Why new recruits should paint fences

Why new recruits should paint fences

Last week three guys who recently established a business in London wanted my thoughts on the recruitment of their first member of staff.
 
Whilst they were naturally concerned about the costs associated with employment, greater uncertainty surrounded the management of the new recruit?“We’ve got  to make sure the new person knows how to do their job properly but there’s a limit to the amount of time the three of us can give to coaching and training” said Martin. “We don’t have an HR department and the three of us are busy making sure money is coming into the company.”
 
The situation reminded me of being 18 and my first day in a job at a Cumbrian Outdoor Centre. I was as green as they come but very keen to prove myself. Before being assigned any jobs I followed my supervisor outside where there stood a huge wooden veranda. Once there I was told that whenever I didn’t have any assigned work I was expected to give the extensive structure two coats of paint.
 
I have never forgot that task, which I thoroughly enjoyed. A few years later and when I was growing my first business I always found a ‘paint the fence’ task for every new recruit so they could work independently on something that was entirely theirs, whilst simultaneously giving all other staff free time to think and work.

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