Many organisations believed that people are their biggest asset and indeed when the economy is strong, as it is in the UK right now, then finding and retaining the best staff becomes a significant challenge.

However there are many examples of businesses failing because of people (anyone remember Lehmann Brothers?) and when we receive poor service from a business, that poor service is delivered by people!

So getting the right people is only one part of the jigsaw. Putting them in the right environment with systems, processes, training and then empowering them is the other part.

Empowered staff take ownership. Empowered staff use their initiative and think on their feet. Empowered staff understand and utilise effective systems and processes, ensuring your customers receive a consistent experience. Empowered staff enable senior management to delegate and ‘let go’.

So how do you get the right people? Well yes, you can train and develop your own but you need to start with people who have the right attitude (who want to be empowered). And this starts with recruiting and selecting people who display the right attitude and match your company values and culture.   The message here is hire for attitude and train for skills. Unfortunately we have allowed ourselves to do the opposite, because hiring for attitude is hard to justify if called upon to “prove” why someone else wasn’t offerred the job!

The second task must be to create the “right” culture in the organisation. Don’t be mistaken, culture should not just be allowed to develop – it should and must be defined, created and lived by the business owners /senior management and then flowed down through the entire organisation.

I do a lot of work with companies to help them define their values and behaviours that in turn define their culture. It’s the way your people behave every day that shows you are (or are not) living your culture.

So if you create the right environment, hire great people based on their attitude and then train them to excel in their roles, then and only then, you can say that your people are your biggest asset.

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