What is a RIGHT FIT™ Employee anyway?

Hiring can be one of the hardest parts of owning a small business. Even when the resume and interview are stellar, sometimes that person doesn't have the impact you were hoping for. Find out why and what you can do to find the right fit.


At Zephyr, we have a unique take on terms like Top Talent, A-Players, and the like. Over the years we have seen clients aim for hiring these “types” of employees only to find that the results were not what they hoped. They end up questioning their choices and wondering what went wrong.  

When an employer concentrates on what traditionally makes an employee “Top Talent,” they are focusing primarily on experience, education, and skills. They miss out on sufficient attention to values, behaviors, personality traits, culture fit and the career goals of the candidate. This is often where things fall apart. 

If you have a company with a fun, quirky team that works hard, plays hard, laughs a lot, and enjoys life, and you bring in a new employee who is serious, highly driven, perfectionistic, and focused, you might find this new person shifts the dynamic of your team, and very quickly. People start having less fun and being less engaged. The energy shifts to one of tension and resentment.  And next thing you know, many of your original team members are no longer enjoying work and might even choose to leave.  This new “go-getter” you hired seemed amazing. You thought their drive and focus would take your team to the next level. But it backfired. That is because the culture and values fit was a major mismatch.  

RELATED: Hiring 101—evaluating the candidate

Or perhaps the culture and team fit is there, but over time this highly driven top performer starts to get bored and wants to change the way you do things or wants more than you can offer. We have seen this over and over. While small businesses are wonderful places to work and they can offer employees so much, they do tend to not have the same career trajectory that larger employers can offer and tend to lose the most ambitious to lack of opportunity. 

In comes the RIGHT FIT™ Employee (RFE). At Zephyr we coined this term to capture the full picture of what kind of team members work best in your unique company.  

The RFE will have the skills and experience you need, but that’s just the beginning. They also have values that are similar or that resonate well with your company values. Their personality and mindset mesh well with your culture and team. They possess the strengths that will contribute to the overall synergy of the team. And their goals and desires are in alignment with what you can offer. When all of this is in place, you have a RIGHT FIT™.  

Why does this matter? Studies and statistics consistently reveal that when a high-performing team of employees share similar values and contribute to the culture and the mission of the company, this increases revenue, frees up the owner to lead the company, and decreases losses through high-turnover—exponentially. Those same studies report that the price of having a team of wrong fit employees can be devastating to a small business, and the business owner.*

RELATED: 5 smart hiring practices everyone should know

Just one wrong fit employee can shift the dynamics of a team within 20 minutes*. And if left unattended, this dynamic can become toxic, which often takes a year or more to fix.

RIGHT FIT™ Employees are a game changer. Spend time discovering and developing your RIGHT FIT™ Employee profile. Then take the next step to begin your Employment Brand Marketing to attract them to you, develop a recruitment strategy, and work intentionally on how you plan to engage and retain them. RIGHT FIT™ Employees are deeply loyal, productive, and engaged when you show up as the leader they need, creating a great place to work.  

This is the long game. There are no quick fixes. Getting it right is about investing, planning, having intention and focus. The good news is that the payoff is bigger than you can ever imagine. For even more information, check out our RIGHT FIT Workbook.

* If you like to do research, here are a few resources that discuss much of what we talk about in this blog. 
Everything you need to know about employer brand marketing
The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups, by Daniel Coyle
The Cost of a Bad Hire

Erin Longmoon is the CEO of Zephyr Recruiting, which she founded in response to her clients’ needs for help in with building effective and successful teams. Zephyr Recruiting serves the small business community—the mom and pop places that are the backbones of our communities and our economy.

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  • Next up: What to Know About New OSHA Rules
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  • What to Know About New OSHA Rules

    Hopefully, you heard the news OSHA issued a final rule on Walking-Working Surfaces and Personal Fall Protection Systems that was effective Jan. 17, 2017. The final rule includes revised and new information that addresses everything from fixed ladders and fall protection systems to training and design requirements.

