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 is the “Silent Thief of Sight?"
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  • What is the “Silent Thief of Sight?"


    Glaucoma is a complicated disease that slowly damages the optic nerve in the back of your eye, leading to progressive, irreversible vision loss. There are several forms of the disease, but the most common type in the United States is open-angle glaucoma, which is an imbalance in the production and drainage of the clear fluid that fills the eye between the cornea and iris.

    This fluid imbalance leads to pressure inside the eye that pushes against the optic nerve, eventually causing irreversible damage. 

    Since glaucoma generally has no initial symptoms, pressure in the eye builds up gradually until the optic nerve is damaged and peripheral vision is lost. In later stages of glaucoma, people may bump into doorways or not see a car in a passing lane because their peripheral vision is significantly affected. To see what it can look like to experience glaucoma, check out our Eye Disease Simulator.

    A less common form of the disease called angle-closure glaucoma is caused by a blocked drainage canal, resulting in a sudden rise in eye pressure that can develop very quickly. The symptoms and damage of this type tend to be more noticeable and may include eye pain, nausea and vomiting (accompanying severe eye pain), blurred vision or vision loss, and more.

    Are you at risk for glaucoma?

    According to CDC, you may be at higher risk for glaucoma if you: 
    Have diabetes
    Have a family history of glaucoma 
    Are 40 and older and African American 
    Are 60 and older

    Can glaucoma be treated? 

    Although vision already lost to the disease cannot be restored, glaucoma can be treated with medication or surgery to slow or prevent further vision loss.

    Can glaucoma be prevented? 

    While there are no known ways to prevent glaucoma, early detection through annual comprehensive eye exams can help identify early warning signs of the eye condition and help protect your vision from progressive damage caused by glaucoma. During a comprehensive eye exam, your eye doctor will inspect your intraocular pressure and examine your optic nerve. If your eye pressure is elevated or your optic nerve looks suspicious, your provider will likely perform scans of your retina and optic nerve to find out if you have glaucoma. Schedule your annual comprehensive eye exam today at a VSP® Premier Program location near you!

    See Well. Be Well.® If you haven’t already, take advantage of your COSE member benefit and opt-in to VSP vision insurance. Contact your COSE sales representative or broker for more info.

    Information received through VSP Vision Care channels is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, medical recommendations, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your eye doctor, physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

    ©2022 Vision Service Plan. VSP and See Well. Be Well. are registered trademarks of Vision Service Plan.  All rights reserved. All other brands or marks are the property of their respective owners.

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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 Ohio Business Owners Need to Know About Anti-Harassment & Anti-Retaliation Laws
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  • What Ohio Business Owners Need to Know About Anti-Harassment & Anti-Retaliation Laws

    It's crucial for business owners to fully understand the laws governing aspects of workplace interactions. Read on to learn what your responsibilities are to a worker who has experienced sexual harassment on the job.


    As a business owner, you want to provide your employees with a safe working environment. Federal laws like the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972 work together to ensure that workers' rights are upheld and provide guidance to employers regarding hiring practices, discrimination, harassment in the workplace, and other employee-relations issues. 

    Ohio has also passed state laws governing the various aspects of the employer-employee relationship. Knowing details of anti-harassment and anti-retaliation statutes is critical for your business operations. What are your responsibilities to a worker who has experienced harassment on the job? What are your potential liabilities? Do you have policies in place that comply with federal and state laws regarding retaliation in the workplace? These are questions you should consider if you run a business in the State of Ohio.

    Handling Claims of Harassment in the Workplace

    Workplace harassment not only hurts employees, productivity, and overall business, but it is also illegal in Ohio. There are two primary types of this unwanted behavior: favors or job benefits for sex, and harassment that creates a hostile work environment.

    Here is an example of each:

    Quid Pro Quo 
    This type of harassment occurs when a supervisor or person in a position of authority requests sex in exchange for benefits such as a promotion or raise, or for not firing or punishing the employee. For example, an employee receives a bonus simply because they are dating a supervisor or other person of authority. 

    Hostile Work Environment 
    This harassment occurs when a member of your business commits unwelcomed behavior toward another coworker based on their protected class (race, sex, religion, disability, etc.) and does so in a way that interferes with their ability to work. 

