What sort of employee do you need?

On the surface, it's a fairly simple question. But is it? DDCA NEWSRami BaronPresident, Diamond Dealers Club of Australiarami@ddca.org.au If you are in the wholesale…

On the surface, it’s a fairly simple question. But is it?

Rami Baron
President, Diamond Dealers Club of Australia

If you are in the wholesale business, you might say you need a salesperson to go on the road, a sorter in the office, an accounts person and an admin person. As a retailer you might need a jeweller, a diamond setter, admin, accounts etc.

All of the above are functions. They don’t necessarily define what we need other than in the most simplistic sense.

Think about it in terms of layers. On the basic layer, you need someone who shares a similar code of ethics with the rest of the team. Is this person tidy, messy, do they think they know it all or are they prepared to learn and improve? Are they ambitious or do they want to be strictly nine-to-five?

Level II could well be the skill set. Do they have the ability to do the job and are their abilities going to exceed your expectations? The aim should always be to bring in someone who can not only do the job, but also bring improvements and better ways of doing the role.

It’s level III that I find is critical in building our business.

Right now, everyone is doing pretty well in the jewellery trade, or at least should be. So, now is a really good time to stop and analyse your business, the people around you, and work out what is it that you really need.

It is incredibly difficult, when you are your business, to recognise the different functions that you fulfil. It is like you’re a jack-of-all, hence purely from a time point of view, it negates your ability to identify opportunities to either grow or increase the profitability of your business. It is so easy to just do it yourself. You think it’s just a simple problem that requires only ten minutes or half an hour at best. The next thing you know, it’s already lunchtime. You return a few calls, and the day just disappeared.

From my own experience, I believe that by having people remove a variety of tasks from the you as an owner, it provides you with time to think and to look at better ways of running your operations. I know you have heard it all before – “work on your business, not in your business”. However, the first thing a small to medium-sized business will say is that they can’t afford to bring on more people.

I think you can’t afford not to bring on more people.

The question is why are you bringing them on?

Have you clearly defined what you will hand over in the transition? And what is the result you hope to achieve by bringing them on?

Now it might mean giving you time to go fishing, to go shopping, do an extra Pilates class or go and visit a couple of friends in the trade that you haven’t met up with for a long time. Whatever it is, be honest with yourself as to what you hope to achieve by bringing on more people. If it’s for a better quality of life, then accept that your bottom line will not necessarily improve, but I would bet with you that you will be a better employer and husband/wife or partner for the simple fact that you are happier. Inevitably, it will probably improve your bottom line – or maybe just your bottom 🙂

If it’s because you want to grow your business, then the exercise is more difficult because it’s not just about giving yourself more time, it’s about giving yourself more time to be more strategic in what you want to achieve, and the results should be measurable.

Let’s say you want to create a new range of jewellery. Give yourself the time to go into the city and look around at what others are doing, set up appointments with multiple gem merchants to understand what is available, analyse the pricing differences and spend the hours that it takes to search online for suppliers overseas who may carry merchandise you can’t get locally. These are all time-consuming exercises which require you to dedicate your time and concentration. Life is a trade-off. If you want to do this, then someone else must serve customers, take appointments on that day, manage the workshop, or set up the staff schedules.

In my previous article I wrote about change and I posed the question – do you even want to change? This article is about taking you out of your comfort zone.

No person is an army unto themselves.

We need to surround ourselves with like-minded people who share our moral code and hopefully want to grow and be challenged. The best people in your business will never stay unless you provide not only vision and opportunity, but proof that you are executing this vision. Nothing happens overnight. Everything takes longer and probably costs double from what you initially think.

I challenge you all to ask yourself what sort of employee you need.

The answer must be built around your end game. Is it to build the best business you can, or be the best version of yourself?

Get it right and you can have the double whammy … both.

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