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Expert HR advice for start-ups from an industry pro; Part two

Expert HR advice for start-ups from an industry pro; Part two

Expert HR advice for start-ups from an industry pro; Part two

“You need to think about the building blocks of your team. We believe in the strength approach; that everyone has strengths and weaknesses and, if your weaknesses don’t impact the ability to do your job then, you can work around that.

“Think about who in your team is an extrovert, an analyst etc. and balance this, and make sure to treat all staff individually but make this consistent. For instance, one member of staff might want more flexibility in their working life, another might want more training - the way you manage each of the individuals should be similar but should be specific to them. I dispute that all staff should be treated the same.”

Develop relationships with staff

“You should show that you really care. This can often be achieved by simply understanding somebody. Make sure you have great relationships with staff; show them that you care as this will then motivate them and they can then invest more in the business.

“We’ve seen a business – who should remain anonymous - advertising that their ‘customers are everything’ but what does that mean for the staff that work for them?”

Listen and learn

“Take on board employee feedback. Most people get up in the morning and want to do a good job, so if you’re listening to them and have good internal processes then you’re helping to ensure that they are motivated. Also, think about coaching your managers to help share the message throughout the business.”

How to retain good employees

“You need to build the relationship. You often need to find out what that person wants from their career and you should do this as early as the interview stage. For retention, career path is important – you need to let the employee know how they can grow and progress.

“Say the person is really ambitious and wants to be a manager within a year, they may be impressive but can you offer them a manager role in a year? I’m not saying don’t employ them but you should have a succession plan in place to counteract that. It could be different position for instance, so you might not have a management role but you could have a consultancy role [to offer them].

“Or you could say that, after a year or so, you’re going to lose them but that’s great for their career and you can sort out a new role for your company and this looks like [x].”

How to deal with staff when there’s a problem

“My first piece of advice here, very controversially, would be to look at yourself!

“You may think the employee is the issue but I think it’s always a good time to take a step back and think ‘Have I set the right objectives? Have I been flexible? Have I managed the employee effectively?’ If the answers to these questions are ‘yes’ then you have done the right thing [but it’s worth reflecting].”

Don’t bury your head in the sand

“Often, businesses find issues here because they don’t address it straight away, they put their head in the sand - or don’t sweat the small stuff - and it becomes this huge, major problem. Yet the employee may have no idea [there’s a problem].

“If you just have an informal chat straight away with the employee and go through the key points, it could be immediately resolved. We probably wouldn’t exist if employers did this!

“Not everyone thinks the same so remember that too – something that bothers one of your employees may not bother the other. It’s about being able to see something from both sides.”

How to avoid common talent management issues

“Here are two common issues you should be aware of:

1. A big one that we see all the time is people being promoted above their skill set and abilities. For instance, if you have a great sales person you might be tempted to make them a sales manager but the qualities and skills needed for a manager are completely different – they must be able to lead, guide a team etc.

2. Your processes should have improved as the business has evolved so [it’s not unusual] that someone that had the potential when you started, doesn’t now – as your business has grown, you need a different person.”

The proposed solution? “We’d advise businesses to do a regular gap skills analysis – think about what skills you don’t have [in the business] and then think about whether you need to hire a new person or whether you can up-skill and train an existing member of staff.”

How to react if a good employee tells you they want to leave

“Don’t offer that person more money! Every study ever has shown that money is not a motivator, it is a basic need. Sales is slightly different because they’re being motivated by money but, normally, people are motivated by social factors.

“Once they have already accepted a job for more money, they’ve already made their mind up. If they stay its short-term gain for long term pain.

“Also, make sure you have proper handover notes for contingency.”

For more expert advice from Claire read Part Three: How to be a better leader

Want more HR advice like this? Claire Morley-Jones will be speaking at our exclusive Talent Masterclass on Wednesday 15 March 2017 at the Victoria Warehouse Hotel in Manchester. Get your free ticket here, places are limited.

Plusnet is on a mission to help small businesses and budding entrepreneurs grow and has teamed up with to create Plusnet Pioneers, an exciting programme of content, events and mentoring. Article written by and first published on .

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