The Footprint Group News

Desperate Times and Desperate Measures

Matt Heighway - Thursday, July 27, 2017

Desperate Times and Desperate Measures

When your business is short staffed, there can be nothing more frustrating than a candidate short market.

You and your team are already under the pump, and as an owner or manager you constantly find yourself being pulled into working ‘in’ rather than ‘on’ your business. This only impacts on your ability to focus on growth, client acquisition and product & service development.

But despite the temptation, it’s important to remember that desperate times shouldn’t mean you take desperate measures.

When you simply don’t have the resources to make ends meet, and fulfil the workload you have coming through the door, it can seem like a good option to appoint new employees who don’t fit in with your usual criteria and are a mis-match with your culture and values. But this in fact can do more harm than good and here is why:

1)A new team member who does not encompass your values and work in a way which reflects your business quality standards, ethics and systems will never be long term, so ultimately you spend time, money andeffort training, developing, coaching and guiding for them only to leave before you have recouped your costs

2)Appointing a new team member who does not fit in with your existing team, who are committed to your vision and goals, will potentially upset them and have the reverse impact for you. To unsettle your existing team may result in less productive staff, or worse still those staff leaving the organisation because of the new person

3)In a candidate short market your judgement can be blurred by desperation. You need extra hands on deck ASAP, and the candidates in these markets know this. So they become more demanding with their expectations around terms, conditions and salaries. Ultimately you agree because you need someone, but long term it creates a situation with is no longer sustainable because the business workflow ends up structured around them and their demands, rather than the potential for a strong structure for growth.

Clearly there needs to be a solution to help get you and your business through this time, so here are a few things I recommend to help relieve the load!

1)Communicate openly with your existing team and support them – create an environment which keeps them engaged, motivated and focused. This way they will be as productive as possible for you. Share with them your efforts to locate a like minded team member, and even ask for their help with this, you never know who is around in their extended social circles.

2)Think outside the square. Clearly your usual ideal candidate is not out there right now, so how else could this work get done? Can the work be re structured in the office to create a different skills gap, can you promote or retrain an existing team member, can you systemise or streamline anything to help make processes easier and faster?

3)Think about outsourcing. This won’t be an option for all roles and all businesses, and certainly may not be long term. But in the short term could a contractor or outsourced supplier help you to get through this busy period?

4)What’s not urgent and taking up your time? Can it be put on the shelf for a short time? This can often be hard for business leaders who spend time and energy structuring things to enable them to spend time on their business and its overall strategy and development. But sometimes, especially in small business, the ability to switch betweenworking in and on the business can be priceless for getting through these tough workflow periods

5)Get an outsider’s perspective. Ever felt like you can’t see the forest for the trees? It can happen so easily when you are snowed under, overwhelmed and unable to see a real solution. Getting an outside consultant, mentor or trusted advisor in to have a ‘birds eye’ look at your business might reveal some light bulb suggestions for easing the load, which had been in front of your face the whole time but just hadn’t crossed your mind.

Above all else it’s important to remain positive and focused. Be clear about your vision and direction and the sort of people you want in your business to help you achieve these goals. If you remain clear on that, it will help ensure that even in the times you feel like you’re drowning in work, you make the right decisions about who you engage in your business and why.

The Value of Association

Matt Heighway - Tuesday, July 25, 2017

 

 

As business owners, leaders and managers we often spend a great deal of time and effort into our ‘brand’. This includes our business brand, our personal brand and often in a wider capacity the brand of our industry and local business community.

We put countless hours and huge amounts of money into building our brand, ensuring the image is right, the consistency is there and the marketability of the brand is as strong as it can be. We know our brand, and many of those leaders who really have a strong understanding of, and synergy with their brand, represent their brand in everything they do.

They act in a way which reflects the brand, talk in language which speaks of the brand, dress in a way which reflects the brand and communicate in ways which suits the brand and its consumers.

