Best SME shares 10 steps to success

There are just 10 steps to making your employees believe you are the best company to work for, according to the holder of this year’s Sunday Times title.

At the Reed Business Talent Management conference, Steve Walker, chief executive of Tower Homes – which was named best small and medium-sized firm to work for in the newspaper’s 2006 list – shared his formula for creating a workplace that staff will enjoy.

It ranges from tough love elements, such as encouraging your whingers to find a job they can love, to sentimental movies.

Jenny Ibison, a UK board member of Investors in People, pushed home the point about getting recruitment right, highlighting research which showed that placing a person in the wrong job will cost their employer 14 times their salary.

“That’s a statistic to engage the attention of your finance director,” she said.

Top talent manager’s winning formula

  1. Only do what you love doing if you want to be consistently successful and fulfilled.
  2. Have a very simple vision that everyone can buy into.
  3. Ensure all staff are involved in the vision – it’s their future, so make sure they can make a difference.
  4. Test the temperature of your staff with surveys, reviews and appraisals; find out what their barriers to greatness are; and feed back openly and honestly.
  5. Categorise your current talent pool into As (top 10%), Bs and Cs (moaners and whingers). Spend most of your time trying to change your Bs into As. And encourage your Cs to find another job they can love.
  6. Only appoint people with fantastic attitude – those who choose to be positive.
  7. Use conferences, seminars and meetings involving employees to layer positive messages, celebrate success and build confidence.
  8. Regularly thank staff – it makes a big difference and it costs nothing.
  9. Treat customer complaints like gold dust – they are free business consultancy. Share them with your staff.
  10. Buy a DVD of It’s a Wonderful Life. Add popcorn and create a feel-good factor.

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