Creating an Operationally Sound Human Resource Department

I saw a headline on some email magazine that employees in the Human Resource occupation are leaving the industry in fairly high numbers.  Due to lack of time, I didn’t read any of the articles, but from my years in management I think I may know a few of the reasons that the Human Resource industry is suffering.

I am not picking on the Human Resource industry or any employees in that industry with my comments.  I am only pointing out the observations from my own experiences.

I can’t say that many human resource specialists are operationally sound, which if it is true, in most cases, it is not their fault but rather the employer’s oversight.  If Human Resource (HR) members have never been introduced to their employer’s industry then how is the HR person going to add value to employees and the company and be able to point out the good, the bad and the ugly.

In my store management days, I trained future managers.  Sixteen out of the 18 managers were promoted at least twice after the training program, which usually lasted 4 months for each trainee, before they were competent to run a profitable, successful location.  If we aren’t putting HR staff through a training program to show them goals, ways to improve procedures, productivity, learning the functions of each position, safety factors, and much more.  How is that HR person going to perform effectively and add value, production and improve the general operation and staff?

Most businesses have district managers, sales managers and other positions that really only teach people how to move product and services.  They may also enforce business standards so the business in question is clean, organized, helpful, etc.  Seldom are sales managers great leaders or teachers from my experience.  Start HR staff in a training program so they can add true value to an operation and I can almost guarantee improvements in your business.  They will limit employee accidents, reduce sick leave, improve employee attitude and provide a solid base of employees that will work for you.  A good HR employee isn’t as worried about products as they are of producing good quality employees that will treat your company as if it was their own.  Be sure you bring in HR staff and get input from them at sales meetings as well.  Upper management needs to pick HR’s brains to solve what may have been ongoing staff problems.

Do not procrastinate; fix these employee problems quicker with an operationally sound HR department.  Start today and be  more profitable tomorrow!

Revitalize Your Team with Excellent Leaders

Back in my retail days, I was promoted to a larger store in a chain than what I had been used to and this meant there were a few products I may not have been well versed in.  As I spoke to the outgoing manager, I was asking a few questions on the staff, facility, products and other things I didn’t have the answers for after being in the store for about 4 hours.  Rather than answer my questions, the outgoing manager said, “This store really runs itself.”  The only thing that answer told me was that the manager was nothing more than figurehead and not a leader.  I am not saying that as a leader you need to be riding hard on the staff but it was apparent  in this case, the manager wasn’t involved in many, if any, of the daily activities in this branch.  I will say, staff was fairly productive but not as productive as they became after they received a little training and reminders on the importance of customer service.

That any manager would say a store runs itself reflects how unimportant the staff’s education and training are to them.  I assume, their clients’ needs fall into the same category as the staff’s education and training as well.  Let’s not catch ourselves training our staff to be mediocre!

If you are interested in revitalizing your team, give Professional Employment Practices (PEP) a call, (701) 751-1500.  You won’t be sorry and your clients will see the difference.

A Sabbatical IS Necessary

As I sit down to write an overdue blog, I think back to all the blogs that put emphasis on educating employees, hiring correctly, customer service, etc.  Today, with the year I have had so far, I am going to discuss how we need to keep ourselves motivated, happier and sane.  The more production and sales improve, the more we need to have a monthly sabbatical and review where we are and where we are going.  We also need to make sure our personal and professional goals are still on track so we can achieve what we set out for 2014.

Exactly, what is a sabbatical? I did a thesaurus look up and the following words were used, vacation, leave, holiday, time off and retreat.  I prefer the word, retreat, as a substitute term for sabbatical.  I have attempted to have a mini-sabbatical once a month for four hours of uninterrupted time for the past year.  I have to say, something or someone is going to interrupt your scheduled sabbatical.  And that is not fair to us or our businesses, employees or clients.  Why is this not fair?

I love being productive in my role as a business owner.  I hate not tracking goals that are designed to improve my business from year to year and hopefully make the job more enjoyable for the staff, clients and of course me, the owner.  I do not like being behind on anything pertaining to me slowing down my clients’ goals, ideas and wishes.  I think it bothers me more than my clients, but I don’t want to take that chance.

I envision my perfect sabbatical as sitting outside on a perfect sunny, windless day and carefully seeing where I stand on goal achievement year to date.  I want to be sure that I put systems in place to keep me more productive, caught up, and create better tools for my clients to help them achieve their goals and wishes.  Without this four hour uninterrupted sabbatical, I don’t hit my productivity standards nor do I achieve my goals!  This retreat, more than anything, recharges and reinvigorates me.  Try it, perfect it and live better with your monthly sabbatical.  Enjoy!  Let me know if it works for you!


Being Grateful and Setting Goals Before the New Year Starts

Time flies!  After taking a short Thanksgiving vacation with the kids and grandkids, I was suddenly behind on, not only the weekly blogs, but almost everything in my life!  This brings me to my topics, which I assume applies to at least 75% of us, and if we are honest with ourselves this percentage is even higher.  These topics include being grateful and settings goals.

First thing that I want to emphasize is to be grateful for everything we do have, tangible or intangible.  Napoleon Hill who wrote, “Think and Grow Rich” back in 1937 talked about how showing gratitude makes us much more appreciative than anything else can.  Even though, I am extremely grateful for many things in 2013 there are still some things that need tweaking.  I need to find ways to relieve stress, create more enjoyment and hopefully become more productive.

