Archive for category Recruitment

Motivating staff without huge salaries

How to motivate staff without paying them huge salaries was the main topic for discussion at a recent Business Exposure Group meeting.

It’s easy to find an employee but not easy to find help.  Help is when you pay money and get back more than you laid out.  So, how do you attract the right employee?  Don’t hire people on a recommendation or just because you know them.  Take time to select the right person for your company, and let them loose so that they can do what they do best.

The usual job ads don’t work – ‘salary commensurate with experience’ is boring, ‘competitive wage’ ie, you pay the same as everyone else – will not attract amazing people.  Good candidates want – no management, no bullshit, and no idiots – that would attract great people.  So, come up with your own unique version to attract good people to your company.

As an employer you must not play God, employees do not like being talked down to, nor is it good for motivating them.  Bad bosses bribe their employees with high salaries.  Amazing bosses motivate their staff by saying ‘this is where the company is going’ and ‘let me take you on a journey’.  Only give pay rises commensurate with the success of the business, don’t bribe staff to stay – they must be motivated.  Create a ‘map’ and show employees what they are working to achieve.

Make your staff feel they are part of the success.  Does putting KPI’s on the computer so staff can see how well the company is doing in comparison with last month, energise and motivate your staff, or is it dangerous if the business performance takes a dip?

Have you got a good environment for people to work and flourish?  They will be motivated to do better if they are recognised for going that extra yard.

So, how do you ensure that your staff want to be part of your business rather than just turning up every day with an attitude that they are making you money and not seeing anything for themselves.  They must buy-in to being part of the bigger picture.

Don’t hire people to do the jobs you won’t do.  It begs the question why would someone else want to do it?  Mundane jobs are okay if you introduce some variety, consider flexible working practices.

Giving people a job title often limits the role they carry out, eg receptionist – only answers the telephone.  That is probably not a fulltime role.  Everyone should share the job responsibility, but this only works if staff are motivated,eg techies who are happy to deal with customers.  Keep staff motivated and have a share in the collective work.  Get staff to do a bit of each other’s job when needed, ie to cover absence.  Introduce cross-training.  Employees like to do more and be involved.  Staff will take pride in their work if they feel part of the business.  Also clients like to talk to people who know about other areas of the business and can add value.

Good employers have a vision of what needs to be done, which is not done by having rules.  Employees should be following your vision and solving problems, not obeying rules.One of our members who has a cutting edge business explained that ‘the fact that other businesses hate that we exist’ is what makes my staff excited and motivates more than pay.

The younger generation enjoy the competitive environment but this is not limited to financial gain.  Quality of life is the big motivator these days.  It is important to move away from the boss to employee relationship towards an alliance for success.

These were some of the points raised by our members during the meeting.

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Clearing dead wood and converting it into success.

How many of us have dead wood in our businesses?

It’s actually about moving a load of people.

The big challenge business owner’s face is that we need to shift non-performers or the blockers in the business. We need people that are more innovative and in touch with the demands of customers. People who will do it cheaper than some of the more senior staff.

But a question was raised at the Business Exposure Group meeting as to whether they were under performers when you hired them or did they become so once they started working? Did you have a role in creating that dead wood? Something must have happened and the business owner must take some responsibility.

Owners who don’t understand that they must create a management system that allows people to think, create and act are failing as leaders no matter how visionary. But how do you make staff feel they have a career with you? How do you put a plan in place to make people realise their future is either with you or not!

It is important to energise high performers – they love to perform. Provide them with relevant training and get out of the way, because they don’t like meddlers. Keep them doing things they like doing and always celebrate progress.

If you have made a mistake release weak hires and disgruntled employees as soon as possible, because
– they are unlikely to get better
– they take up everyone’s time
– they delay the hire of recruiting a quality replacement

One of our members pays off weak hires to leave within the month because he believes the
damage they can cause with clients is immense if they are not on board and enjoying working for the business.

Yet few businesses actually employ ‘managing out’ tactics.

Staff statistics show – 48% don’t like their job / 80% feel stressed / 30% feel engaged /18% are actively disengaged, ie present at work but hating it.

So what causes disengagement was relayed around the table at the meeting with the
following comments made.

a. Micromanagement saps the life out of us and causes apathy at work – it tells an employee that you don’t trust his work
b. Lack of progress – too much red tape, to many unnecessary rules
c. Job insecurity – no confidence in leadership
d. Poor communications
e. Unpleasant co-worker (people with a best friend at work are 7 times more likely to engage with the business)
f. Boredom

Many believe that a constant turnover of staff is inevitable in business and fresh blood is good and not a problem and that once dead wood has been released a tremendous honeymoon period of camaraderie and productivity hits the business. The secret is keeping the honeymoon period for as long as possible, to take advantage of the opportunity to develop the business.

