In most businesses, you will employ staff and they must become a natural extension of your core beliefs. This is so difficult to do. How can you expect an employee to care as much as you, work as hard as you, and deliver as much as you with the same passion? The honest answer is that it is more or less impossible, so you must work so very hard at ensuring you employ the right people and give them the necessary resources to achieve.
At senior level, I only worked with those that were known to me or recommended with evidence of working with them at some direct/indirect level. Look for many skills including enthusiasm, drive, passion, tenacity, integrity, and loyalty. Once you start looking at the layers below senior level, it becomes far more difficult to ensure that you are employing the right calibre of staff.
Getting the right people attending the interview is the first hurdle, whether you advertise or use agencies. My preferred method is to use word of mouth or recommendations, so you are at least one step ahead.
Interviewing staff can be tricky when looking for an “exact” match, but keep it simple. What’s your first impression? What’s their background and track record? How are they coming across? What’s their body language like?
Once the staff are onboard, it is critical that you build a team spirit that is consistent throughout the company. Some groups will get on better than others, but the core beliefs of the company must be consistent. It is important that you treat staff with respect and I firmly believe in the saying, “Treat people the same way you would like to be treated”.
Always think and invest in your staff because they are your biggest asset. How can they improve? What training can you give them to help profitability? I am a firm believer in rewarding people for performing well. In fact, I always believe in tiering remuneration based on the realistic uplift they are producing for the company above the agreed target. Also have team incentives based on uplifted performances.
As you can see, the more you encourage and incentivise over-performance, the more it is likely to happen. From my experience in customer and sales focused environments, looking after your staff and incentivising them to achieve and break targets was the best thing for them and the company!
Having built and sold my SME, I now work with SMEs. I understand their model by embedding myself in the senior management team so I feel the heartbeat of the business. All areas are covered, but the four questions that we work on solving are: How do I grow my business?, How do I achieve client excellence?, How do I make more profit?, and Does my business model deliver?
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