Contractors: How to Hire for Increased Bandwidth
I just returned from the Bay area speaking in front of a great group of integrators that were attending an event at Custom Plus Distributing. Within the group we had the usual assorted crew of company principals of diversely sized contractors.
They all agreed on one thing…they are busy. With many quoting lead times as far out as 3 or 4 months (to begin new engagements). If you are quoting more than 2 weeks of lead-time, we feel you are at risk of losing great gigs.
Working 55-60 hours a week for 10 straight years does not improve your lifestyle. It does not improve your standard of living and we can make a very credible argument that your quality of life is lowered. Working harder and longer would fall on the negative end of the healthy work/life discussion.
As the group engaged this topic the discussion quickly evolved into a discussion on how growth happens and how the real challenge is deciding when and who to Hire. Where do we find elite team members?
The group basically admitted : Our throughput limitation is holding us hostage.
Engage the concept of increasing “bandwidth”. At some point that means that we hire talent – there are three distinct facets to look at:
How will we pay for ‘em?
What qualities does the individual need to have?
The Personal & Hard Skills:
– Technical competencies or at least aptitude in the disciplines of our org.
– Gets along with the team
– Has Integrity
– Has great employee demeanor (shows up on time, good work attentiveness, takes a shower once in a while, etc.)
– Very curious
– Likes to learn
– Is evangelical about technology that engages customers
– Figures out how to blow through technical challenges
– Knows and maintains the companies (and clients) best interest when making on job-site decisions.
– What is our orgs ability to absorb a driven, talent laden new personality into the group? Don’t overlook this – You may be the very reason that you have problems retaining new talent. We see this way more in our industry than is reasonable.
Face it – when you add a bloke to your boat – it is going to rock.
So where do we find these freaks of nature?
Look at it from a different angle if we do not figure this bandwidth thing out: Our lifestyle will deteriorate.
1) Hire someone before you need them. The trick is to have some wiggle room in your schedule; to train, mentor and learn with and from new talent (If the company slows down, furlough them quickly.)
2) Make it work. This means that you take your time and do a thorough interview. Be crystal clear about your culture, your management style and what you and the potential employee expects.
Check Out This Case Study:
Examine for a moment that chuckle-head that runs Kaleidescape. He keeps burning through what appears to be great talent. Don’t get us wrong and no offense to their newly hired Dave Donald, we love him, and their products. We wish him and the organization nothing but complete success. But, in talking with a few of the great people that have gone through that system – it seems that there are some very valid issues and challenges that are internal in nature. The positions, gig, and management style: Were they accurately represented to prospective new hires?
Could that happen to your business too? Why not? If it can happen to an organization full of smart people, like K-scape, why not you too? It points to one thing; an accurate hiring process. Hit what you’re aiming at, but be a straight shooter, with yourself and your prospective hire. That means taking a real close look at your org and your open position(s). Be honest with yourself and your prospects. Get additional input and perspective.
However you handle it, getting a “perfect fit” employee will keep those good jobs in YOUR que, where they belong. If you hire right, your lifestyle will increase, along with your profits. If your backlog keeps growing, it’s time to boost your bandwidth.
Please, forward this to anyone else who’d enjoy it.
Hey, here at WELD2, we’ve been various facets of the custom AV industry… over 100 years between us. Yep, the “H”s DMI and DTV were just a gleam in some engineers’ eyes back then, but we were selling in-walls and home theaters (with LaserDiscs and Beta!) You know, customers haven’t changed much in 35 years of custom!
What have we learned? A crap-load, but this is huge:
There’s always time for the critical job of staying in touch with your existing customers, and keeping that relationship strong.
If you can’t find the time to do it right, we can help. It’s what we do, and for a ridiculous value (and we make it easy).
What’s the most important brand you sell? Maybe JBL, Sonance, Crestron, or Denon?
It’s YOURS! Here’s how to build your brand
Check it out!
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