Involving your workers in the hiring process may be a winning strategy for all concerned. Here's why.
This involvement boosts employee morale simply because your crew feels more empowered and more engaged in the fate of your tire dealership or service shop.
It also helps you identify solid hiring prospects more often—not to mention screen out potential “problem children” you failed to recognize.
And your employees' assistance may speed up the hiring process more than you imagined, thereby freeing you up to focus on other business issues.
Mind you, we all make mistakes. For instance, you may be in a company that's large enough to have its own human resources (HR) department.
You might recall that, at one time or another, the HR folks endorsed a troublemaker and/or passed over a dull but thorough worker. That said, perhaps you and your managers also have misjudged new hires and ended up regretting it. (In fact, I'll bet you have!)
Many owners and managers I've met have said that evaluating potential new hires is one of the most dreaded tasks they do. They say this because it's a difficult, challenging chore—especially when it involves hiring new technicians because, let's face it, techs are the backbone of the business.
Therefore, some owners and managers involve their technicians in that specific hiring decision. Their reasoning is that they can use all the help they can muster for an insightful, accurate assessment of the potential new hire.
“Nobody knows technicians like another group of technicians,” one owner told me. “Repeatedly, I have told the guys in my service department that they have to live with a new hire day in, day out—but I don't. So, they'll help make the decision.”
It's interesting to note that this particular shop owner also requires his techs to clean and maintain the bays themselves. They're paid to do so, he said, so they only have themselves to blame if working conditions are unsatisfactory.
There are several ways to arrange informal but efficient meetings with a prospective new hire. This particular shop owner, who has run a thriving service shop for 25 years, prefers to get his techs and a potential new hire together. He orders pizzas and iced tea for everyone. They all meet in the shop's lunch room, then he leaves them in total privacy. Later, one of the techs locks up the shop as if it was just another routine day.
Once again, this privacy allows them to speak candidly to each other about life, work, aspirations, disappointments, common hobbies or interests—the gamut of things people might conceivably discuss in these settings. They also do a tour of the shop and discuss its equipment, operating style and customs or culture.
The boss told me that this informal dinner and bull session also helps clarify and reinforce to the hiring prospect the same concepts and attitudes he himself has taught his crew over the years.
Hearing these things from a potential co-worker adds credibility to whatever the owner may have discussed with the person during the traditional job interview, he added.
Later on, this shop owner discusses the possible new hire with each of his existing technicians—but does so privately. He told me he believes that it's only human nature to speak candidly when the conversation is one-on-one.
During the time he has run his shop, the owner acknowledged the process hasn't yielded many surprises or created any discord. On the other hand, he has considered the positive reinforcement it did provide as being invaluable.
Meantime, I welcome your comments on methods you may have used to evaluate potential new hires.