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Business Exposure Group discussion puts staff pay under the spotlight

The amount that new members of staff should be paid was the subject of debate at the latest Business Exposure Group meeting.

Businesses were asked how they set a salary range for new staff, and one attendee said: “Ensuring that the amount you offer new employees is very important. If your candidate is hired at the top of your pay scale, you will have nowhere to go. However, staff who will accept low rates of pay are often less motivated and less effective on the ground.”

“Don’t wait until you find a candidate to come up with an offer,” said Geoff Sumner, who also attended the meeting.  “You need to keep the salary of new hires in line with current staff, and quality of life perks puts you a long way to attracting talent.”

Salary data is available from a number of places including:

–       classified ads

–       networking

–       public information

–       other business owners

–       chamber of commerce

–       employment agencies

–       trade associations

–       job applicants

–       suppliers.

The group also looked at the pay scales for existing staff and how to decide on pay rises. For example, some businesses have chosen to move away from paying the minimum wage of £6.19 per hour to the provincial Living Wage of £7.45.

“You could put every member of staff on commission,” continued Geoff Sumner. “Vary the rate between roles and pay it every month. Every employee is then inherently motivated.  Payroll will rise and fall automatically along with revenue creation.”

The real value of UK wages fell back to the equivalent of the 2003 level in 2012. Since 2009 inflation has outstripped wage increases.

David Greggs, who also attended the meeting said: “Male full time employees in the private sector have experienced the biggest fall in pay and on average, workers have seen pay drop by 3% annually between 2009-2013.

“An increasing number of workers have been underemployed since the economic down turn, which combined with lower take home pay, in real terms means many are earning much less than they were.”

If you are a Director or business owner and would like to attend one of their informative round-table discussions, please contact

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Methods of recruiting – how do you select staff?

The information in this article came from comments at a Business Exposure Group meeting

Recruitment is a two way process for both parties – the employer and the candidate.

So that they can make good decisions, selection becomes a matter of matching and fitting individuals to a business in which they can thrive.

In terms of the application process, there are various processes applicants can go through including:

–          Interviews

Structured interviews – Some questions with a predetermined marking scheme.  Panel interviews can also be useful.

–          Application forms

–          References

–          CVs

–          Personality tests

But these must be able evaluated correctly.

–          Literacy and numeracy tests

–          Aptitude tests

Also, look at physical and mental ability:

–     Assessment centres – (used by 30% of businesses we spoke to)

–          Tests to simulate work such as an in tray exercise, putting the candidate under real life business pressure

–          Group problem solving

–          Presentations on related topics

–          Role plays

–          Writing reports

In times of recession recruitment and selection tends to be about filtering of large numbers of candidates.  In times of prosperity, it is a marketing exercise, hunting out good applicants.  Online applications are there to sift out the volume, and make the selection process manageable.

Most employers recruit for attitude and train for skills.  However the reality of today’s market often points to poor recruitment practices damaging brand and bottom line.  Many candidates are left with a negative view of a business following an unsuccessful job application.

For example, figures from Personnel Today show that 28% of candidates have an experience so bad that it had stopped them doing business in the future with the company as a result.

Some examples of poor recruitment practices:

46% weren’t told they had been unsuccessful

39% said they had a lack of feedback – both of these are because companies receive too many applications which a small business cannot handle.

So think your business could lose significant income over the lifetime of a disgruntled candidate. Therefore treat people in the same way that you would wish to be treated.

And what about the young?  A radical shift is needed in the way young people are viewed by employers as young people are frequently under employed.

– 1 in 5 want to work more hours, but never get the opportunity and

– 1 in 4 employers actually offer ‘work experience’ to young people, with the majority being left on their own without direction.

Contemporary businesses need to embrace some fairly sophisticated ways of selecting talented employees.  No longer should you rely on interview gut feeling.  An experienced interviewee will have all the right answers, so you should dig deeper to get past the interview veneer.

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Developing staff and team profiling – How can it help your business?

Why do some people get your thinking while others don’t seem to get it at all?

In business, we generally avoid the second group but research suggests they may be the very people we need to solve our problems.

Homogenous teams are more compatible, yet diverse teams are more effective at solving problems and also have a proven track record of stimulating innovation. But businesses need to ensure they value these differences in their workforce and create an inclusive culture to promote career growth and productivity.

Many businesses are using behavioural profiling to help them manage their teams to get the best out of their staff and also to provide them with a stronger sense of certainty in their recruitment decisions. It can also be used as part of a staff retention strategy as gaining a greater understanding of your employees improves communication skills, reduces conflict and helps unlock potential.

