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Staff personal aims and company aims must be in alignment or risk the fallout

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Modern thinking dictates that money is not the largest factor in hiring and retaining. Say that to the average non-skilled production operative and they will laugh in your face, all the more so in austerity Britain.

They might be wrong in dismissing the other factors as relevant to them, but consciously most would only focus on the hourly rate. Business coffers are not bottomless pits to dole out weekly rises, so eventually the motivation runs out in tandem with the money. Not the way to go.

Yet for a business to grow, the key factors are the same in manufacturing as anywhere else. Cultural fit to the company aims is still absolutely key. When you recruit and develop staff and the staffing strategies, it is absolutely vital to remember that.

It is easy to take a very dry approach in recruiting, concentrating on skill sets above all else. But building a business is like building a machine one cog out of line will throw the rest of the machine out of kilter. However skilled someone is, if their values are a total misfit for the company, this will jerk against the smooth turning wheel of your entire machine causing it to continually cease up. People who are not a cultural fit will take up your time, drain your energy, and affect the entire team by being out of sync.

Skills can usually be taught and certainly you can up-skill your capable staff. Having achieved the right staff, and duly up-skilled them, problems often set in with promotion. Time and time again over the years, I have fallen head first into the trap of promoting the obvious person, the most skilled craftsman or the best salesman. The success rate has always been poor.

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Job skills and managerial skills are totally different beasts. Quite rarely does the highest salesman or the most skilled craftsman have any line management ability. They may be so used to relying on their skills for their sense of self-worth that they are closed to development. Their values may also have been just about a near enough fit as a high-delivering, skilled person and contained by a good line manager. But as a higher level influencer, what were niggles on cultural fit before become a huge issue that spreads through that team like a virus. If you are not very careful, you lose both the skilled worker and maybe some others along with them.

Having founded and run a business for over two decades, my own aims and values changed over the years. We ran the gamut from startup, to high growth, to family business, to planning for at least semi-retirement and succession not to mention the odd moments of crisis which are inevitable over that length of time.

In going through those stages, what I was able to give and what I wanted out of the business changed small wonder that the same thing will happen to your long-term staff. So it is hugely important to continually listen to them and check that both their personal aims and the company aims are still in alignment. When they are not, in can be time for a change for the sake of both sides.

We all know how important getting the right team is, Any negativity will jar the machine. But a team that is a cultural in-sync machine of people totally on the same page that team will be world beating.



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