Sorting my socks - On the most recent snowy Sunday, I took the opportunity to dig through the bag of dress socks that sits in the laundry room and create matching pairs. For those of you who are familiar with this exercise in futility, it can be a daunting process. It might be a better idea and an easier process, if I bought all of the same socks, but that would be boring.
Dress socks come in a variety of styles. Although I tend to focus on black socks, there are countless variations in pattern and fit. Being slightly obsessive, I need to ensure that the socks are a match. As we all know, the sock monster in the dryer is to blame for the large pile of single unmatched socks that remain in the bag after the process is complete. I am not quick to discard these socks as I am hopeful that the match will reappear.
In many ways, employees are like socks. They come in a wide variety of styles and talents, some of which are not readily apparent. When you find an employee that matches their job description and they are performing well, all is good. When you have an employee who struggles in their position, do you throw them out? I suggest you look at alternatives. Is it possible that the hiring process has failed and you have tried to put a round peg in a square hole? How good was the training program?
There is a story of an Army General who died and went to Heaven and Saint Peter asked him if there was anyone he wanted to meet. The General requested to meet the greatest military strategist that ever lived. Saint Peter pointed to an old man, worn by years of toil. The General replied “That man was the gardener on the Army Base” to which Saint Peter replied, “No one ever asked his opinion.”
Take the extra time to find out what makes your employees tick. What are their strengths and capabilities? Do they have skills that were never explored in the interview? Are they really in the right job? Could they benefit from community service (a chamber committee for example)? You may find a diamond where you thought you had coal. You will learn some great information and they will appreciate the interest. Start digging!