What you should and shouldn’t automate in your business

Do’s and Don’ts

We had the pleasure of talking with Mike Callahan, a seasoned expert in the lawn care industry. While exchanging some ideas Mike shared some of his hiring mistakes, like hiring anyone who walked in with “two feet and a heartbeat.” His experience has led him to really emphasize on the importance of having a structured interview process. Some of the past mistakes that he shared included not documenting a proper way to interview and hire new employees. This often led to poor hires and high turnover.

Mike also spoke about the importance of writing a good job ad. Early in his career, his ads were ineffective. As a good rule of thumb, always try to be as explicit and clear as you can with your job ads. A poorly, quickly, or skim-written ad can lead to poor quality applicants. Now, Mike understands the need for clear and engaging job ads that attract the right candidates. These experiences have shaped his current approach to hiring and training.

Automating Onboarding

Mike is a big fan of automating the onboarding process. He clarified that automation is not about replacing people but handling repetitive tasks. Think of this: how can you standardize your operating procedures? Can you write it down on a Post-it? If not, then simplify. Now, from there, can you automate your standardized process? You can make the most out of online tools, free or paid, to make sure you do. This can ultimately save you time, and lots of headaches. When standardizing and automating your onboarding, you’re making sure new hires have a smooth experience from the start, and that they all get the same experience and treatment. Automated systems can handle welcome packages, personal protection equipment, payroll documents, and even send thank-you postcards to the new hire’s family.

Callahan also stressed the importance of making the onboarding process predictable and organized. This helps new hires feel welcome and prepared for their roles. Automation supports the team by ensuring everything happens on time and correctly.

Core Values in Hiring

Our conversation shifted while we talked about hiring anyone to being intentional with hires. His company now focuses on core values and aligns hires with these values. The job postings are also different, highlighting what’s in it for the applicant rather than just company needs.

In interviews, Mike’s team discusses big goals and growth potential with candidates. This helps candidates see the future and how they fit into the company’s plans. It ensures both parties are on the same page from the start.

We both agreed on the importance of core values, but it doesn’t matter how much you share them and communicate them as much as it does to actually live them. We removed ours from the walls and made them part of our everyday processes. This made it easy to spot when someone didn’t fit. The team holds everyone accountable to these values, creating a strong, unified work culture.

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