KPIs for Growth: Measuring Hiring and Onboarding

Employees are the engine that power your business success. But business owners often underestimate the cost of a new team member

So what are those costs? Roughly 30% of that person’s first-year salary. 

Make a bad hire, and those costs will skyrocket. 

74% of surveyed businesses have made the mistake of hiring the wrong person for the job. So if this is a misstep you’ve made, you’re not alone.

So don’t feel too down about it. Tomorrow’s another day and this is something we can fix so you never make the same mistake again.  

An airtight hiring and onboarding process is critical for your agency’s bottom line and will keep the wrong candidates out of your system. 

With the right hiring and onboarding KPIs, you’ll improve the quality of the hire while streamlining the hiring process. 

These KPIs will work for both in-person and remote hiring. Let’s break them down. 

How Putting Aces in Their Places Benefits Your Agency

Introverts make great front desk receptionists! No, no, they don’t. 

Bad hires can sap your team’s productivity and performance. They also risk legal fees for unlawful termination. 

You want to make sure you have the right person for a position. Otherwise, the costs of a bad hire will eat into your revenue stream. 

Here are just a few of the benefits hiring the right person for the job for your agency:

  • Decrease the time and expense of training
  • Improve employee morale
  • Increase retention rates
  • Make customers happy with better customer service

Using KPIs for onboarding and hiring will also reduce the costs of reviewing resumes, recruitment fees, and time spent interviewing. 

Time to Hire KPI

Recruiters and hiring managers, listen up: 

If you’re going to master any of these KPIs, make this one a top priority. 

How come? Because the time to hire KPI helps you:

  • Optimize your application process
  • Protect your company’s productivity, revenue, and brand image
  • Ensure that you’re interviewing only the top candidates

On average, and depending on the industry, time to hire can take anywhere from 14 to 63 days. 

Let’s think about this for a hot minute. You’ve got an exciting, well-paid position available that you want to fill asap. 

Your job ad is drool-worthy and laser-targeted to your ideal candidate. It’s being advertised freaking everywhere. 

So, who do you think is going to jump at the chance to apply and try to snag this top-notch position first?

Hint: it won’t be the forks when all you need is a knife. 

Your best candidates are going to apply early in the process. Take too long to hire and have a lengthy hiring process, and your best and brightest will drop out. 

What’s left? A pool of mediocre candidates that, if you hire, can hurt your brand image and productivity. Ugh. That’s some rain on your wedding day. 

If you notice a lot of candidates starting an application but not finishing, then you might need to tweak your application and hiring process. 

Time to Hire = Date of Hire – Date Candidate Enters the Pipeline

Quality of Hire KPI

Ensure that your new employees have A’s across their employee scorecard with the quality of hire KPI. 

To measure this KPI, you’ll need to go through your retention and performance data. 

You’ll also want to measure how your new hires fit in with the company. 

Are you experiencing new hires leaving within the first six months? Then you’re probably screening for the wrong traits. 

Also, this KPI can help you determine where you’ve found your best hires, like social media, job boards, or references.

(Performance + Productivity + Retention) / N = Quality of Hire

Measuring Time to Productivity

Time to productivity measures how long it takes for a new hire to meet performance level expectations. Setting a KPI here will help you uncover any cracks in your onboarding process. 

The exact KPI you set to measure time to productivity will vary across teams. But suffice it to say, it shouldn’t differ too much from one person to the next within a particular group. 

Keep These Marketing Agency Hiring and Onboarding Best Practices in Mind

Before you start measuring your KPIs for growth, take the following action steps:

  • Be consistent — Use the same onboarding process for each new hire. Consistency will make it easier to extract meaningful data from the hiring process. 
  • Be warm — During the hiring process, candidates are looking at your agency with a sharp eye, wondering if they’re making the right choice. Make candidates feel welcome during the onboarding process so they won’t feel unappreciated and bail. 
  • Think of it as a relationship — Think it’s done and over after hiring? Not so. Guide your new hires and develop them after the onboarding process is done. This will help them stay engaged and feel appreciated enough to stay with you for the long haul. 

