27/02/2008 - 22:00

Recruitment the key

27/02/2008 - 22:00

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Increasing wages may seem a strange way to cut costs and lift business efficiency, but that is one option proposed by visiting management expert, Verne Harnish.

Increasing wages may seem a strange way to cut costs and lift business efficiency, but that is one option proposed by visiting management expert, Verne Harnish.

Mr Harnish said successful businesses, ranging from investment bank Goldman Sachs to US retailer The Container Store, chose to pay above-market remuneration to attract and retain talented workers.

Addressing a WA Business News seminar in Perth last week, Mr Harnish said the tight labour market in Western Australia reinforced the importance of focusing on staff management.

The founder of Gazelles and author of Mastering the Rockefeller Habits, Mr Harnish has specialised in advising fast-growth companies.

His simple formula for achieving fast business growth is to combine continuous learning with coaching.

He cited the example of golf champion Tiger Woods, who still uses a coach despite his outstanding success.

Mr Harnish provides a range of management tools but emphasises that each business has to develop a strategy that suits its circumstances.

On the issue of staffing, he urges employers to spend more time on recruitment to make sure they hire the right people in the first place, which means they can avoid dealing with the costly and time consuming consequences of poor hiring decisions. He has also urged employers to rethink their approach to staff motivation.

“The worst question you can ask is: ‘what do we have to do to motivate people’? The better question is: ‘what are we doing that demotivates these people we are hiring’?”

Mr Harnish said the best way to keep staff motivated and enthusiastic was to ensure they were able to focus on tasks they enjoyed.

“The number one reason people leave is they don’t get to do the things they love,” he said.

In many fast-growing companies, staff responsibilities changed over time and workers ended up handling tasks they were not hired to perform and were not suited to perform, according to Mr Harnish.

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