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Small Firms – Why it’s hard to attract and retain the right talent!

Small Firms – Why it’s hard to attract and retain the right talent!

Attending the recent Conexus Financial Business Practice Forum in Sydney recently gave me further insight into the the operation of many businesses. I was given the opportunity to share some of the findings from our study conducted with Griffith University. So what did we share that was the challenge with scale (or lack thereof?) Attraction of Quality Staff We will see a greater emphasis on career transition and graduate recruitment in the years ahead.  The eventual release of the findings from the  December 2014 PJC inquiry report and subsequent proposals will potentially drive this with increased minimum education standards being at the core of future entry levels to the industry/profession. An undergraduate degree alone will not determine the success of a staff member within financial planning.  Attitude, desire, continuous learning and engagement skills will. Small businesses find it is difficult to grow their own staff (Graduate or career transition) without it having an impact on the performance of their service to clients, and potentially on the balance of the team. Graduate recruitment is an extremely difficult task, especially for firms of less than five staff. Forward planning of recruitment is particularly important for small to medium businesses, where a lack of scale often also creates time and experience constraints around finding the right candidate. By example, a small business with only one Client Service Officer loses that individual through resignation.  In this circumstance, the business has four weeks notice and 100% of that resource to fill! As a result, even businesses with a desire to develop graduates in order to create a sustainable model will instead focus on hiring only experienced staff in order to meet immediate workload demands. You need...
Why Recruitment for Small Business Sucks – Part 2

Why Recruitment for Small Business Sucks – Part 2

Some weeks ago I posted the recruitment experience of a small business owner. There were some common themes that came from his experience. Losing a staff member without a resourcing plan created an urgency to replace the resource before it has an impact on client service, productivity and team morale. Speed to market to replace a resource compromised process and better judgement in hiring decisions. Not the only theme but clearly one that stood out. Whichever way you choose to recruit, getting it wrong can have long term financial impact on the business and cultural consequences within the team. If you didn’t see the first post, it’s a quick, 3 minute read worthy of review before moving on. We now look at what to consider when creating an in-house recruitment resource or outsourcing to a competent third party. We’ll also introduce a recruitment philosophy that doesn’t compromise productivity. That is to build and manage an “Ongoing Talent Pool”. Like most things in life, achieving the best outcomes only occur with personal and professional development, effort and growth. Hiring with speed can be achieved but it doesn’t mean falling in love with a candidate’s compelling personality in the first interview & making an offer. If you do believe the individual satisfies your requirements, you shouldn’t dabble in due diligence & management of the process. Before we look at what you should do to improve your recruitment effort in the longer term, you still need to fill gaps in your team today. A few “quick” tips when managing your current recruitment process Don’t let industry experience alone influence your decision — Employers can...
Why Recruitment for Small Business Sucks – The reason why it can be challenging!

Why Recruitment for Small Business Sucks – The reason why it can be challenging!

Small business has many challenges. The greatest one we experience is the attraction & retention of the right people. As a business owner (and also engaged to support businesses to source culturally aligned competent staff) I know it can be a roller coaster ride. Some think it’s best defined as an art wrapped in some science. No doubt emotional intellect, due process, assessment tools, the right questioning and assessment all play a part. What’s common from our experience? Most think recruitment sucks. It’s too time consuming to properly do in-house and too expensive to outsource. But these are the two choices small business owners have (excluding iterations of both). But these are the two choices small business owners have (excluding iterations of both). The principals/directors learn how to effectively recruit talent for their business (or educate & charge a team member with that responsibility). Outsource to a competent third party. I suppose there is a third choice. That is to recruit the way you always have. A sales manager I worked with over 25 years ago always said; “The more you do of what you’re doing, the more you’ll get of what you’ve got!” If it’s not working for you today, then this really is not an option! Whichever way you choose to recruit staff, getting it wrong can have long term financial and cultural consequences. To quote Jim Collins: “getting the right people on the bus” is the first step. “Leaders of companies that go from good to great start not with “where” but with “who.” They start by getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the...
Career Choices – Always focus on the long term

Career Choices – Always focus on the long term

If you have a genuine interest in your connections and share meaningful info (something to share that is valuable to others) then what a tool we have. So let me show you how it works! Click here for an article by Lou Adler; I find his material always insightful and worthy of sharing with connections. My take on what Lou is saying here, is we should always focus on the medium to long term with our own career choices, not just the immediate impact (either positive or negative reasons). As a candidate, to leave a role because you’re unhappy and without due consideration of the impact could be a short term fix – like a drug habit. Will it be any better at your new employer? What is the perception of multiple short term roles on your future employment prospects? Sometimes change is necessary or inevitable (e.g. your role is made redundant or an untenable professional relationship). Couple this with the seduction of rhetoric of far better options and the outcome may not be in your best interest. As a business owner or hiring manager, there is good leaning in this article for you too. Well considered candidates want to know more detail and will make a judgement call on the role based on sufficient information and understanding, no matter how junior or senior. Start with the end in mind otherwise a hasty decision in many cases will end...
Why some staff WILL leave you

Why some staff WILL leave you

It’s not always for the right reason but sometimes no matter what you do, it’s inevitable. Working conditions, salary level, conflict among staff, moving to a new location, career progression not available, head-hunted, recognition and reward above salary, lack of autonomy, respect and more could be sited as reasons. As a small business owner, management, leadership and continuous communication with staff is not easy within the total demands of your business. We don’t always get it right either. And that’s OK, as long as we learn and improve. What happens every day – you just don’t see it Recently a client called to discuss a staff member who approached them to respectfully challenge their remuneration package. “The catalyst was an advert on Seek. Where can employees gain misinformation? One place is a job advert!” The staff member was a Client Service officer of an SME Financial Planning firm and the advertisement touted a $15,000 greater package for what appeared to be exactly the same role. Trying to put myself in the employees shoes, the spin going through my head could include: I’m being underpaid and if so, the employer doesn’t value my effort. That extra money would go a long way to reducing my HECs debt or give me that surf trip I want to the Mentawais next year! I wonder if the rest of the team are being paid more than me? I know I put in as much time and effort as everyone else. My employer just spent 5 weeks overseas on what looked like a great trip after the dealer conference. I’m probably paying for that....