Is the hiring process an exercise in frustration for you? 

Get some of your time back with our free Hiring Hacks Guide. And keep these hiring and onboarding KPIs in mind when you’re ready to add a new member to your team. 

Gimme!

What to do when a top employee takes leave

It’s going to happen one way or another.

Maybe it’s because she gets pregnant. Maybe it’s because she gets sick. Maybe he takes a sabbatical or finds a new job. Whatever the reason, one day your top employee is going to tell you they need extended time off.

And in that moment, if you don’t read this article, you’re totally screwed.

The good news is, you’re reading this article, so there’s hope for you yet, youngblood.

You see, here’s what most people do when their top employee leaves:

Freak out and have a nuclear meltdown.

Take on all the work themselves, pretending like everything is fine.

Dump it on some poor, helpless, unsuspecting employee.

Panic, hire someone random and hope they can figure it out.

No, no, no!

What you need to do is create a plan NOW, so that you’re prepared for this moment when it comes. When you prepare, you’ll be able to absorb the shock of the impact without much damage to the business. If you don’t prepare, well, see “freak out and have a meltdown.”

Today I want to share three ways you can prepare for the inevitable loss of your top employee, whether it’s temporary or permanent.

Step #1: Find the docs

One of the biggest challenges owners face when an employee leaves is figuring out where everything the employee was working on is. Is it on their desktop in some folder? Some dungeon drive that hasn’t seen the light of day in years? Even worse, is it in their head, physically inaccessible to anyone besides your employee (at least until Elon Musk creates his brain linking company)?

Before it’s too late, build a clear structure for documentation that all of your employees understand and follow, and create a consistent naming structure so that documents are easily searchable.

Step #2: Track progress

Ah yes, the age-old question: Is my employee almost done with that client deliverable or have they yet to start?

If you don’t have clear insight into your employee’s progress on client work, you might as well be working alone. As the owner of your business, you need to be steering the ship in the right direction, but the only way you can do that is if your employees are rowing.

To solve this issue, implement a project management system with clear workflows, so you always know where any project is. This allows you to easily handoff work to different employees when another one has delays or roadblocks.

Do this and you’ve suddenly got a ship full of vikings, all rowing together towards Valhalla ($$$).

Step 3: Handoffs

Oh damn! Did I just say handoffs?

Why yes, yes I did.

When you’re employee says they’re going to take leave, who is going to handle their workload? Plan this out BEFORE they leave.

Can you shift their workload to one or two other people on the team? If this is your plan, do those employees have the capacity? You don’t want to shift the workload to people who can’t handle it.

Will you hire a temporary employee who will fill the gap while they’re gone? If so, how will you get them up to speed?

Will you promote another employee to take on the workload and then hire a new employee to fill that employee’s space?

Or will you hire someone new who will continue working with you when your #1 returns? If so, where will you find them?

These are all critical questions to ask before they’re necessary to answer.

So there you have it…

When you’re adequately prepared for your employees to leave, you can actually mean it when you congratulate your #1 employee when she tells she’s pregnant. 

ScaleTime Tips:

  1. Make sure everyone on the team has access to documents and client progress
  2. Make sure you have access to progress
  3. Make sure you can easily hand off their work

Have you ever lost your top employee before? If so, how did you handle it?

 

Performance Evaluations

What type of student were you back in the day?

When it was time for report cards, were you rushing to show your parents your grades?

Or were you rushing to trash the report card before they could ever see them?

Great entrepreneurs are cut from both cloths.

But one thing few entrepreneurs realize is that report cards are a crucial part of growing your business.

The only difference is that they’re not called report cards, they’re called performance evaluations.

A lot of people recoil at this idea, but it’s not as cringeworthy as you think…

… and it could be the key you’ve been looking for to retain and develop good talent.

Think about it.

