Hit the Refresh Button on Your Hiring

Refresh ImageI heard it before I saw it.  It was a loud cracking noise – the kind that would scare the living daylights out of me when I was a kid ice skating on my favorite pond!

I couldn’t figure out where it came from and looked around the room. Nothing. Then I went downstairs to continue my search.  Nothing.

So I went back into my bedroom and started making my bed.  Then I saw it.  A huge crack in the ceiling caused by good ol’ Mother Nature.

Like hundreds of thousands of New Englanders, my house has been damaged by (those damn!) ice dams.  Even though the roof was shoveled and the ice was chiseled from the gutters to create a pathway for the melting, with the constant sub-freezing temperatures there was nothing that could have prevented the ice dams from forming. And, when they did start to melt, water ran between the exterior clapboards and interior walls and ceilings of my home.  They left bubbling paint on the walls and lots of stains as well.

I have a fantastic insurance agency and within 48 hours of my call to them, an independent adjuster was at my door.  His anecdotal assessment was that even though no single room had significant damage, all rooms had moderate damage.  The bottom line is that every room in my house needs to be repainted.

In a stroke of good luck uncharacteristic of this catastrophic, snowmaggedon winter, a painting contractor who came highly recommended was able to meet with me immediately.   I liked his amiable personality right off the bat, thought he had a good sense of what repairs are needed, appreciated the beauty of my older home with its copious woodwork, and even had a great sense of color and design.  While I was prepared to hire a color consultant, he filled that bill as well and we had a very detailed discussion of colors and paint vendors.

This is a perfect opportunity to hit the ‘refresh’ button on some of these room colors.  You won’t have to lose the classic look you want but you can make your rooms more up to date,” he commented.  Wow! With one sentence he made me realize that what I thought was going to be a daunting task was actually a real opportunity in disguise.  From this chaos came excitement!


It’s the same situation at work. When an employee leaves unexpectedly, especially one that you particularly like and who has been doing a good job, it’s easy for a manager to view hiring a replacement as an un-pleasurable, possibly daunting, task.  Someone you like must be replaced, you wonder if you’ll ever get an employee quite as good as the one you lost, it’s a distraction from doing your “real” job, etc.

But this is the perfect time to take stock of the situation, seize the opportunity to create something new and hit that giant refresh button for your company or department. Here’s how…

  • TAKE A DEEP BREATH, STEP BACK, AND LET YOURSELF CREATE – Think blank slate!  Now is the perfect time to look at your department or group and think about potential changes. Ask yourself this question, “In an ideal world, what would be happening in my company/department?”  By being open to considering all options, you’ll start thinking about what you really do want.
  • DON’T JUST REPLACE – REDESIGN – Now’s also the perfect opportunity to redesign your company or department.  Do you really have the right structure or could you consider some changes?   Allow yourself to ask questions like…
    • Should my outside sales people be replaced with inside sales?
    • Is my inside sales strategy working as well as I’d like?
    • Do I need to hire in remote locations to get better territory penetration?
    • Are my territories in line with my sales goals – are they working the way they should?
    • Do I have enough marketing people to support sales?
    • Are my digital marketing efforts state-of-the art and working?
    • Should I divide my salesforce by territory or industry-specific verticals?You get the idea.  Using a blank sheet of large format paper or whiteboard is ideal for this type of exercise.
  • ASSESS WHAT YOU’VE GOT – With your ideal scenario in mind, assess what you currently have “in stock” for talent.  It may be that you have someone in your organization you can move over into your open spot.  It may be that you’ll have to add two positions instead of one, or that you may even contract out some responsibilities.
  • NOW MAKE YOUR PLAN – With a clear idea of how you want your company or department to be structured and the responsibilities of each position in your group, you now have an idea of what (or rather who) you need to hire. Make a detailed hiring plan that includes all the resources you will use, a clear job description stating real goals and “deliverables,” a realistic compensation plan that will attract the talent that you need and a deadline date to have your employee in place.  Align your hiring needs with your new plan and then try to enjoy the process you’ve just created.I know that’s what I’m going to try to do with home improvements.

The last thing the insurance adjuster said to me before he left was, “I hope you like your painting contractor because you’re going to be seeing lots and lots of him this spring!”  I’m happy to say I DO like my new painter and I plan to thoroughly enjoy the changes we’ll make together.

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