For SME’s and successful businesses, people can create the greatest value for a company, but can also present the greatest risks. On Friday, November 6 at The Caledonian Club in London, the Building British Business initiative addressed the ever-persistent People issue – how to find, hire and retain the best people.
Building British Business (BBB) founded by Jane Emma Peerless in 2013, to connect Directors, Founders and Owners of privately owned, ambitious businesses to network, listen to inspirational peers and solve business problems.
Friday’s event, was the 6th BBB event and saw over 80 decision makers across a variety of industries get together to understand how to leverage their most important asset – their staff. The event was moderated by Stuart Rock, previous publisher of Real Business Magazine, and Jane Emma and heard from a variety of passionate, insightful and successful speakers from industries covering music, toy, communication, legal and digital.
Guy Hayward, CEO of Goodman Masson ended the formalities with an inspirational and thought provoking message about retention and engagement that bought the audience to their feet. His mantra is to get it right from the very beginning, and as a result has created a highly unique and successful working environment. With the philosophy that “people want to connect their incomes with their lifestyles” as the foundations for his practices, he has created and executed a revolutionary approach to working.
Here are the top lessons learned from the day:
Be clear with your job description, but be flexible. David Strang, owner of Wicked Vision, a vibrant toy company, who is able to identify passion and talents of his staff, taking a warehouse operator to become the company’s graphic designer. David said “As an owner of a small business it is vital to use the talent and energy on offer as you never know what you may find.“
If you want to find out who is around to hire, start a community. This paid off for Juliana Meyer, owner of Superpass, a music streaming platform which connects artists to their fans. Juliana created a community in Norwich which is a rich hub of technical development, giving herself a great candidate pool when she needed to recruit.
Company directors must always be involved in the recruitment process. Giles Fraser, Director of digitally led communications agency Brands2Life says this is vital for the company’s successful graduate program. Giles said “If a key member of the board doesn’t meet a candidate at junior level, the wrong people may slip through.“
Give all potential candidates a writing test. This is the philosophy of Patrick Eve, founder of TranslateMedia which offers high quality, professional translation services for global brands. Regardless of your industry, this will eliminate the problem of those who cannot express themselves to clients and colleagues over email, and will also deal with bad grammar and
Fail Fast. If it’s not right, it is vital to remove unproductive people as soon as their lack of productivity becomes obvious. This can be difficult to spot from a management perspective but is essential in ensuring that your business can move forward.
Finally, in the words of Guy Hayward, the most important thing businesses can do to retain their staff is to “ensure you create an environment where people don’t want to leave.“