When you knew you had a killer report card, how did you feel? Were you nervous, or ashamed? No! You were on top of the world and you wanted everyone to know.

A lot of business owners feel weird “grading” their employees. But from your perspective, nothing could make more sense than a regular performance review.

First of all, it pushes you to keep track of your employee’s performance. Your money is going into their pockets, so I’d say it’s pretty damn important to know if that investment is paying off. You want to see if they’re delivering on expectations you set when they started off, or if they’re over or under delivering.

By doing it regularly, you get the chance to quickly course correct if things are going off the rails and address the cause of the issue.

If you’ve got an employee who’s crushing it, they’re going to be excited to get the evaluation, and you’re going to be happy to deliver it. It gives you a structured way to provide positive feedback, while providing an easy environment to deliver constructive feedback.

If you have an employee who isn’t performing no matter what, the evaluations are a way to let them know there’s an issue, and even let them go, in a way that is fair and objective.

In addition, performance evaluations are perfect times to set new goals with your employees. These goals should be a mix of goals for the business, but also development goals that are personally important to your employees. By helping your employees develop where they want to grow, you’re not only empowering them and building a deeper connection to the business, but you are also creating more skilled employees.

I understand the gut reaction against performance evaluations, but if you’re running a business, you know what needs to be done is rarely easy.

As Tim Ferriss says, “A person’s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have.”

If you’re ready to get started with performance evaluations for your employees, then you should check out my free template that gives you everything you need to get started.

Check out the performance evaluation template here.

Try it out and let me know how it goes. It may feel awkward the first few times you do it, but it will become easier with each one, and your business will be better off.

Google Sites Intranet: Free, Easy & Accessible Intranet Solution

Juliana, “Where do I put all this documentation?”

You are hiring people or want to be and in order to delegate current responsibilities, you have to make sure this new Rockstar can actually do their job without a bunch of hand holding. In order to do this, you need to train. You might be thinking you need to upgrade from google sheets or dropbox for your instructions, operating procedures or documentation to be able to train others. You may be in a couple of positions

    1.  I’ve got nada
    1.  I got a bunch of docs but they were updated in the stone age
    1.  I got docs but they are all over the place and when I onboard someone I’d rather give verbal instructions because it’s faster than finding where I put stupid the doc (tear)
  1.  I’ve reached enlightenment and am going through all of my processes to create a business that exists without me (ohhhh yeah baby)

What’s an easy, accessible, affordable way to house your docs?

An intranet or wiki of sorts.

ScaleTime Hack:  if you live in the google suites world, google.sites

You want to set up your hierarchy and create pages in terms of your core procedures ie. sales, marketing, onboarding clients, client fulfillment, team hiring and onboarding.

Think about this as your future teams. When you delegate you can delegate a whole section to a team.

Adding a page is easy

You can set up your sub pages as particular recurring tasks and instructions inside that procedure.

It looks cleaner if the information goes directly into the instruction pages.

If you already have things written in other docs – you can easily copy paste into the page that you are creating.

For training purposes, insert video or maps to make faster to delegate.

Bonus Tip: Insert link to the specific page when you add your task in workflow templates in your project manager. This will allow team members to always have a reference point to click on and make life easier as training and resources are a click away.

How to deal with my team’s systems resistance

You saw the light!  

Whether you are tired of repeating the same tasks over and over again and want to automate the process or you just got tired of asking where your team was on their projects – you decided to get yourself a systems tool. You did the research, you weighed the pros and cons, you implemented it, you deployed it to the team, you are so excited about all the headache this is going to save you and now…

THE UGLY RESISTANCE.

Juliana “I have a new systems tool, but my team doesn’t want to use it? Now what?!?!”

I get this question from business owners and their team leads all the time.