So the brand is good, and we know how to represent it – but then there are the staff. How can you make sure that the people you engage in your business represent the brand as well as you do?

The people you engage in your organisation, whether as employee, supplier or contractor naturally become associated with your brand, and one thing I believe we can’t underestimate is the value of association and the impact this has on our brand.

You can work as hard as you like perfecting your reflection of your brand, but if the associations you keep in your business do not appear consistent with the brand you are trying to portray, you are undermining and possibly damaging the quality, consistency and overall impact of your brand by those who view your business.

At the heart of this for me is the people within your business. The staff, contractors and service partners you align yourself with who, by nature of their roles, act as an ambassador to your business and ultimately are responsible for projecting your brand to your consumers and the wider community.

Whether employed by you directly or indirectly via an agreement, engagement or supplier relationship, you need to be certain that they represent your brand to the extent you expect and the level you demand.

To do this here are some tips to help get things aligned:

-Understand for yourself the values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviours which define your brand. By understanding this you can then ensure all future relationships align with these core values, and as such reflect your brand.

-Assess new employees with these values in mind, to ensure they reflect the brand from the inside out, so to speak

-Think about your brand when you engage a contractor or supplier, and ask yourself this question “if my top customers knew this person / business was associated with me and my business, how would they feel?”

-Trust your gut and follow your instincts

Associating yourself and your business with the right partners can be a valuable addition and compliment to your brand, and conversely the reverse can apply.

Never underestimate the value of association and the impact that those representing your business, whether directly employed or not, can have on your brand image and reputation in the market place.

Is indecision ruining your recruitment?

Kristy-Lee Billett - Thursday, June 23, 2016

Recently we had some of the most interesting and frustrating feedback from a client I think I have ever seen (in my 10 + years recruiting):

“I can’t make a decision because you have presented 2 great candidates – if we hired one of them we’d always wonder whether the other would have been better....”

Ludicrous?Funny?Typical?

Of course our first reaction was that this client just isn’t interested in employing someone, surely one candidate stands ahead of the other for their needs?

But as I reflected on this, I wondered how many other small businesses are letting indecision ruin their recruitment success. Have you missed out on great candidates because you couldn’t decide what you were looking for or which applicant was the best fit for the team?

I am sure we all at some point in running a business have been crippled by indecision, for fear of failure, reluctance to face the unknown or purely because we were too busy to make that decision a priority.

It comes as no surprise that a poor recruit costs your business time, money and energy, so why let something as easy to overcome as indecision play a factor in getting the best possible staff for your team?

Here are my top tips for avoiding and overcoming indecision to make sure you maximise your chances of success when recruiting for staff:

  • Know what you are looking for. It may sound basic but without a crystal clear picture in your mind of what this individual needs to be able to do in their role, and what experience and skills they need to possess in order for this to happen – how will you ever decide who is right for your role?
  • Prioritise your essential and desirable criteria, so if there are several candidates who are all at the same level, you will be able to ‘rank’ their suitability in terms of their ability to meet your criteria.
  • Make notes after each interview, whilst the applicant, their answers and your gut feel about their ability to fit into your team are fresh in your mind. It might be simplest to give them an overall score out of 10 for several key criteria, so that when you are comparing several applicants it becomes clear who the leaders were
  • Get a buddy – or ditch a buddy – if you don’t have anyone helping with the recruitment process, get a buddy to bounce ideas off and act as a sounding board. This might be someone from the organisation or someone from outside, as long as they understand your needs and the organisation as a whole. Conversely if you have someone ‘helping’ you but all they are doing is confusing you and muddying the waters when it comes to your decision making, ditch them and find someone who might be better able to help rather than hinder.
  • Don’t over analyse, approach the recruitment with clarity, purpose and a defined goal. This way you will be able to focus on what’s important and forget about the rest.
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Is indecision ruining your recruitment?

Recently we had some of the most interesting and frustrating feedback from a client I think I have ever seen (in my 10 + years recruiting)...

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