3 Keys to Success When Hiring Employees

Do you currently have employees?   If you don’t, this is the best time to be reading this post.  If you do have employees or freelancers, what has been your biggest challenge?  I’ve seen businesses flourish when they have a star employee, but struggle and sometimes fail when their star employee quits.  It can be stressful, time-consuming, and costly to replace a great employee. What should you do if your star employee wants to quit?   Find out the top things you should do to ensure your business’ long-term success when hiring and employing your first employees.

Having a star employee can be a blessing and a curse…

3 Must-Haves When Hiring Employees

#1 – Role & Responsibilities – Make sure you clearly define the role, have a list of key responsibilities, and you communicate any major deadlines. As the position evolves, make sure changes are documented so nothing slips through the cracks if your star employee quits. Having role and key responsibilities documented will help you manage expectations with employees.

  • Real-life Case Story: I had an acquaintance once share that he had recently gotten a promotion and job title change, but didn’t get a new list of responsibilities from his boss.  Unfortunately, he didn’t realize that creating a specific monthly report was one of his new tasks, and his boss was upset that he showed up at the next manager meeting without the report.

#2 -Procedures Manual – This manual should include detailed descriptions and instructions for how to perform key tasks, allowing a new employee to quickly get up to speed.  This can be a written document or video. Videos are great if certain tasks require using a software program, and showing how to navigate and use the software while completing these tasks would be helpful.

  • Real-life Case Story: One of my colleagues was in the middle of a product launch, and her star employee was dealing with a family crisis and just stopped showing up to work and responding to emails without notice.  My colleague panicked as she didn’t have time to train anyone that quickly and customers had already been communicated key deadlines, so she ended up having to do all the work herself.
  • Tip: If your business has started and you already have employees, ask your employees to create this manual. It can be more effective if it’s created by the person who regularly performs the tasks.
  • Tip: If your employee prefers talking through her tasks instead of writing, you can offer for her to record audio files.  Then, you can have someone transcribe the audio file.  I’ve used Rev.com to transcribe several interview recordings at $1 per minute and have been really pleased with the turnaround time and results.

#3 – Incentives – Are you effectively rewarding and incentivizing your employees? Understand what drives them and offer bonuses, perks, and rewards to get in front of having to deal with resignations and needing to counter-offer.

  • Real-life Case Story: I live in the suburbs of North Carolina, and it’s difficult to find a good Chinese restaurant.  While a restaurant might be good the first couple of times that I eat there, often by the time I return a few months later, the main chef has turned over and the restaurant is in danger of shutting down due to slow business (or has already closed).  My dad found out that the main chefs at these “good” Chinese restaurants would get better salary offers from competing restaurants, and would job hop to whoever gave them the best offer every few months.
  • Tip: My dad shared with me that he never had a problem with losing his best chef when he owned a couple of Chinese restaurants back in the 80s and 90s. His secret?  He offered profit sharing to his main chefs (and paid the highest salary in the region), incentivizing them to stay and perform (aka, cook) at their best. 


Having to replace a great employee requires time and energy to interview candidates, hire and on-board, and train.  There are studies that report on average, it cost about $4,000 to train and on-board a new employee.  If you already have a star employee, make sure you have all three of these key success factors in place.  When your star employee has already mentally checked out and has given notice, you don’t want to play catch up and hope that your star employee will help you document everything before he or she leaves. And if you don’t have employees yet, take the time to decide upfront how you want to manage and define these factors to save time, money, and heartache when having to deal with employee turnover.

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