Originally published in LCT Magazine - December 2008
NEW STAFFERS NEED A SOLID UNDERSTANDING OF HOW THEY'LL FIT INTO YOUR COMPANY AND WHAT YOU EXPECT FOR THEM TO SUCCEED.By Renzo Ormsbee
You've worked hard trying to find the right employee for your growing company. You've read resumes, checked references, interviewed, and made your final choice for your new employee. Now what?
Even if you are fortunate enough to choose the best candidates on the first try, are they working daily toward all your company goals?
Position agreements have allowed us to get new employees up to speed quickly and produce at a consistent, high level.
We are constantly complimented on our professionalism, and this is the primary reason why.
One of the best ways to start nurturing happy, productive employees is to give them a solid idea of how they fit into your organization.
Let them know your expectations up front for a new position. They must clearly understand what is expected of them daily.
The best way to do this is to start them off with a signed position agreement listing the minimum skills, duties, and responsibilities required for satisfactory completion of all employee tasks and assignments.
Position agreements are similar to job descriptions, but differ in scope and detail. They include verbiage on the reason for the agreement, what is expected physically and mentally of your team member, and skill sets required for each position. They also have an area for signatures to ensure complete buy-in on the items listed, which can prevent future misunderstandings.
The more time you spend designing these documents beforehand and the more times employees reference them during their tenure, the more likely you will end up with effective, quality team members.
Our position agreements have become extensive. Below are some abridged examples of wording in our chauffeurs' agreement.
Structuring Your Chauffeur Agreement
All our agreements start with a specific purpose or definitive statement:
"In return for wages provided to me by Elite Limousines of Houston, I agree to perform the following duties and exhibit the following characteristics as a condition of my employment." List duties, responsibilities, skills, and characteristics, such as:
• Drive defensively and safely and obey all traffic laws.
• Inspect tires daily for safety problems.
• Take advantage of customer service "miracle opportunities" to grow our clientele.
• Follow current run coding procedures.
Be specific, reference procedures, and build in redundancy with other position agreements. Note that it is the chauffeur's duty to check tires. This is also the maintenance technician's responsibility. End with "Other duties as assigned"; this keeps the document flexible.
List specific skills expected:
• Defensive driving skills
• Clear communication skills, etc.
Write this document while you are doing the job if possible.If starting from scratch, take time monthly to review it and see if there are any expectations originally omitted. If significant changes are made, take some time with employees to go over the new expectations.
Review the agreement on day one with new employees. Set aside plenty of time to explain each point. Print and go over all referenced procedures if necessary. Ensure questions are answered satisfactorily and have it signed. Make copies for employee reference during training, and keep originals in your locked employee file cabinet. Review the document with them again annually.
Assign mentors to assist new employees. In a large organization, choose employees with similar positions. In a
smaller business, this is probably you. Solicit feedback from mentors to see how your new employees are handling their new responsibilities, and follow up with additional training if necessary.
Your team is responsible for up to 90% of the interaction with your clients. Using position agreements along with ongoing training ensures they are always handling circumstances in the best way.
If your team understands exactly what's expected of them, you've taken your next step toward tremendous success.