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Progress report

Recruit the right staff by first deciding exactly what you want them to do

Picture the scene. You start your first day in a new role. You have a blank piece of paper. You are about to begin work on figuring out how you build a brand new financial services e-business. It is aimed at the IFA marketplace but that is all you know.

You do not know what market you are entering first, what products you will sell, how you will sell them, who you will sell them through, what the businesses brand is…the list goes on and on.

What would you do first?

This is the situation that we were in when the team behind progress began work in late 2003. We had to figure out what to do first and what our priorities were. We chose to do the most important thing first – find the right people. There were no rules in place as to how or who.

Sometimes, people who work for e-businesses or in technology get carried away with trying to take current processes and put them online. We needed people with skills that enabled them to see through the industry’s current processes and be able to think of best practice solutions. Look at any of the most successful e-businesses out there and there is usually a team of the right people behind them.

If you recruit the wrong people and your technology is great, it is still a bad situation to be in as they are the wrong people.

At some point, they will make the wrong decisions, maybe even break the systems that they are charged with developing. If you have the wrong systems but the right people, that is a good start. The right people will know that the systems could be better and do something about it. Having the right people and the right systems is the perfect place to get to if you can.

So, how do you recruit the right people? Start off by mapping out all the things you need that person to do. It does not have to be a written up professional job profile – even mind maps will do the job.

Then think of the skills that the right person doing those jobs would possess. This should become your second list. Include how that person should behave and the manner in which they will be expected to act in their day to day role.

If you are unsure of what the right types of behaviour are that you need, help is available from your own HR team all the way through to external consultancies and even sports psychologists.

By concentrating on the people aspect of the business first, the task of recruiting new employees becomes an easier process.

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