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Why the Answer to Your Labor Woes Lies in Training, Not Hiring

Train your people to their strengths and watch productivity soar.

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“New hires are expensive.”
“People don’t want to work like they used to.”
“I can’t find good applicants.”
“Nobody shows up to work.”

I’VE HEARD EVERY complaint in the book about labor, and not just from jewelers. Having worked in economic development these last seven years, I’ve heard employers in nearly every industry say the same thing. So, if we all have the same problem, what is the solution?

Start by considering the words a wise man once taught me: If you want a great team, start with the one you already have!

Hiring and training someone new is time-consuming and costly. It can take weeks before a new hire knows and effectively communicates the ins and outs of what you offer customers. Look first at who is already on your team. They know the ins and outs already, and with a proper plan in place, they can elevate your business.

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Here are a few ways to consider coaching them further and avoid the immediate need for a new hire.

1. IDENTIFY STRENGTHS. On paper, list your team, and next to each name write their top strength. Ask yourself if you’re putting them in positions that play to their strengths. To do this, look at the strengths you’ve listed for them, write down the top two work tasks that will play to those strengths best, and then make it your priority as a leader to free them up for those tasks every day while avoiding the tasks they are weakest in.

2. TRAIN STRENGTHS OVER WEAKNESSES. If someone does a D- job in marketing, with training we can help them score a C in marketing. But if they do a B job at clienteling, we could train them into an A+ clienteling star. Instead of training bad to mediocre, train people from good to great. Who on your team is currently good at some skill? Offer them training in that area.

3. MAKE TRAINING STRENGTHS A PRIORITY. Build education costs into your budget and set aside at least 30 minutes each week for everyone to train on something. If you don’t sharpen your skills together regularly, then your effectiveness in the business will dull over time.

One company I worked with had lost half their staff but took these ideas to heart. Instead of immediately hiring new people, the team played to strengths, trained strengths, and made strength building a priority. With reduced staff, they still increased output and began to grow the business. By the time they hired new help, everyone on the team was already a trained ace in some area of the business. They all pitched in to help train the new hire, who in turn became an ace salesperson in six months.

Grow the team you’ve got today. There’s no telling what aces you have yet to develop who are already on your payroll.

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