    Hopefully, you heard the news OSHA issued a final rule on Walking-Working Surfaces and Personal Fall Protection Systems that was effective Jan. 17, 2017. The final rule includes revised and new information that addresses everything from fixed ladders and fall protection systems to training and design requirements. The supporting materials in the rule also references more than a dozen industry standards, from Safety Requirements for Workplace Walking/Working Surfaces and Their Access to Safety Requirements for Personal Fall Arrest Systems. If an organization has fall-related hazards and exposures it would be prudent to have a fall protection management program in effect. The rule, by itself, doesn't require all employers to have a written fall protection program, unless doing residential roofing (non-construction) where use of fall protection is infeasible. It is also important to note the revised rule gives employers flexibility to use personal fall protection systems (personal fall arrest, travel restraint, and work positioning systems) in lieu of guardrail systems. This addresses performance-related practices, so an assessment would be important to utilize and is consistent with existing requirements for written hazard assessments for selection of necessary PPE.

    Under new rules, employers must set up the workplace to prevent employees from falling off overhead platforms, elevated work stations or into holes in the floor and walls. Employers will also have to inspect working and walking surfaces for conditions that could create hazards, including snow, ice, water, blood, uneven flooring, and exercise good housekeeping to identify and correct conditions such as protruding objects or cables across walkways that could trip or otherwise injure workers.  

    As a baseline, OSHA expects employers to: 

    • Inspect and provide working conditions that are free of known fall dangers.
    • Keep floors in work areas in a clean and, so far as possible, a dry condition.
    • Select and provide needed personal protective equipment at no cost to workers.
    • Utilize guardrail or other effective barrier systems to engineer out fall hazards where possible, but otherwise effectively use Personal Fall Arrest Systems (PFAs), train workers on use of PPE, maintain and inspect equipment.
    • Provide appropriate ladders or other aerial work platforms and scissor lifts to allow workers to safely access work areas (and train them on the use of this equipment).
    • Train workers generally about fall hazards and PPE use in a language they can understand

    Here are 10 specific items that changed in the standard.

    1)    Training required for exposed workers or equipment users by May 2017.  This includes general for exposure, roof, equipment, and key individuals (authorized, competent, and qualified persons).

    2)    Equipment requirements included changes to the test weights of snap hooks and carabineers, and requirements for self-retractable lanyards, including deceleration distances.

    3)    Changed safe distance to roof edges as well as defining temporary and infrequent tasks on roofs.

    4)    Modified ladders and stairs requirements starting in 2018 and required safety systems on all ladders by 2036. This includes requirements for spiral stairs and ships ladders.

    5)    Guardrails are now aligned with construction industry and codified 19 inch opening requirements.

    6)    Requires written certification of the workplace assessment to determine if hazards are present.

    7)    Rope descent systems must comply with 1910.27(b)(1)(i).

    8)    Documentation requirements include assessments, training, anchors, and walking working surface load rating.

    9)    Updated definitions of competent and qualified person in subpart D and I. 

    10) Important compliance dates for employee training May 17, 2017, certification of anchorages on Nov. 20, 2017, existing fixed ladders need cage well, ladder safety system or PFAs Nov. 19, 2018, new ladders with ladder safety system by Nov. 19, 2018, and all fixed ladders must be equipped with a ladder safety system or PFAS by Nov. 18, 2016.

    Employers should ensure compliance, safety, and risk management in all tasks.  With this in mind, OSHA estimates these changes will prevent 29 fatalities and 5,842 lost-workday injuries every year.  

    OSHA aligned fall protection requirements for general industry with those for construction, easing compliance for employers who perform both types of activities. For example, the final rule replaces the outdated general industry scaffold standards with a requirement that employers comply with OSHA's construction scaffold standards.  OSHA has created a frequently asked questions guide for the standard.

    We hope this article is helpful and feel free to contact us with questions regarding implementation of the standard. 

    Learn more about COSE’s Workers’ Compensation program

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  • Next up: What To Know When You Exit Your Business
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  • What To Know When You Exit Your Business

    If you're a business owner, you know there is going to come a day when you will step away from your business. During COSE's recent Small Business Convention, James Aussem, a shareholder at the law firm of Cavitch, Familio & Durkin, laid out three things business owners should know before they exit their business.

