Staffing (II) - By: Musbahu El Yakub | Dailytrust

Staffing (II)

Last week, we introduced the roles of various stakeholders in a business enterprise and how the employees of the enterprise are central to the use of resources to seize or create opportunities. We also discussed a few core reasons why employees are critical to the success of a business and particularly so in a challenging and developing environment like Nigeria’s. Today we will discuss what qualities to look for in recruiting employees for your organisation.

Business organisations are set up basically to meet some customer needs, desires or expectations through value addition. This entails doing several things all at the same time consistently and persistently. To achieve these basic but fundamental objectives, you need the right people with certain qualities. These qualities include, in a composite but not any order, the following:

Energy and drive: I suspect that the physical laws of entropy do have an equivalent in our social lives. Probably it is the so-called Murphy’s law which states that anything that can go wrong will tend to go wrong, unless we do something about it. The point is, we must do something if we are to be able to achieve a preferred outcome. This means our businesses must have people that have the energy and drive to get things done. Sometimes it is about seizing some opportunity while some other times it is all about fencing off problems that can jeopardise the survival or growth prospects of the business. No matter, your staff must be up and doing, at any time, without regard to personal preferences and conveniences.

Relevant technical skills: Whatever energy and drive your people may have, they will not be able to achieve desired results if they do not have relevant technical skills that may be required in your chosen field. If you are into software development, you have to have people that are skilled, versatile, and happy coding day and night! If you are planning to set up a cattle ranch, you must have people who understand livestock feeding and management. In addition, your people must not only be versatile in current practices, but they should also be interested in global developments and new best methods in your field of business. Simply put, they must have a passion and bias for continuous learning.

Social skills: An otherwise highly productive environment can get toxic if the people do not have the requisite social skills necessary to smoothen the rough edges of working together and with others outside the organisation. Social skills involve working very well with colleagues in a healthy and productive way as well as interfacing with other stakeholders such as customers, financiers, etc. At the core of our individual and collective ability to deliver optimum results in a sustainable and healthy way, are our attitude and social skills. In the long run, our attitudes and social skills take us so much farther than our technical skills and knowledge, which only take us so far so fast.

Knowledge: The hunger for individual personal development of the staff is very important in his or her ability and capacity to continuously deliver top-notch and optimum results. The individual that has the penchant for learning from others, teaching others, reading, attending training programmes, conferences etc. stands a good chance of knowing what is happening not just in their industry but also in the local and global economy. You should look out for employees that are continuously learning. Equally importantly, the organisation must, over time, capture, internalise and share its overall build-up of knowledge and experiences.

Integrity: Multibillionaire and arguably one of the most successful investors in the last few hundred years, Mr. Warren Buffet, says about recruitment: “We look for three things when we hire. We look for intelligence, we look for initiative and energy, and we look for integrity.” He went on to caution,“…if they don’t have the latter, the first two will kill you, because if you are going to get someone without integrity, you want them lazy and dumb!” Similarly, the late Jon Huntsman, Sr., who built his chemical company from nothing to a $12-billion enterprise, attributes integrity to success. He argued that the difference between the unsuccessful, the temporary successful and those who become and remain successful is character.

Integrity builds success for you in a small, consistent but very assured way as long as you have the skills required in your field and the energy to sustain you on your journey. Unfortunately, both entrepreneurs and their employees in our environment have adopted fraud as a ‘smart’ way of ‘creating wealth’. Nothing can be further from the truth and reality as lack of integrity can only bring temporary ‘successes’ at the great risk of losing everything. It is stupid, unwise and unsustainable.

Success and success attitudes, like failure and failure attitudes, are very contagious amongst people in ways that are very subtle yet deep and relentless. Consequently, you must be very diligent and thorough in getting the right people with the right skills and attitude to populate your enterprise if you are to engender a pervasive can-do mind-set and success attitudes. Lazy and dishonest staff must be avoided at all costs. But getting the right people is only the first step towards building a successful enterprise. With the right selection and recruitment, the next big staff challenge you will face and must address will be about staff retention to maximise productivity and minimise disruptions and turnover. So, next week, we shall take up ‘Staff Retention’.

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