Small Business Leaders claim a quarter of staff are under-performing

In a recent survey from Sandler Training, Small business leaders claim that more than a quarter of staff are under-performing.staff are under-performing

According to a survey of 2,000 small business leaders, performance of more than a quarter of staff working at small businesses is poor and a skills shortage is believed to be one of the reasons for under-performing staff.

We’ve tried to find the actual details of this survey but have been unable to (so we’re relying on other media coverage of its contents)!

Reports of the survey though cite that bad attitudes (37%), poor timekeeping (34%) and consistently poor quality of work (20%) were found to be the three most annoying factors for business owners. 45% believed there was a national skills shortage and 26% thought that candidates had misled them at the interview. Some business owners also blamed HR for failing to check employee references and some blamed Managers for rushing through the recruitment process.


So what can small businesses do to prevent staff under-performing?

In the survey it is quoted that the majority of business leaders would pay each new staff member an additional 18 per cent per year if they could guarantee that they would be “good hire”.

However, the chief executive at Sandler Training, Shaun Thomson, quite rightly pointed out that bad hiring and underperforming staff were two separate issues, and it was important for small businesses to address each individually.

He added: “A bad hire can be easily avoided – but it requires a complete recruitment overhaul where gut instincts and preconceptions are replaced with psychometric tests, which will help business leaders distinguish between the candidates that don’t just talk the talk, but can actually walk the walk.

“Poorly performing staff requires a different approach – a quarter of staff cannot all be rotten apples. You need to look at how you are performing as a leader.

“Leadership is not an innate skill, so small business leaders would be wise to look at how they could firstly develop themselves and then share these learnings across their company.”

Now, we’d agree with all that but would add more:

  • Psychometric tests may not be necessary for your business, but you must ensure that Managers who recruit know how to do this properly and receive training if necessary. Hiring by ‘gut’ instinct may not be the best idea! Consider/audit your whole recruitment process, how can it be improved?.
  • Train Managers how to manage, and don’t assume this is a skill everyone has naturally. Read our Leadership tips for Entrepreneurs here
  • Consider how effective your induction process is…. do staff actually know fairly quickly what they are required to do and how the Company works?
  • Yes, you may need to consider pay and benefits (and type of contracts offered) if there is a skills shortage in your industry or to help motivation and retention.
  • And on that point, consider what training is appropriate for staff to do their jobs properly….or will provide your Company with new skills that you may need…. and can you offer apprenticeships?
  • Consider how you communicate with your staff – read our article here about Motivation and Retention.
  • Is your appraisal process up to scratch and actually useful, rather than just a box-ticking exercise?
  • Read our more in-depth article about Problems with Recruitment and Retention here.
  • If you need help in auditing all the aspects of how you recruit, manage and retain staff, talk to us, as we can help you with this.

The Human Resources Consultancy service for SME's in the UK creative industries

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