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Sunday, 13 April 2014

Over the past few weeks I have been more and more concerned that while the UK economy is manifestly improving (the latest IMF forecast is for 2.9% growth by the end of t 2014, the highest in Eurozone and the US) many companies with which I have come into contact are having serious problems recruiting great people.

I suppose that logically this should not be a surprise.  When the economy is booming there is likely to be a run on finding good people and certainly several of the members of my Vistage group have said that some of their good people are already receiving telephone calls.

All of this puts uncertainty into the system and when your people get offers which are considerably more than you are paying them there is likely to be some interest.

In one particular case the company interviewed a potential candidate for a senior technical position and mentioned the salary range.

The candidate was asked to come back for a second interview and he asked for a salary £10k higher than the one mentioned.  The company said that they would negotiate and the candidate said that it was £10k more or he wouldn’t be coming back for another interview.

Whether this is the sort of person you want in the business anyway is a moot point but the fact is that as time goes on there will be far more demand for great people and as a consequence your business will be vulnerable.

By far the best situation is to keep and grow your own virtuosi and that will take a significant amount of time and effort, which will be well spent without doubt.

A couple of weeks ago I found a listing on LinkedI which read, in essence: 
  • “The mark of great leaders is that they look for great talent and then get out of their way” 

In any reasonably sized business there will be several people who stand out from the crowd, who have ambition, who want to progress and for one reason or another are being held back.

This is the time to throw convention out of the window.  One of the issues mentioned in exit interviews is the problem of “dead man’s shoes” and this must be tackled in one way or another.

By far the best approach is to institute a formal and comprehensive talent spotting regime, looking for the talented people, taking note of their desires and ambitions and then doing something about it.

A good idea is to institute a “fast track” group who are being groomed for promotion and who will be promoted over people in post if this is necessary.

The cream must be allowed to come to the top because the cost of importing great people will rapidly become prohibitive even if it possible.

People in the business know the business, know the people, know the products and services and all in all, have domain knowledge which will take a new comer months to absorb.

Find the great people who you are already employing, make sure that they know that you are watching them and design a regime which will make them want to stay in the business.  It could be the most worthwhile thing that you can do for the future of the business.

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