Profiling gets to the heart of team issues identifying where things are going wrong, personality clashes and challenges that need to be overcome. It enables people to understand what makes their colleagues tick.

The process can also be used to repair dysfunctional teams and train individually talented employees to work well with each other and to improve commitment as well as fix communication breakdowns.

However, there are some pitfalls. Do some people get unnecessarily labelled through the process or are some talented employees lost because they come down on the wrong side of the profile test? If the results of profiling are not interpreted correctly, they can actually steer you away from hiring someone who would have been an exceptional candidate.

Whether you opt for psychometric testing or more traditional methods of staff improvement, investing in training and career development is still regarded as one of the most effective ways of retaining a skilled and specialised workforce.

In times of financial uncertainty, it is vital you have staff in place who are as motivated to making the business a success as the senior management team. Staff development should never be abandoned, even when the budget is tight or non-existent.
There are a number of low-cost or even free sources of training on offer including internal knowledge sharingwhere businesses seize on the experience and knowledge which already exists within their company to train and motivate other members of staff. There is also a wealth of online courses which staff can complete from their own desktop at a time which suits them.

According to Michael Gerber of “E-myth” fame, 80% of all businesses fail in the first 5 years, and of the rest only 4% are successful within another 5 years. So if that’s true, then developing and harnessing the talent of our staff is fundamental to success.

This article came from a discussion event at the Business Exposure Group.

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Recruitment: Some great tips and Best Practice ideas

recruitment tips

Look to recruit the best people in order to become a better business

Securing the right staff helps businesses to thrive and the need for positive, forward-thinking team members is especially critical if you’re looking to drive forward growth in today’s difficult economic conditions.

Hiring the right person first time usually ensures people stay in their jobs longer which results in significant savings for the firm and also reduces disruption to the day-to-day operation. It also has a positive effect on the morale of existing employees.
Sourcing top talent will also provide a benchmark for your current staff to live up to and encourage healthy work-related competition.

The recruitment process is often regarded as one of the ‘headaches’ of management. We’ve all been there – hired someone we thought was perfect, someone who made all the right noises at the interview and then before they have even made it through the first month you realise you’ve made a huge mistake. “Fitting in” is the toughest thing to get right when it comes to hiring and getting it wrong can be costly.

Managers should spend 30% of their time recruiting and then staff turnover will be low. So how much time do you invest in finding people who fit?

There is a link between good people and good business and therefore attracting the best talent is a strategic move. Businesses need to develop a relationship with the people in their market to provide an accessible pipeline of talent into the business when required.

Recruitment agencies provide access to talent that you don’t have, but often the company’s culture can be misunderstood. You can also lose the opportunity to build a relationship with candidates in the marketplace by removing yourself from this stage of the process. Becoming partners with recruitment agencies helps them to better understand your needs and requirements.

Attracting desirable, talented staff requires creativity. Job boards are effectively dead. The best people are already fully employed but maybe concerned about their future. They look for career moves in a certain way, such as networking with close associates and recruiters and Googling for jobs as well as scouring websites.
They won’t look at your website and apply for a particular job so it’s important your message is highly visible on the best recruitment websites and those applicable to your industry.

Employers should target the early birds, not the leftovers as they are merely accepting ‘another job’. Candidates should be provided with an opportunity to just ‘look’ rather be forced to buy. Top candidates will not want too much information initially. Most job descriptions are written to prevent unqualified people from applying rather than written to attract the best people.

Ask your employees to recommend rather than just asking them who is looking for a job. Contact the potential candidate and find an excuse to stay in contact with them, so that they will approach you first when they become unsettled.

Recruiters should stop using job descriptions that define and attract average people. Ask yourself why a person with all the experience in the world would want the job – show the job as a growth opportunity.

Should you cull less effective staff or work with them to improve performance?

Culling would boost financial performance and productivity. Only 4% of companies cull but this can be effective if it is part of your performance management. Businesses need to ensure strong team members are not carrying weaker ones.

Companies often spend so much time on underperformers that they forget to stretch the top performers. Research shows 10% of people in a business are doing the wrong job.

When it comes to recruitment, identify what role your business needs and what type of person and experience will benefit your company. Keep to an agreed timeframe and allow time for recruitment.

Top considerations for employers when trying to secure talent:

• Provide a complete job description
• Involve your current employees
• Make the candidate feel comfortable
• Sell the role and the company
• Provide constructive feedback
• Make a clear offer and get verbal agreement
• Continue the recruitment process after the offer has been made
• Prepare for the candidates start date – get the first day right, or you’ll be playing catch-up.
• Become a great employer

The information for this article came from a discussion at a Business Exposure Group event

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