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This Is How You Manage an Effective But High-Maintenance Employee

Plus, an Ohio PSP enumerates the benefits of partnering with local businesses in this month’s “Ask Big Picture.”




What do I do with a top performer who is high maintenance but not an out-and-out jerk?

Show them the carrot. And don’t sweat the small stuff. If the person is not putting you in a position whereby you are transgressing your company’s core values, or making your life miserable, then consider it a case of individual man/woman management. Top salespeople respond to incentives, even seemingly crass extrinsic ones, and other staff will not object when someone is rewarded for being clearly good at something. Just make sure all your employees have an opportunity to show off their strengths, too.

Is it expensive to hire a service to do a proper background check on a prospective new employee?

For a basic background check that covers possible criminal convictions or other legal issues in a candidate’s past (typically convictions for felonies and misdemeanors in most states), you’re likely looking at a price that ranges from $30 to less than $100 from a service provider that is FCRA compliant (a key point to insist on), such as GoodHire, AccurateNow, InfoMart, Sterling, HireRight, and Pre-Employ. But this is a potentially tricky legal area, so you want to first draft a policy with your attorney and have it written down in your store policy. For example, in most states you’re obliged to declare what checks you’re doing, run the same check on every candidate who reaches a certain stage in the hiring process, keep the documentation for a certain period, and so on. Yes, this will entail an upfront investment, but given the potential for a bad hire to cause ruinous financial damage, create safety situations or other legal problems, it’s one you should be diligent about following through on.

How do I get my staff to read our company policy?

Make it fun. At your weekly meeting, offer to buy a large premium coffee for the first person who can correctly answer a question from the employee manual. The key is to have everyone participating, so put names in a hat and draw one – that way, every staff member knows there’s a chance he or she could be called upon to provide the answer.

I know we’re supposed to celebrate failure these days as a path to growth, but how do you stop ruminating on things that go wrong, especially when they’re embarrassing?

The old-school psychoanalyst in us would say we need to look at this in punishing detail – These thoughts of perfection, where do they come from? – but it doesn’t sound like you want to go there. In place of that approach, we recommend substitution (meaning come up with a funny version of the story) or distraction. The latter gets a bad rap, but recent studies have shown it’s pretty effective. Want to forget that screwup at work? Go clean up the production area for an hour. Or start plotting a complex dinner for the weekend. Your brain has trouble focusing on more than one thing at a time, so a new action interferes nicely with recollection. And running the same movie reel over and over in your head really helps no one.

Are there benefits to partnering with local businesses?

Atchley Graphics in Columbus, Ohio, partners in a variety of ways with local businesses to capture the wholesale market as well as expand their brand awareness. “It also allows us to be of service to and tap into a localized network of like-minded companies in case we need to share knowledge, materials, etc.,” says Derek Atchley, CEO, founder. “We all benefit more from working together rather than fighting.”

To get to know local businesses, Norman Critchfield invites them into his Hesston, Kansas, shop, Hesston Prestige Printing. “Several left saying I had no idea they did this kind of work here,” he says. “When businesses show each other what they can do for each other everybody wins.”




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