Team members ranging from your freelancers to your businesses’ #2 create resistance and it typically looks like one form or another of …

Well, I don’t want to (the bratty resistance)

Why do I have to (the rebellious resistance)

Not part of my job (the diva resistance)

It’s boring/meh (the ennui resistance)

I didn’t have to do this before (the status quo resistance)

I didn’t do this in other places (the comparison resistance – mostly contractor’s response)

The resistance is a lot of white noise that usually stems from  2 factors:

  1. Robots are going to take over the world … (not really – kinda) but they see this “ systems tool” as a threat to their job. This tool creates efficiency and transparency that will in effect make them much easily replaceable. The dirty truth is that it does – it makes a lot of the mindless repetitive work that your staff is doing faster so they need to step up their game and can’t hide behind you not seeing the inefficiencies running the clock and costing you money.
  2. They see this as more unnecessary work you just piled on top of them. Let’s face it, they don’t need to see the big picture so there is absolutely no incentive to track or measure the work they are already doing when their priority is just getting that work done.

How do we address the issue?

  • Make it a part of their job – whether you are on boarding a new person or retraining an old person this is the new norm. You set the expectation that this is now a job requirement – not a suggestion.
  • Everything is awesome! You paint the picture that this tool is going to save them time and allow them to work on the higher level tasks that they actually enjoy and will reduce a lot of the grunt work of the job that they don’t. Every single time a client’s A-player has had huge resistance to adopting a system and they finally do the response “epiphany” that they share with my clients’ is “why didn’t we do this earlier”.  

Every. Single. Time.  

Poor performing players, on the other hand, well, you just got visibility into who is performing and not. [link to hiring] This is a good time to update those job descriptions.

Sidebar – if it’s a CRM tool that you are deploying you can state that CRMs make increase sales by 29% more when you use a CRM – hence cha ching! more mula for everyone!

Help them help you. Using a new tool is a habit. Set up daily or weekly automated reminders so you can prompt people to input, check off, or move things around in your shiny new systems tool. Let them know they are going to have to invest some time upfront to get the results. Those first two weeks of working out are brutal, but after you develop the routine and start to see results, the thought of not working out is not even a question.

Show them how to use the systems tool how you want it used. Everyone adopts tools with their own process – create a simple screencast showing them how to go about using the tool and reduce hand holding and answering the same questions. For more elaborate tools, I’ll talk about rollouts.

Stress review time and completion. When do projects, deals, milestones need you or a manager for review and when can they actually be marked as complete. Set this up ahead of time to avoid bottlenecking or an inaccurate sense of reality.

Bonus Level – measure – keep a scorecard to track performance.

Pitfalls:

So let’s say they are now (happily or not) onboard with using this new tool. Cool, right? Well, let’s still look out for some systems mayhem.

You can get the eager – beaver – systems – achiever ????  who uses the systems at nausea and you are pinged a 100x a day with every tiny detail of work being produced.

The fix – Help them prioritize and make sure you set up times with them to check in. For example – you can let them know you are reviewing work at 6am or 4:30pm so they know that you are not going to take a look at every ping throughout the day and when to get all of their questions or work product in by for your review.

Cloak and dagger – things are being moved along but there is almost no communication and you are left with an icky feeling of not sure what is getting done when.

The fix –  Help them prioritize and have them send you an end of day/ week summary of what is getting created and complete. Check your system for activity reporting.

If you are running into any other pitfalls I would love to know – share them with me.

Implement for Results

  • Establish the new norm and stress the importance of this system as part of their job
  • Let them know this is going to help them make their jobs and lives easier
  • Automate reminders to help them build habits
  • Show them how to use it
  • Set up criteria for review times and completion of work
  • Measure
  • Manage pitfalls by helping team prioritize and communicate effectively 


Lasting Teams That Are In It To Win It

“Juliana, how do I hire the right team members, the ones that are going to stick around and do a great job?”

Almost 35% of people quit a job within the first six months of being hired.

That’s a pretty big turnover rate when you stop to consider the time and resources devoted to recruiting, especially when you take lost revenue for business both large and small into consideration. No matter the size of your business, your goal is to keep profits — and your employee retention rates high – but, you may need to change your tactics in order to succeed.