    Hostile work environment situations often depend on the severity and pervasiveness of the harassing behavior. Teasing could easily create a negative work situation because it can interfere with another employee's work performance to the point that it is unlawful. For this reason, any complaints about a worker being offensive toward another should be dealt with right away. 

    RELATED: Understanding digital harassment

    Employer Liability for Workplace Harassment Claims
    Suppose you are an employer that has both an adequate anti-harassment policy and complaint procedures in place and both are well-written and promptly followed. In that case, you may have improved our chances of having a successful defense against lawsuits against your organization should an employee sue for harassment. 

    What constitutes an adequate anti-harassment policy? In your policy you should be sure to do the following:

    Use clear and unambiguous language
    Have your policy in writing and shared broadly throughout your company
    Conduct annual review and in-person training of these policies
    Be clear on which roles and responsibilities belong to employers and which belong to employees in instances of reported harassment 
    Use crystal clear explanations of what conduct is prohibited and constitutes harassment
    Implement a complaint process that is easily understood, followed, and provides several paths to report incidents through impartial channels
    Explain the complaint process that must be followed at the moment a complaint is reported
    Highlight your commitment to perform a prompt and thorough investigation
    Include non-employees, like vendors or temp employees, in the scope of the policy
    Ensure as much confidentiality as legally possible
    Outline what corrective actions management takes if a harassment report is validated
    Emphasize that workplace retaliation toward the reporting employee is prohibited and has consequences

    Whether a coworker was making offensive jokes at the water cooler or someone sent a text message to a teammate making unwanted advances, take all reports seriously.

    Workplace Retaliation Can Spell Big Problems

    Employers should also be familiar with retaliation in the workplace. Under both Ohio and federal law, it is illegal for employers to punish employees for reporting discrimination they witness at work. State statutes, for example, protect employees with good-faith beliefs that they saw or experienced discriminatory behavior, or who act against such instances. 

    RELATED: Read more by Alex Gertsburg

    There are several types of such protected activities. Here are some examples: 

    A company owner tells a hiring manager not to hire women for a vacant job role because they believe women are incapable of performing the required tasks. Instead of following this discriminatory policy, the manager hires a female candidate anyway, going against their employer's demand.

    An employee takes direct action to combat discrimination in their workplace. This often involves the worker filing a complaint against the business and assisting the investigation. Coworkers who witnessed discriminatory behavior can also take part as a protected activity. 

    Courts will take a hard look at what circumstances caused employees to take these actions against their employer. Those who punish their workers for complaining or reporting discriminatory conduct are violating state and federal anti-retaliation laws. 

    If you receive a complaint that discrimination is occurring in your business, avoid reacting out of anger, even if you are the subject of the report. Be professional, objective, and don't try to make their life more difficult on the job out of spite.

    One of the best ways to prevent retaliation allegations is to have a comprehensive anti-retaliation policy in place. Make sure any guidelines you create take the following suggestions into consideration:

    Any anti-retaliation policy you have should be in written format
    If you receive complaints of retaliation in the workplace, pursue independent investigations to avoid accusations of bias
    Investigate complaints of this behavior promptly
    Make it clear that any retaliation against protected activities is prohibited

    These steps, taken in conjunction with good written policies supporting workplace fairness, equality, and respect, can help prevent allegations of discrimination from turning into accusations of retaliatory behavior.

    Workplace Harassment and Retaliation Claims are Preventable

    As a business owner, you have a significant amount of influence and control over the behavior your employees, vendors, and customers engage in at your workplace. Prioritizing these issues and creating policies that confront these situations head-on can save you costly lawsuits and reputational damage to your company name. 

    Whenever an employee complains about a customer making inappropriate sexual jokes, you are responsible for making it stop. Always take complaints involving harassment or retaliation seriously to minimize your liability and show you mean business regarding workplace protections for your team.

    Alex Gertsburg is a managing partner at Gertsburg Licata and is a board member of COSE and Greater Cleveland Partnership. He can be reached at agertsburg@gertsburglicata.com or by phone at (216) 573-6000.

    At Gertsburg Licata, home of CoverMySix®, our innovative anti-litigation audit service, we help business owners take inventory of their hiring and employment policies, procedures and documents to ensure they are on firm ground in instances of harassment and retaliation claims. We invite you to call 216-573-6000 or fill out our contact form for a complimentary* consultation call with one of our attorneys.

    *Complimentary CoverMySix® consultation calls are exclusive to COSE members. 

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