Saturday, 3 May 2014

Understanding the Importance of Your Best Assets

photo credit: ePublicist via photopin cc 

What do you suppose your company or Organization's greatest asset is? Is it your physical location? Perhaps your technological expertise? Nope! It's your people. The people that work for you are by far your greatest asset. Even if your company is an Organization of one - you!

So what can you do to increase the value of your prized assets? Improve the quality of your selection processes, invest in training, have a succession plan in place, and consider establishing a mentor program. Let's take a look at each of these individually.

Improving The Hiring Process

Improving the quality of your hiring process seems like an obvious place to start, but what does that really entail? Obviously if you're hiring, your company has a position to fill, but have you given any thought to your ideal candidate or are you just looking to put a bum in a seat? I hope not.

What you should be doing, before starting any hiring process, is developing a job description for each position you are looking to fill. Develop a list of skills and attributes that your ideal candidate should possess. You should also consider what the minimal acceptable qualifications are, as you won't always find the ideal candidate.

Always go into the interview with a plan. Treat it like you would a presentation. The only difference between a traditional presentation and an interview is that there will be a little more give and take than usual. 

Yes, you'll want to paint a picture of what your Organization can offer the potential employee, but you also want to ask the appropriate questions to determine if this candidate is for you. Be prepared. If you're not, you'll likely end up hiring someone that doesn't fit well within your Organization.

Invest in Training

Once you've hired the right candidate, your efforts shouldn't stop there. If you want to get the most value out of your employees, you should be committed to investing in training programs to keep them at the forefront of your industry. 

Think about a mechanic as an example. In the past, once they were trained they were set for life. Very little changed in respect to how cars were made. Today cars are constantly changing with every new model year that's released, and they rely heavily on computers. A mechanic has to constantly upgrade their skills to keep up.

The same principle applies to most industries. If you want to take advantage of the full potential of your people, you need to be willing to invest in their future. This may be in the form of courses you pay for them to attend, webinars, or company retreats. There are many forms of training, but there is no doubt of it's importance for success.

Have a Succession plan

You must always be aware of the potential of losing key employees. Don't get caught unprepared. Put a succession plan in place. You never know when an employee might just decide to leave. 

They may want to try a new career path, they might retire, or maybe they'll win the lottery. The reason doesn't really matter. You must be prepared for the possibility of losing key personnel at any time.

How do you deal with this? Conduct interviews periodically to obtain a list of potential replacement candidates. if you decide to take this approach, you'll have go through the process every six months to a year as good candidates will not remain available for long.

Be careful how you use this approach though. Don't be tempted to constantly replace valuable employees because you've found a candidate with slightly better credentials. If your current employees are doing a good job, support and encourage them. You don't want to be seen as a company with a revolving door. The best candidates will become leery about joining your Organization. 

Develop a Mentor Program

Finally, consider developing a mentor program. Even the best employees won't be around forever. Take advantage of their expertise while you have them at your disposal. As you bring in junior employees, match them up with your shining stars so that they can soak up a little of their knowledge.

Do you consider people to be an organizations best asset? Do you have other ideas on how to get the best out of people? Leave a comment. I'd love to hear about it.