My second topic involves setting my goals for 2014.  I try to include personal goals, memorable yet simple vacations as well as other ways to blow off steam to try to keep burnout down, metabolism and attitude up while inventing somewhat of a new lifestyle.  I am vowing to include personal financial goals as well as business goals of course.  Some authors speak of time margin for goals.  This is what allows us to be effective enough to gather a little more time in the day for us, our family, a hobby or whatever else meets our fancy.

Am I serious about finding ways to do all the things in the above paragraph?  Yes.  An I confident I will succeed?  Absolutely…Not!  Why?  I, like many others, have become a creature of habit and slipped into less than productive routines.  Tomorrow never comes around for us to get our new, higher comfort and production levels.

That is why I will be spending a good deal of time this weekend tweaking my goals, finding ways to save time and enable me to have more fun.  And yes, having fun with clients and helping them achieve their goals is looming on my agenda too.

Showing gratitude, setting and achieving goals, changing our lifestyle to something more enjoyable than what we are achieving now and we all could use more of this.  Join me on the challenge and let’s make our lives the best we can.  I think this may be the way to eliminate a lot of stress.  I would appreciate any feedback you have to offer.

Happy Holidays and have a Merry Christmas!  Turn your new leaf over right now!  And good luck!

Thought Provoking Questions for Improvement

Instead of me pushing ideas and pointing out problems with customer service I am going to post a new a series of questions.  I think I have pointed out many, many times that as business owners we cannot assume new hires have any idea on how to properly take care of clients.  Please answer the following questions honestly and don’t try to convince yourself that everything is alright in your organization.  I think we all need to improve at least parts of our business.  I believe it all starts by educating staff.  (Remember you train dogs and educate people!)  I know, if you hired correctly in the first place that you will be amazed when you take time to show your staff the intricacies of phenomenal customer service that will pay off big in the long run.

I would also appreciate feedback from all of you to see what training steps work best and what should be improved in your operation.  Remember, don’t fool yourself into thinking everything is alright and continuing to act like nothing can be improved.

Please answer the following questions as completely as you are able.

  1. Do you utilize an interview form that you either use for all new or an interview form you use with each different job description?
  2. How much one-on-one time do you or a member of your management staff spend with each new hire?
  3. What specifically is covered with your new hires at these one-on-one meetings?
  4. What was your employee turnover rate in 2012?
  5. What is your turnover rate to date for 2013?
  6. Is your turnover rate higher or lower than in the past?
  7. What is causing this change?
  8. Are your hiring practices doing a better job of hiring the right person for the right job?
  9. If this has improved, what do you attribute this to?
  10. Do your future plans include opening another branch or expanding your current location?
  11. What are you doing staff wise to make your expansion profitable and organized?
  12. What is your largest hiring challenge today?
  13. What is your largest business opportunity today?

Please feel free to comment to this post.  You can also email or fax me directly, or (701) 751-3657.  I look forward to hearing from you.



Keep the Year from Slipping Away

Time flies by…we are already 4.16% through 2013!

Have we made the best of our time and implemented changes that should have been completed last year?  Have we sat down with our bottom 20% performers to outline a plan for them to improve or terminate them?  Or did we not match up talents with the position that we needed to fill and are we paying for that mistake now?

Whatever is adding stress to our life at our companies, we need to quit worrying and take care of the matter before we lose another 4.16% of the year.  Procrastination starts off slowly, but builds, grows and multiplies so quickly you find yourself overwhelmed and you don’t know where to start.  Prioritize your issues based on importance and let’s start getting back to the ground level where we can take care of important matters as they come up, not when you feel like addressing them.

As I assess my business for 2013, I too have issues.  I know what I want to accomplish each day and more business comes in before I can finish the first project.  Sometimes when we are stressed, we find ourselves not always staying on track with phone calls.  The business phone call that could’ve taken 7 minutes may take longer because I spent 15 minutes shooting the breeze.  If I am researching an issue and gathering knowledge for the future or for a current client, that extra 15 minutes is probably an invenstment in my business.

Let us not reinvent the wheel when we review our business.  Everything can’t be wrong or we wouldn’t have clients.  Allow yourself to look each week at issues that may be hindering us from more success:  understaffed, people in wrong positions for their talents, flow of work not designed to move it out of the way when completed and what else we may be battling.  Let us constantly keep improving the steps we may be taking that do not add to customer satisfaction or to added sales.  If business owners and our staff concentrate on anything other than customer satisfaction and added sales we need to identify and cease these actions immediately!

Let’s spend the year wisely!


Welcome to Our PEP Website

Welcome to our PEP website and especially welcome to our blog!

I was in retail management from 1977-2005 and I always prided my stores in hiring likeable, talented employees and keeping the facility neat and tidy so clients were comfortable and were able to find more things to purchase.  I also taught product knowledge to each department manager and worked to keep as many employees in the know as I could, for added customer enjoyment.  And it was important we didn’t forget to greet and thank all our clients as well.

Let’s get back to yesteryear and bring back true customer service.  I want to help employers educate employees and give them a passion to learn what culture is needed for your particular business.  Let’s teach employees that work and great service are not only profitable but fun and rewarding.

I will be blogging three days a week to provide you with examples of great service and horrible service.  Unfortunately, I run into horrible service more often than fantastic service.  Follow us, as we help business owners create a destination for clients that are craving great, friendly and caring service.  Why not bring back a business culture from days gone back and be more profitable each business hour while doing so?  Try it…it really works.  See if you don’t agree.

Marc Siverson