The 50/50 Employee: Your Future Managers

What makes a good manager? Is it skill level and knowledge? Is it drive and determination? Is it people skills that help them develop relationships with your staff and customers? A person who is a combination of all of these attributes will help make your business successful and take it to the next level. Now that you know what traits your ideal manager possesses, how do you identify whom from your hourly staff is the magical person to one day take the reins?

You are looking for a 50/50 employee. This employee makes decisions with 50 percent of the business’ best interests in mind and 50 percent of themselves in mind. This may sound harsh, as I’m sure we would love to believe all of our employees make decisions solely for the good of the business, but these are human beings we are evaluating. They have families and lives outside of the workplace. They make decisions and choices in their personal lives that affect them — and might affect your business, as well. You need to constantly evaluate your hourly-employee pool to find out where they stand, and these employees who usually only think of themselves will be exposed over time.

To determine who among your employees may be the 50/50 employee — and a future manager — you need to evaluate your workforce. You’ll need to use information from various sources to get a read on them, and these sources are all at your disposal. Think about those few employees who are still on the “future manager” list.

• What do your current employees say about them? What comments have you heard about them?
• What does your customer base think about them? Do they ask for a particular person by name when conducting business? Do your customers indicate they are easy to deal with and that they have a good attitude when interacting with them, or the opposite?
• Finally, and most importantly, what do you think about them? Most assuredly, you have a gut feeling about each person. Does that instinct say you would be comfortable with them making decisions that affect your business? Do they interact with you professionally? If you have concerns about a person, it might be wise not to pull the trigger and promote them until the concern is completely null and void.

Using these principles will give you a decent rating about the individuals in your workforce. If there are any of them at 50-percent business interest or better, these are the people you want to fast track and focus on — as they will be the ones you want with the keys to the kingdom and leading your staff. The 50-pecent grade is only a guideline and not an exact science, but it is definitely a minimum. You might feel after grading someone that they are above 50 percent. If you feel this way, that might be the employee who goes to the front of the future manager line. If that happens, I would advise you to continue your research on that person. If they can show you this commitment for a particular length of time, they might be the one.