SCORE column: Skills for successful hiring include being clear about what is expected of the worker and the boss

One of our former SCORE mentors, Dave Evert, taught me a process to help focus small business leaders on hiring staff. You take a sheet of paper, 8 1/2 inch by 11 inch, and break it into four quadrants.


As a SCORE mentor, I find helping small business owners to develop their skills in dealing with employees is important.

Many simply don’t like the drama of hiring and firing, dealing with troublesome or disruptive employees or worrying about government rules and regulations just to name some of the issues. Also, how often have I heard, “It takes so long for them to do it and then it’s not the way I wanted it.” That comment can be summed up as a poor selection of the person asked to do the task or lack of training. Like it or not, most of us owning and growing a business need to build a team.

One of our former SCORE mentors, Dave Evert, taught me a process to help focus small business leaders on hiring staff. You take a sheet of paper, 8 1/2 inch by 11 inch, and break it into four quadrants.

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You title each quarter page as follows.


  • The upper left section is titled, “Things I like to do and am good at doing these things.”

  • The section just to the right is titled, “Things I would like to do but don’t know how to do.”

  • The lower left section is titled, “Things I don’t like to do but will do."

  • And finally, in the lower right of the sheet is, “Things I don’t like to do and won’t do.“

How’s that for a quick guide to the talents you’d first bring into the company? This process would also have a positive impact on your time management and productivity.
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All leaders have their own style of management. I learned that early on in my career. The president of the company moved on to a different, larger firm. A new president was hired and within two months all, but one person who directly reported to the individual resigned. The owners brought in a consultant to figure out what was going on. It was the management style of each president.

The first was a West Point graduate and would call each department head into the office and tell them what he wanted them to accomplish this week. The new person gave the staff the responsibility to hit the targets set and when they came with issues, he’d ask, “OK, what is your solution to fix the problem?” The department heads were not comfortable operating that way, so they moved on. The new hires were able to flourish in that management style and the company continued its growth trends. Company culture matters.

Some thoughts on what an employer “owes” the employee and in return what are the employees’ responsibilities to the owner.

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Owner/leader first

  • A safe working environment.

  • A clear job description. What is expected from the employee and how will the performance be measured. Define acceptable performance.

  • An employee handbook that describes the company’s policies, such as clocking in, penalties for misbehavior (such as not calling in when sick, purposely causing disruption in the process or breaking safety rules.) Also, the good stuff like paid vacation and holidays should be included.

  • Regular written performance reviews with the discussions back and forth. This is not the time to discuss wages. The employee should, at that meeting, set personal goals for improving their contribution to the business.

  • Orientation into the company including introduction to fellow team members, location of the break room, bathrooms and where to store personal items.

  • Respect.

  • A commitment to terminate the employee if they don’t fit. It’s not kind to keep a person on the payroll when it’s an obvious mismatch.

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Now what should an employer expect from an employee?

  • Good attendance.

  • Care of company assets.

  • Maintain a clean workplace.

  • Meeting or exceeding the standard performance.

  • Suggestions regarding constant improvement of output and quality.

  • Relating well with fellow teammates.

  • Making themselves more valuable as an employee.

  • Respect for the owner.

  • Respect for confidentiality and non-disclosure of information.

  • Participate in and maintain a safe workplace.

The above listing of responsibilities by each group is not complete. Its value is to point out both parties have responsibilities in the relationship and to clearly state the owner/leader has the responsibility to lead.
In closing, when working with small business owners, we talk about transitioning out of the business at some future date. The value of the business is determined in part by how well the owner has grown from doing everything to becoming a manager of the business and finally to be the leader with a team that does well operating the business and the owner tweaks the procedures when necessary. Lead and prosper. Your SCORE team is here to help.

As a resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration, SCORE - which offers free business mentoring and education -- notes the organization has helped more than 11 million entrepreneurs through mentoring, workshops and educational resources since 1964. The nonprofit SCORE was previously known as the Service Corps of Retired Executives.
Dick Jordan, certified SCORE mentor. , 218-251-4413
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