Making Your Agency A Top Performer

Selecting the right people for your agency may be the most important thing you do, when it comes to achieving your goals. So, I want to make it real clear – here are some tools that, if used, will improve your agency performance. Hiring Top Performers, in your agency is no longer a dream. It is a possibility – No, it is a probability.

Let’s start where most of us “hangout,” right now.

Many agency owners view themselves as excellent judges of character and as experts at the hiring process. Some are right, but many, if not most, are wrong, dead wrong. The reason is simple; if you are an Agency owner you have other duties and responsibilities that may not be as important as hiring a better person, but are certainly more urgent. Let’s face facts; running an agency often seems more important than running it well.

I have always believed and found it true, that most of us are best suited doing the things we like to do and while we may be able to do other things, we are really good at only one or two things.

For those Agency owners that are not great at hiring, you are not alone. Many agencies struggle and even fail because the owner/founder fails to realize that hiring is, possibly, the single most important activity within an agency and they are just not good at it. Hint: if you are not good at something stop doing it. Find someone who is good at it, because Mis-Hires are very costly, some even as high as six figures.

The costs of a hiring failure is great and even though the cost of a Mis-Hire does not show up as a line item on the P & L Statement, it is there, none the less. According to the United States Department of Labor, a Mis-Hire can cost as much as $250,000 or more. Even at the lowest level, a bad hire of an hourly employee can cost as much as $50,000. Whether it is $250,000 or $50,000, a poor hire can cost your agency plenty.

Some of the ways a bad hire can cost you and your agency are:

• Poor customer service resulting in the loss of a customer and the revenue they contribute

• Poor reviews from customers resulting in a poor or bad reputation and ability to grow

• Negative effects on your agency culture affecting the attitude of others

• Missing deadlines and commitments with companies

I could go on but I believe you get the point – a Mis-Hire is costly, avoid them if at all possible.

There are some positions where a Mis-Hire doesn’t matter, but in an agency setting, it is right at the top of list of “things to be avoided.” Here are a few steps that should be taken, when hiring at the agency level.

First, know what your Agency objective is. Is the objective, growth, or is it customer service or both. Regardless of what it may be, know what you want and when you want it. In other words be specific about what you want. Growth or customer service may mean one thing to you but something entirely different to someone else.

Second, what is the Agency culture you wish to communicate? Is it a culture of work/life balance, sharing, customer caring, excellence, or any one of many others? Again, be specific about how the outcome will look.

Third, exactly what is the job being filled and what are the needs of the job? By “job needs” I mean, clearly define the education, skills, TALENTS and GOALS someone, in the job, would need to have and use to excel. Close attention should be paid to the talents, when Non Profit Growth looking for someone to fill the position, if for no other reason than, skills can be taught and education is often out of your control -it is what it is, but talent is either there or it is not. Talents are those attributes that jobs need and people have. Plugging people, who have the right talents, into jobs that need those talents, goes a long way toward making it easier to achieve the objective of the job.

Fourth, what are the education, skills, talents and goals of the candidate being considered and do they match the needs of the job. You will likely need to use 2 tools other than those you already use to identify the talents and goals of the candidate under consideration. A word of caution here; it is very trendy to say, and even believe, that past performance is a good indicator or future performance, the truth is that past performance may be a good indicator of future performance if nothing has changed. But, how often does that occur?

Fifth, and maybe most important of all, make certain that you have enough people in your “consideration pipeline” to allow you to make a selection from qualified candidates, not limiting your choices to candidates that don’t have what you want. Not one factor will have a greater impact on the quality of your hire than inadequate sourcing.

Sixth, have an official offer letter that expires within 14 days. An offer letter is official and an expiration date is important to you because you want someone who can make a decision in a reasonable period of time and you don’t want to have to call them back to see if they accepted your offer.

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