Developing a Winning Team—How to Find Good People

Your company is a service business—people hire you to perform certain jobs. What differentiates you from your competitors is the quality of work you do and the experience your customers have with you and your team. Making sure each member of your team is able to service your customers with the skills they expect and, the experience they should have, is critical to making sure your business is successful. So, how do you find great people to add to your team?

Finding great people is a marathon, not a sprint.

Sometimes we're so desperate to add people to our team, especially when we are very busy with lots of work to do, that we'll quickly hire someone based on our first impressions or even without ever meeting them! Sometimes we're lucky with these "last-minute" hires, but, more often than not, they just don't work out. To find good people, you can't rely upon luck. You need to consistently be working to find them.

One of the best ways to make sure you find people who will work well with your existing team is to develop a long term relationship with them before you even consider hiring them. Just by talking, over time, you will find out a lot about a person and how they work. You will come to understand their personality, and their skill set better, just through your relationships. But, what does it take to develop long-term relationships? Here are three things you can do:

1. Always be networking.

Networking is really quite simple—it basically means just having conversations. Keep in mind that the best way to get others to help you is for you to help others first. The more people you offer to help, the more people who will be out there to help you when the time comes. If they learn that you are looking for a new employee, they just might raise their hand, or suggest someone they trust. Below are 5 great ways to help others while also building relationships that could easily come back and help you when you need to make your next hire.

  • Talk to your peers and other contractors—understand how their business/job is going. You might find that some of your peers or contractors no longer want to be on their own and are looking for a different work situation.
  • Be a mentor—if you meet someone who isn't directly competing with you, be a mentor. By being a mentor you are being a resource to someone. You are someone they can speak to periodically about installations, running their business, or whatever. Building this type of relationship will help you really get to know them too.
  • Join local associations and attend meetings—make it a point to meet 3-5 new people in your business every month. You'll be amazed at how valuable that network will become, well beyond helping you to find the right person when you need them.
  • Join your local chamber of commerce—and make it a point to attend meetings and look for ways to help others. Sometimes, it's as simple as introducing two other people you know. Each meeting will most likely bring in new contacts for you to meet adding more people in to your network for potential hires.
  • Just ask people "where you do your networking?" If you find someone you like—ask them where they go to meet people and try that out.

2. Encourage your employees to refer good people that they know

When looking for new people, make it known to your employees. Offer your employees an incentive to refer friends. How much is it worth to you to get a good person? Make the incentive enough to really get your team's attention.

When offering incentives, you should make the payment to your employee good after the new employee has been employed for at least 90 days. That way you and your employee know that the new individual needs to work out.

3. Tap into local educational opportunities

  • You can meet many people through educational opportunities—some who will be looking for employment and some who could make recommendations of people to hire.
  • Teach a course or host an introductory session about your business at your local technical school
  • Attend classes at your local technical school– this might be a good source for you to find plumbers who are committed to their profession; they are interested in keeping their skills current/learning new technologies and this says something about their work ethic
  • Seek out continuing education—community colleges & local associations offer continuing education [Need to add list of local associations ]
  • Attend Counter days—a great way to meet manufactures' reps & other plumbers who might know of potential employees for you

We hope that you will be committed to networking and to help in this effort, we've created a quick "Tip Sheet" on networking for you. Click here for 10 networking tips to keep close at hand.

Ready to hire? Make sure you perform your due diligence first

Finding great people to add to your team can be a lot of work, but the results well worth it. Before you extend your offer, though, make sure you perform your due diligence for any new hire. In our next article we'll discuss this important part of the hiring process in much more detail.