    If you're a business owner, you know there is going to come a day when you will step away from your business. At COSE's recent Small Business Convention, James Aussem, a shareholder at the law firm of Cavitch, Familio & Durkin, laid out three things business owners should know before they exit their business.  

    1. Anticipate your needs

    Retirement can be costly. To keep up with your current lifestyle, you're going to have to know how much you're going to need in terms of such things as living expenses, health insurance, and more. If you're selling your company, you're going to need to make sure you get enough from the sale to help provide a comfortable retirement.

    2. Business needs

    It's important to understand what the needs of the business are. Some considerations to keep in mind are:

    • capital requirements;
    • taxes; and
    • expansion of the successor generation's income. 

    3. The next generation

    If the owner intends to sell to the next generation, he or she needs to understand several things first. For example, there are tax risks involved with bargain transactions between family members. The Internal Revenue Service presumes all transactions among related parties have a gift element, for example.

    Want to know more about exit strategies? Keep an eye out in January for COSE's refreshed magazine for small business owners which will include an in-depth feature on what entrepreneurs need to know when it comes to exit strategies. 

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  • Next up: What You Learn from A Restaurant that Hires Only the Formerly Incarcerated
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  • What You Learn from A Restaurant that Hires Only the Formerly Incarcerated

    Brandon Chrostowski knows a thing or two about what it means to hire for potential.

    Brandon Chrostowski knows a thing or two about what it means to hire for potential.

    The founder and CEO of EDWINS Leadership & Restaurant Institute in Cleveland started EDWINS, a restaurant staffed entirely by people who spent time incarcerated. At any given time, there are 40 people enrolled in the program with a new class beginning and ending every two months. The restaurant provides job training, life training and perhaps most importantly, a second chance to its staff. 

    “There’s so much potential in this town,” Chrostowski says. “There’s so much depth. There are so many people willing to work. There’s just no system in place to facilitate this.”

    EDWINS provides such a system for some, though with every one of his employees having previously been imprisoned, he acknowledges it’s important that he keep a keen eye for hiring. So, what are some of the key things he is looking for?

    “Someone who wants it,” he says. “A desire.”

    Chrostowski continues: “I run them through the mill. It’s a test to see who has a winning attitude. I want to see if in the first three weeks they’re not getting up early; they’re not improving. They have to show improvement. We can train anyone with a ‘I can, I will’ attitude.”

    Needless to say, Chrostowski is a big believer in second chances. “If you believe in human will and fair and equal opportunities for everyone and put all of that together, it should all come together. It’s obvious it should,” he says.

    Given his experience at EDWINS, what’s Chrostowski’s advice to his fellow entrepreneurs? Be vigilant about everything that is going on in your business and be aggressive about getting things taken care of.

    “When you see a problem, fix a problem,” he advises. “There’s no reason why you should wait or the problem should wait. If you don’t address it, you’ll have a bigger one.”

    In addition to the Feb. 7 event, learn about additional COSE events that will provide you with the resources you need to grow your business.

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  • Next up: What You Need to Know about New Overtime Rules
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  • What You Need to Know about New Overtime Rules

    There are new rules on Overtime pay that will be going into effect December 1 that will impact anyone who has salaried employees making less than $47,476 per year. So, what does this mean for your business?

    There are new rules on Overtime pay that will be going into effect December 1 that will impact anyone who has salaried employees making less than $47,476 per year. So, what does this mean for your business?

    Learn more about the reasons for this change, the implications for small employers and the potential impact on your HR Policies in a webinar featuring expert analysis from Keith Ashmus of Frantz Ward LLP and Mireille Wozniak-Michalak of Petiole HR, LLC.



    Download the presentation as a PDF here.

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  • Next up: What's an LLC?
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  • What's an LLC?

    Curious about LLCs? Here’s a guide that explains what this structure is, how you can form one and what the benefits and disadvantages are.

    A limited liability company (LLC) is a hybrid legal structure that provides the limited liability features of a corporation and the tax efficiencies and operational flexibility of a partnership. The owners of an LLC are referred to as members. Depending on the state, the members can consist of a single individual (one owner), or two or more individuals, corporations or other LLCs.

