Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

When expertise becomes an enemy of quality service 10 – helping good employees with potential to become great employees 6

This is my tenth installment to a series on expertise, and on what an employee or manager needs to bring along with it, if it is to offer real value and either to themselves or to the business they work for (see my supplemental postings section at the end of Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development – 3, postings 69 and following, for Parts 1-9.)

I began discussing three basic business models with their perspectives on employees and employee value in Part 8 of this series, with each represented by a separate and distinct business example:

• The Alpha Company: a mature manufacturing business working in a stable and technologically settled industry,
• The Omega Company: a more fast-paced enterprise that focuses on producing and providing the newest and greatest in a very rapidly evolving high-tech field such as consumer electronics, and
• What for purposes of this discussion is a more middle ground business: the Mesotech Corporation.

And I then began addressing a series of questions and issues in that posting and in Part 9, which I repeat here and continue discussing with this installment:

• What Mesotech does overall and why, in developing and supporting their current employees. (See Part 9.)
• How they hire and how they present themselves as a business and as a place to work.
• How they decide to dismiss employees when they do that too, and certainly when non-performance or under-performance are the primary cause for taking that action.
• How they promote and advance employees who show particular value and potential in that direction.
• And of course, how they set, develop and manage employee enrichment as a part of their overall employee benefits system.

My focus of attention here is on hiring, and on how a company like Mesotech addresses the issues of the second of those bullet points. And once again, for comparison I will examine these same issues from Alpha Company and Omega Company perspectives too.

Mesotech, like most companies, seeks out new employees with real potential who can learn their new workplace very quickly, and who can perform to their peak effectiveness very quickly too – minimizing losses accrued when new hires are still learning their way around and expending time and effort in that. But as noted in Part 9, Mesotech’s owners and managers see this as a necessary cost that cannot be entirely done away with and even when they do find and secure the best job candidates as their new employees.

They present themselves as a company that values their employees and that offers them opportunity to grow and advance professionally. And they market themselves as a place that their employees would want to stay with, and long-term. They stress the positives of their corporate culture and community, while noting that they hire great, highly skilled people and help them to reach and stay at the cutting edge of their fields of expertise. They do have at least some employee turnover and they do seek to grow where they can do so as a matter of expanding their overall competitive strength in their industry and in serving their markets. So they have established processes and systems in place for hiring and onboarding, as well as for tracking and improving employee retention, as that serves their longer-term needs and goals.

The Alpha Company by comparison:

• Hires and onboards new employees much more rarely. One consequence of that, is that they do not have frequently adhered-to standardized policies or practices for hiring or for bringing new people onboard; their managers and HR personnel do not do this often enough to have developed ingrained standardized best practices for it. So in practice everything involved there is a lot more one-off and special case in nature. They hire when they need to, as for example when they lose an employee through retirement. They do, after all keep people long-term and this is not a business that seeks to grow in either physical scale or in competitive market reach.
• Alpha does not necessarily practice anything like intentional nepotism in its hiring, but when they do seek out new employees they do not present themselves all that effectively to complete outsiders. When they hire, and either to fill a vacancy or for other reasons it is usually someone who is more family – related to a long-term employee for example. So they hire, but largely from within their own community. And any “expansion” hiring is generally a matter of bringing in a next generation member of a family already in their business.
• They market themselves as a business to their marketplace that they build products for, and they focus there on their long-term stability and reliability and on the time-tested quality of their products.
• As they do not hire on a regular ongoing basis, they do not think in terms of marketing their business to the job market or to potential new hires per se, and certainly not as a specifically considered target audience.

And the Omega Company, as already noted in Part 9 of this series, hires and I add lays-off employees on an active ongoing basis.

• They have a streamlined, cost-effective hiring process,
• They very actively screen new hires in their initial probationary period and are quick to dismiss any who do not make the cut, and either for their technical skills performance or for fitting into their systems and culture quickly or smoothly enough as a “good fit.”
• They do not provide anything much beyond a quick new hire orientation that primarily takes place in the first couple of days of employment with most of that completed by the end of day one, with a first formal meeting with their new manager and supervisor where they are officially assigned their initial performance tasks and goals for their new hire probationary period.
• As for marketing: Omega actively markets itself to its markets as a source of cutting edge technical excellence, and in all that it produces. It markets itself to the job market and to prospective next new hires just as actively, as a place to work if you are the best and if you want to work with the best and on the newest and most cutting edge.

I add that Alpha, Omega and Mesotech are made-up companies as specific enterprises. But they are also outlined here as composites of real companies, and are presented as such for purposes of this discussion in order to address very real-world business models and their execution. There are a great many very real businesses out there, for which one or another of these three composites would offer a good rough draft fit in describing them. And I note in that regard that I write this portion of this series with specific real businesses in mind, referring to them in my thoughts as guides for shaping and detailing these composite business models with their particular personnel policies and practices. And I note this here, both to clarify what I have been writing up to this point in this series, and in anticipation of my next series installment to come.

I am going to continue this discussion in a next installment with the third basic Mesotech-oriented question as repeated towards the top of this posting:

• How they decide to dismiss employees when they do that too, and certainly when non-performance or under-performance are the primary cause for taking that action.

And I will also address the issues raised there from Alpha Company and Omega Company perspectives too, just as I have when addressing the first two of those questions. Meanwhile, you can find this and related postings at my Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development – 3 (with this included as a supplemental posting there) and at the first directory page and second, continuation page to this Guide. Also see HR and Personnel and HR and Personnel – 2.

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