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Keys to hiring and keeping top talent

Bill Lee sales & operations

Hiring good people is only half the battle. The other half is keeping them, especially in a relatively strong housing economy in which quality people are difficult to attract.

When I interview a newly hired employee, it’s sometimes like listening to a bride who recently returned from her honeymoon. What happened to all the bouquets of flowers, the love notes, and impromptu candlelight dinners that were so much a part of the dating process that convinced her that she was marrying such a thoughtful man? Much of the romance seems to slowly disappear soon after newlyweds settle into the routine of marriage.

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The same scenario often occurs when owners or managers bring in a sharp new employee that they have been romancing for several months trying to persuade him or her to leave their current job and join a new management team.

After completing a warm and professional hiring process with management, the new employee’s first day on the job can be a real shock. More times than not, the new hires report for work only to be greeted by a sea of quizzical looks from veteran workers who had no idea that they were scheduled to arrive.

Bringing a new employee into your company carries a lot of responsibility. How the onboarding process is handled is critical. A new employee’s initial impression of the company and the company’s first impression of them can make a big difference in attitudes and performance long-term.

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If managers will discipline themselves to follow a few well-thought-out procedures, they can create an environment that will increase the comfort level of both the new employees and their existing staff.

  1. Send a packet of information on your company, well in advance of the new employee’s first day on the job. This packet might include information on company policies, insurance, profit-sharing, and an organizational chart.
  2. Provide samples of your advertising material and anything else you believe will familiarize the new hires with the company.
  3. Advise the new employee’s co-workers of his or her arrival date, but be careful not to oversell the new employees’ (Existing employees are naturally a bit insecure anytime someone new comes on board, so over-selling can cause the new hire to be perceived as a somewhat of a threat.)
  4. See that the new employee’s workstation is prepared for their arrival. There’s nothing more frustrating than arriving on that first day on a new job and find that you have no desk, no place to sit, no computer, and no materials to work with.
  5. Hand new employees an activity schedule that you have planned for their first couple of weeks on the job.
  6. Assign a different co-worker to take your new hires to lunch each day, at least for the first week on the job, and include the co-workers name and job title on the activity schedule.
  7. Assign each new employee a mentor who has been around long enough to know the Be sure to select the mentor carefully. Choose mentors who are respected by their coworkers and who will unselfishly help the new employee’s orientation period become as pleasant as possible.
  8. If the new hire is from outside the area, be sure to arrange for his or her spouse to receive a welcome to the community.

Bill Lee is a respected sales and business consultant in the LBM industry. For more information, contact Bill at


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