    Unlike shareholders in a corporation, LLCs are not taxed as a separate business entity. Instead, all profits and losses are “passed through” the business to each member of the LLC. LLC members report profits and losses on their personal federal tax returns, just like the owners of a partnership.

    Forming an LLC

    While each state has slight variations in its requirements for forming an LLC, they all adhere to the same general principles:

    Choose a Business Name. There are three general rules for your LLC’s name: 1. It must be different from an existing LLC in your state, 2. It must indicate that it is an LLC (such as LLC or Limited Liability Company), and 3. It must not include words restricted by your state (such as bank or insurance).

    File Articles of Organization. This is a simple document that includes information such as your business name, address, registered agent and sometimes the names of the members. In Ohio you file with the Secretary of State, though in other states it may be the State Corporation Commission, Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, or the Division of Corporations & Commercial Code. There is typically a filing fee that must accompany the articles of organization.

    Create an Operating Agreement. Most states do not require operating agreements. However, an operating agreement is highly recommended for multi-member LLCs because it structures your LLC’s finances and organization, and provides rules and regulations for smooth operation. The operating agreement usually includes percentage of interests, allocation of profits and losses, members’ rights and responsibilities, buy-out provisions and covers other important items.

    Obtain Licenses and Permits. Once your business is registered, you must obtain other necessary business licenses and permits. Regulations vary by industry, state and locality.

    LLC Taxes

    In the eyes of the federal government, an LLC is not a separate tax entity so the business itself is not taxed. Instead, all federal income taxes are passed through to the LLC’s members and are paid as part of their personal income tax. Note that though the federal government does not tax income on an LLC, some states do.

    LLCs must file a corporation, partnership or sole proprietorship tax return. Talk with your accounting professional to determine whether your LLC is automatically classified and taxed as a corporation by federal tax law, or which tax classification to choose that best meets your needs, as well as which tax forms to file. For additional guidance visit IRS.gov.

    There is an additional option of requesting S-Corp status for your LLC.  You’ll have to make a special election with the IRS to have the LLC taxed as an S-Corp, and must file prior to the first two months and 15 days of the beginning of the tax year in which the election is to take effect.  The LLC remains a limited liability company from a legal standpoint, but for tax purposes it can be treated as an S-Corp. Be sure to contact the state’s income tax agency to determine how it handles an S-Corp election as well. Your accountant can best guide you in making these decisions and filing the proper paperwork.

    Advantages of an LLC

    Limited Liability. Members are protected from personal liability for business decisions or actions of the LLC. This means that if the LLC incurs debt or is sued, members’ personal assets are usually exempt. This is similar to the liability protections afforded to shareholders of a corporation. Keep in mind that limited liability means “limited” liability—members are not necessarily shielded from wrongful acts, including those of their employees.

    Less Recordkeeping. An LLC’s operational ease is one of its greatest advantages. Compared to an S-Corporation, there is less registration paperwork and there are lower start-up costs.

    Sharing of Profits. There are fewer restrictions on profit sharing within an LLC, as members distribute profits as they see fit. Members might also contribute different proportions of capital and sweat equity. Consequently, it’s up to the members themselves to decide who has earned what percentage of the profits or losses.

    Disadvantages of an LLC

    Limited Life. In many states, when a member leaves an LLC the business is dissolved and the members must fulfill all remaining legal and business obligations to close the business. The remaining members can decide if they want to start a new LLC or part ways. However, you can include provisions in your operating agreement to prolong the life of the LLC if a member decides to leave the business.

    Self-Employment Taxes. Members of an LLC are considered self-employed and must pay the self-employment tax contributions toward Medicare and Social Security. The entire net income of the LLC is subject to this tax.

    New Tax Considerations

    Effective January 1, 2018, the tax audit rules affecting LLCs have changed. If you have an existing LLC, it is important to update your operating agreement to accommodate these critical changes.

    Stacy is a founding member of BauerGriffith, a business law firm providing high quality legal and business counsel to a wide array of clients, with an emphasis on non-profit organizations, small business and individual planning clients. She serves as outsourced corporate counsel for diverse clients, partnering with executive management to design, plan and implement stated and defined business objectives within legal parameters.

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