Ways to make the most of your star performers

The stronger the team, the more successful the company. Rob Scott from Presence of IT, an HR/payroll and workforce management consultancy, shares his tips for recruiting, retaining and managing the highly-skilled people a growing business needs.

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When you’re growing a business it makes sense to surround yourself with clever and capable people.

“Not knowing all the answers isn’t a sign of weakness,” says Rob Scott, Global Lead: HR Strategy & Innovation at Presence of IT. “A wise owner sees when the business is outgrowing his or her capabilities and focuses on recruiting people whose knowledge will fill the gaps.”

The right environment

Most highly talented people know their value and are very specific about what they expect from their working environment.

“I think of that as the triple ‘f’ factor – freedom, fame and fun,” says Scott. “They want the freedom to operate, think, create and innovate. They want fame in the sense of recognition, credibility and respect, so they look for opportunities to develop new skills as well as hone the ones they already have. And fun doesn’t mean an espresso machine and a ping-pong table – they want their work to be an engaging and challenging experience.”

Don’t over promise

The days are long gone when you could paint a glowing picture of your organisation in a job ad and expect your target audience to take it at face value.

“There are plenty of ways to find out what it’s like to work in your organisation,” says Scott. “Glassdoor, for example, is the TripAdvisor of the employment world. Employees or former employees can post their opinions, salary details and rate the CEO. You can key the name of a company into LinkedIn and view profiles of people who used to work there. It’s easy to see if you’ve been struggling to retain good people and any potential employee will want to know why.”

You need to know what people are saying about your company and, if any negative comments are justified, take steps to put things right.

“The positive things you offer should be visible online but what you say and what you do must be completely aligned,” says Scott. “If there’s a mismatch you can be sure that people will hear about it, and your reputation will suffer. That could make it very difficult to attract the calibre of people you need to help your business achieve its potential.”

Five ways to make the most of talented people

  1. Every successful company will eventually outgrow its owner’s strengths. Recruit to cover your weaknesses.
  2. Create a working environment that offers the triple ‘f’ factor – freedom, fame and fun.
  3. Don’t presume you can retain star performers by throwing money at them. Money is important to a point but very quickly loses its power when their other needs aren’t being met.
  4. Accept that talented people are in demand and will do a great deal of research before deciding to join your company. Look where they look to find out what people are saying about you and, if there are negative comments, be ready explain how you’re putting things right.
  5. Never promise more than you can offer. If what you say and what you do are misaligned, word will spread, and your reputation will suffer.

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