don’t care if your cousin is willing to do the job for $8 an hour, they should be paid a minimum of $10. Why? Well, it’s nearly impossible for you to discipline your cousin because they might quit. And if they do, well, where will you get a bookkeeper for $8 an hour which is all you can afford? Pay them $10 at least and then their lack of performance will irritate you to the point that you will change them out or they’ll perform. Either way, focus on the function which is bookkeeping.
The family corollary to this is when we pay Junior based on what he NEEDS. His wife just had a baby, he needs a raise. They buy a house in a nicer suburb than where you live, so he needs a raise. And so on until we end up with a $50k bookkeeper in a $400k print shop. Pay Junior and Junior Miss based on their function. Fact is, do that with everyone. And, if they NEED more, then they should be doing something that is more valuable to the business and thus earn more or they need to go get a real job paying them what they NEED.
The flip side of the family corollary is that our kids aren’t indentured servants. Fact is, they’re no longer kids when they are emancipated or out on their own. So, you need to pay them what they could earn if they did something else. And if you can’t, then you need to allow them to go out and do that something else. Tough but doable.
So, pay competitive wages and benefits whether the employee is related to you or not.
Tips on How to Train
How in the heck do you train someone when you have all this other stuff to do? Besides, they can’t do it as well as I can.
Let’s start with the fact no one can do it as well as we can. Most would agree with that. But can they, through training, do it at least 80% as well as you can? Most agree that’s possible. Okay, so when you have two people who can do it 80% as well as you; then they can do 160% of what you can do. That’s the whole principle of delegation and organizing.
Now, how do you do it.
To train someone to help you, you delegate authority. Note that’s not abdication. If you don’t like to sell, you just can’t hire someone to go sell for you. Selling is one of the prime functions of the business as is getting production out and maintaining finances.
So, you, the owner and person running the business is responsible for “getting jobs out, getting job in, and getting paid.” But that leaves you being a one-person business. So, hire someone TO HELP YOU get jobs out. This doesn’t relieve you of the responsibility to make sure jobs get out, but you may delegate authority for someone to prepare files and output on the digital do-dad.
Okay, so they have the authority to prepare files, etc. That doesn’t mean they WILL prepare files the way they are needed. That’s where responsibility comes into play.
I delegate to you the authority to prepare files; but you must step up to the responsibility of preparing files. And note that they must do that. You can’t do it for them. How many have worked for you who avoid responsibility? “You tell me exactly what to do, boss, and I’ll getter done. But don’t expect me to do anything that you haven’t told me explicitly to do.”
Now here’s a point. There are people who are functionally untrainable because they will never accept responsibility to do their job. And if they’re untrainable, no amount of having them hang around the shop will change that.
On the flip side, we usually don’t know how to train. Oh sure, we can show them stuff but training requires more than that. It requires supervision.
Six Levels to Supervise Training of Workers
Let’s say you hire a graphic designer or someone who wants to be one. Here’s a scenario of steps we could take in practical training. Note that this is done to build TRUST. No matter what kind of credentials they have, you need to be able to trust them to do the job. And until they’ve proven themselves, you can’t trust they can. So, the speed at which you run through these various levels may vary greatly.
Level One: I specify what you will do, you go do it and bring it to me to check, and I will decide.
This could be specifying what you want done as in marking up a job for typesetting. Then they bring it to you to check. Either have them make corrections or approve it to go forward.
Once you trust them to be able to do this, move on to the next level.
Level Two: they specify and show you alternatives as what they intend to do and make a recommendation; you decide whether to proceed or change.
Level Three: they specify, report to you what they intend to do and await your approval.
Level Four: they specify, report what they intend to do and then do it unless you override within a specific time.
Level Five: they specify, do it and then report to you what they did.
Level Six: they specify, do it and no further communication is necessary.
Start by maintaining a “short lead” and allow them more lead as they prove to you that you can trust them. This same concept can be used in sales or in any other type of situation where the person reports directly to you.
And that’s it.
Don’t just hire a graphic designer, put them in front of the computer and expect them to do a great job without supervision. Fact is, don’t hire anyone and expect that. They must earn your trust.
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