This article will benefit Business Owners, MDs and CEOs and anyone involved in selecting the right people to help growing and changing organisations. This article covers both internal and external selection, recruitment and promotions.
Please be aware that this section delivers guidance, best practice and know how. It is ultimately your responsibility to ensure compliance with local laws and employment regulation. Qualified legal advisers are available on request.
Growth brings with it many challenges and clearly one of the most important activities any senior manager can engage in is selecting the right people for the right job. This is particularly important for growing companies where the culture is changing. The transition from break fix to a recurring revenue model presents some specific challenges.
Words of wisdom
“The company must be set up so it can run without me,” Richard Branson, Virgin Group
“I try to select the right people, give them guidance of what we need them to do and stand back and let them get on with it”, Bob Davis, Chief Marketing Officer, Kaseya
Some of challenges faced when selecting people
- Many senior managers delegate this mission critical process to juniors and HR teams. Do not be tempted to delegate this vital process. People are the foundation that your business is built on and YOU and the decisions you have embedded into the business are the reason you are now managing growth. You need to ensure that YOUR values are embedded into the recruitment process.
- People selection is very time consuming and many senior managers find it difficult to find the time required to develop a solid people selection model so they outsource it and hand over too much power. By all means consult external experts, use junior staff and outsourced experts for parts of the process. But YOU MUST own the process and set the standards. Remember, HR people are usually, quite rightly, gatekeepers there to protect the business and assist with managing staff. YOU are the wealth creator. Set the bar as to what you need them to achieve commercially for the business as well as from a compliance perspective.
- Selecting people is a very specialist skill; it’s often very difficult because we are dealing with people, emotions and external influence from friends, relatives and competitors. There is a view (often kept quiet) held by many recruitment specialists that if you get the whole process 100% right you still only have a 50% chance of getting the outcome you desire. If you accept this view, it is essential you get your 50% right.
- Finding the right people can be time consuming and difficult. You may well be competing for skills against competitors. Treat it as you would any procurement process with care and due diligence exercised at every stage.
Guidance on effective people selection
There are some key steps that you need to develop and put in place to ensure that you and your team select the right people for growth. They need the right skills, qualifications, attitude, values and motivation and must fit in with your existing culture.
- Take the emotion out of your decision making, don’t reward loyalty for the sake of it. Focus on the question: Can the candidate do the job effectively?
- ALWAYS look internally and externally for every new position. Not only is this desirable from a compliance point of view, you need to have something to compare with and you run the risk of overlooking internal talent in people who already understand your values.
- If you are considering elevating someone through promotion ask these questions. Do they really want it, how will they adapt, what additional training will I need to provide?
- Be aware of the opportunities and threats presented by Nepotism. Many successful businesses have been built on the basis of recruiting family and friends and it can be very successful. However, it triples your responsibility to match the person, their capabilities and personality to the job role. If you get it wrong you will be faced with an untenable choice, fire them and face the consequences on your private life or leave someone in a position that is detrimental to the future of your business. If you are going to put forward a friend or family member, own the recruitment process but delegate the final decision making to a trusted colleague who has the guts to say no to you if the applicant doesn’t make it through the process.
The road to successful people selection
To ensure successful selection of the right people these are the steps that other successful rapidly growing companies have taken in the IT sector.
- MANAGING EXTERNAL SUPPPORT- There are many external resources available to help you with this important area of developing your business. Head hunters, HR consultants, Recruitment Agencies, Profiling and people selection systems and specialist Consultants. Follow the steps below to help you manage both internal and external resources but remember you should OWN THE PROCESS and the standards by which it is measured.
- FINDING SUITABLE CANDIDATES – Can be one of the most challenging aspects of recruitment – tips on how to increase your options
- DEVELOP A STRATEGIC PLAN – You need a fully developed and documented strategy for the next 3 years. How can you build a team if you don’t know where you are going and how are you are going to get there?
- VISON, MISSION & VALUES – As a minimum, you need to have defined and documented set of your “vision”, “mission” and “values”. This is critical to determine where you are going, what you do to get there and the manner in which you expect your team to behave when executing that vision and mission.
- JOB DESCRIPTION – Who do they report to, what do you expect them to do, what skills do they need to deliver? All of this should be defined in a properly written job description. You can use it to brief external suppliers such as head hunters and advertising agencies. It will also ensure that your management and HR team know what it is you are trying to achieve.
- CVs and APPLICATION FORMS – CVs tell you what the applicant and their advocates want you to know. A properly constructed and executed application process will find out what you want to know and deliver a small number of applicable CVs and reduce your selection time.
- MANAGING INTERVIEWS – Always give yourself a choice of candidates and if you end up with no one – that’s still a good result. It’s better to have the right person than compromise and regret it later
- THE JOB OFFER – You need to get this correct from a compliance point of view. If you have selected the right person, it sets the scene for the next few months and the coming years.
- TERMS OF EMPLOYMENT