With just a few simple changes to your hiring process, you will find yourself ahead of the game with a dedicated team behind you.

But first, let’s examine the numbers: Did you know that US companies spent a staggering $124 billion on recruiting efforts in 2012 alone? When it comes to hiring the right people, large firms lose when their dedicated HR departments waste resources hiring the wrong people. Small business owners lose even bigger with the time and effort the recruiting process takes from day to day operations. Sure, you played the game, asked the right questions, and are confident you hired the right people. And maybe you did hire the right people for the positions advertised. The question to ask yourself, however, is if you hired the right people for your team.

Did you know that most people leave because there are different expectations in the recruiting cycle, from the job posting to the interviewing process, which did not match the reality of the actual gig?

Perhaps they were holding out for another position with a different company and your offer was simply a waiting post. The “Maybes” behind why employee retention is such a gamble are numerous and can range from your business’ relaxed work environment and dog-friendly office not being the right fit to them taking a look at your five-year vision and deciding they might fit better elsewhere.

These are the very uncertainties you, or your HR team, should be addressing while actively recruiting new team members. It is during this crucial time for discovery that you should be making sure you are seeking out the people that are not only going to stick, but also help your business grow in the process. Your goal is to ultimately extend offers of employment to individuals with whom you will enjoy working and with whom you’ll probably be spending more time than you are willing to admit. So how do you do that?

For starters, realize that a perfectly written resume is only a part of employee retention and the big picture.

By paying attention life patterns or circumstances, you can predict a lot about your new team member’s longevity with your business. For example: A person who moves every two years, will probably move again. It’s possible their spouse is in the military. But if you do not do your due diligence, you shouldn’t be surprised when they do move again. What about the college student working for you part-time? They have graduation date that you must prepare for. Be ready to absorb them or replace them.

Now that you are thinking not only outside of the box, but beyond the resume, as well, it’s time to consider your options as a business owner. Start by putting yourself in a new employee’s shoes:

In order to make the transition from the newbie to a seasoned and valued member of your team, they need:

  • Solid infrastructure already in place; one which will allow access to systems, technology, and communication
  • Time to read your business literature
  • Business cards
  • Time to learn — and become acquainted to — their contacts

Without at least these building blocks already firmly established for your new team member to gather their bearings during the critical first five months, which, coincidentally, is the average time it takes for a new hire to fully acclimate to their work environment, the transition period will only be made all the rougher for them. Whether you are operating out of a corner office or half of a full tech garage, those operating manuals and trainings will increase the chance of getting your new hire up to speed and optimized.

Okay, so you’ve done your due diligence and are comfortable that your new hire isn’t moving overseas in seven months, checked their college diploma yourself to make sure the ink is dry, and their skill-set matches your needs for the open position perfectly. Even the office dog loves them because they’ve been bringing in dog biscuits and know how to give a good belly rub.

What if they still aren’t a good fit? What did you miss?

Through no fault of their own, your new hire may just not gel with the culture you have or are trying to create. Your best-case scenario is they are great, but the rest of your team doesn’t enjoy working with him or her. This is where you have to step back, reassess, and put the needs of the many before the needs of the one. In other words: don’t let the entire ship sink because one crew member isn’t working out or you end up with communication lapses and inefficiencies in cooperation. How do you do that?

TIP – By creating a personalized work culture test that applies specifically to your business’ personality and applying it during each and every recruiting and discovery period.

A friend asks people when referring potential hires to his team if they would introduce this person to their own mom. His clients are family units, thereby making it essential that each team member present themselves in a certain manner. I ask my own team to imagine a flight delay en route to a business trip mean three hours in the airport bar — which happens quite often. If they give the green light for inviting the potential newbie along for a cocktail, it’s a pretty clear and cut decision from there.

We can’t cage the superstars to stay forever, but we can try to figure out how who’s in for the long haul as we build our teams and continue moving forward.

The key factor, of course, is foreseeing who’s going to stick around.