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Staff : Finding the Right People for your Business

In our recent study into exit strategies for business owners we discovered one of the key issues keeping an owner locked into their business is their inability to find the 'right' or 'good' people.

In some industries this may be an inescapable fact. In the health professions in particular there is a recognised shortage of appropriately skilled people. However, for most other industries being unable to find the 'right' people is a symptom rather than a cause of problems in the business.

There are some basic steps you can take to improve the likelihood of being able to get those ever-evasive 'great' people into your business.

Do you really understand the capabilities needed?

Whenever a business owner says to us 'it is so difficult to find the right people' we automatically ask if they have an operations manual. What's the connection? Unless your systems and processes, roles and responsibilities are clearly defined you're unlikely to know exactly what type of person, and skill set, is the 'right' one. Far too much recruitment in small business seems to be done on intuition. A hazy approach will inevitably lead to a hazy outcome.

This issue escalates even further in importance when the business owner decides they want to spend less time working. Have you ever found yourself thinking that you're the only person that can really do your job properly? Maybe you've heard someone else say it. This could possibly be true. However, we usually find people who feel that way haven't actually spent time thinking through how it is they're capable of doing what they do. Consider these questions:

1. What beliefs enable you to do your work?
2. What's important to you about the way you do your work?
3. What environmental factors need to be present? (e.g. tools & resources)
4. What are the physical steps you take to do what you do?
5. What sort of information do you seek?
6. Has this been documented in a clear and concise job description?

These questions will help you get specific about the capabilities required to do your job. Take care to clearly separate between actual capabilities required and personal idiosyncrasies. Write all of this down in a job description. You may be pleasently surprised about the impact this has on your mindset. You suddenly become aware that there could be a lot more people possessing the required skills, aptitude and attitude then you first thought.

"Employees leaves bosses not companies"

The next step in getting the 'right' people is to ensure you have the right business structure.

Now here's the bite...

The seeds of any business culture grow from the values, attitudes and behaviour of the business leaders, that is YOU! The quickest way to begin assessing if you have a culture that is attractive to the 'right' people is to first observe your own behaviour.

Sue Parbury is a freelance HR consultant with Eyes Wide Open. Sue's area of specialty is helping good people become exceptional performers. She suggests using the following diagnostic questions to determine if current behaviour in the business is actually attractive to the type of people you want to have working for you.

1. Would the people in your team consider you an inspirational communicator?
2. What are your employees' perception of your relationship with them?
3. What are you doing to develop your accountability as the leader of the business?
4. Are you clear about the key tasks being carried out by each team member?
5. Do you know how people feel about the jobs they are doing?
6. How frequently are you coaching them to be successful in their jobs?
7. How often do you voice appreciation to your employees about what they've done?
8. How often do you communicate with them in general?
9. Do you know the specific skill areas in which each of your team members need to develop to become brilliant at their job?
10. Do you know your own specific areas of development so you can lead these people toward becoming exceptional performers?

If you're able to come up with clear, positive and truthful answers to each of these questions then the chances are you have a culture that is highly attractive to prospective employees.

If you don't have good answers to these questions already then use them to plot a way forward to create a more attractive culture.

Write a Recruitment Action Plan

Having thought through the issues above it will be time well spent to jot down your thinking in a 1 -2 page plan. Now that you can be specific about the type of person you want and can attract, you need to get clear about how and where you are going to find those people. Put your thinking cap on...

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