Interesting Considerations For Putting The Right Employee On The Right Job
Just like business owners, all employees have their own strengths and weaknesses. The key to efficiency and making money is recognizing these differences and putting employees in job positions and on tasks that they can be successful at. One consideration is how employees learn. As a business owner I came to discover that some employees are sequential learners while others are global learners. How they learned new information and used it helped me decide who I should hire or not and ultimately what job positions and activities they should be assigned to.
Sequential learners learn best when information is presented to them in logical step by step order. By presenting information to them in the order tasks should be completed, they can see how one step prepares for the next and or how subsequent steps are dependent on the previous step. These employees are typically successful at repetitive activities, even activities that require a high level of skill. Examples could include install crown moldings or estimating projects that can be done using a unit cost method. However sequential learners might not make for good lead carpenters at a business where every project is different and or projects are highly detailed. A sequential learner lead carpenter may be challenged if the business does not provide adequate project specifications and facilitated planning opportunities before the project begins. Also, a sequential learner might not have success selling Design/Build projects to prospects who are global learners.
On the other hand global learners can take in random bits of information about a project or task and can quickly connect the dots between that information to assess a situation or assemble a solution on their own by quickly understanding the connections between those bits of information. These employees can be very successful at job positions like handyman repairs, troubleshooting roof leaks and or gathering information from Design/Build clients who know why they want to do a project but might not know yet how to get started or what needs to be considered. Also consider these employees might quickly become bored with repetitive activities or duties.
It is important to recognize that every successful remodeling business needs employees with complementary skills. A team dominated by one or the other of these learning types would definitely run into challenges. Learning how employees and recruiting candidates learn and process information can help you make better hiring decisions and help promote employee retention. Having the right employees in the right job positions can also help free the business owner up from “in the trenches” involvement in the business so they can concentrate on big picture and high value opportunities.
Example of why you might need both learning types on staff and in the right positions
Installing windows these days requires building science knowledge and an understanding of installation options regarding the methods and products that can be used. A lead carpenter who is a global learner can be real good at understanding the science considerations and specifying appropriate installation details. With those project specific details in hand a sequential learner carpenter can then be instructed by that lead carpenter, right at the jobsite, on how to install all the windows. While the carpenter installs the windows the lead carpenter can be making the materials list for the next phase of the job so the materials will be ready for the carpenter when the carpenter is done installing the windows. Unlike a production manager driven production system, because a lead carpenter driven system is being used, the global learner who specified the installation method is at the job site to oversee and if needed trouble shoot the efforts of the carpenter. With a production manager driven system, after being instructed, the sequential learner carpenter might be on his own without anyone overseeing his or her activities to be sure the windows are being installed correctly.
Right or wrong?
If you’re frustrated or disappointed with your current employees’ and or your production system’s performance you might have the wrong employees. On the other hand you might have the right employees assigned to the wrong job duties. Considering how they learn and process information might be the insight you need to get them and your business on the right track. Let me know if I can help!