Case Study: Patricia Hay (First Base Employment)
In 1999 Patricia Hay represented Gloucestershire in the regional finals of the Shell LiveWIRE Business Start Up awards with her company, First Base Employment. Here she talks to us about the complexities of recruitment.
What do you think are the most important things involved in employing people?
I believe a candidate’s team fit and work ethic are the most important factors, closely followed by skill set when employing staff. You can employ the most qualified and experienced candidate but if they don't have the work ethic you're looking for (if they're not on the same page) and if they don't fit with your existing team they will fail.
Obviously there are some sectors whereby skills are compulsory, such as IT or Engineering, but in the vast majority of roles, skills can be taught. You can check for someone's base or most significant characteristics using profiling but I find it equally important to get them in to spend time with your team. How do they interact? Gut instinct gained through watching them in this environment and talking to your team will benefit you and the individual. How did they feel? It has to be a two way thing at this stage. They may well feel as if your organisation doesn't fit them and it’s really important to qualify people in or out at this stage.
You have to be ready to employ staff. You need to know exactly what you will ask them to do, where and when. You need a clearly defined job description anda desire to fully include them in the business. There is no point in employing someone half heartedly. You should invest time in a comprehensive induction and training plan and work with them closely over the first month or so of employment in order to iron out any niggling issues quickly.
The role of owner of the business is to look after your team and ensure they have all the tools to do the job. They will then look after your clients, your clients will look after the business and the business will naturally look after you.
I know it’s sometimes difficult but try not to focus on the money. If you work towards exceptional customer service for example, money will come as a by-product.
What is the key to building good working relationships?
Complete honesty and strong ethics. If you are genuinely in business for the right reasons, this will be very apparent. Don't try to sell your products or services using a false persona. Be true to what you believe in and only put that message out there. You will then attract the clients you are looking for.
What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs employing staff?
Don't fall foul of the law. Check out the legalities surrounding employment and get sound advice before entering into a contract of employment. Employing friends, friends of friends and relations may seem like the easy option but do consider worst case scenarios and don't enter into this type of arrangement lightly; every employee should have a clearly defined role and contract of employment. Always have your business head on and stay in control of the recruitment process; what is in the best interests of your business?