Skimping on personnel may help your budget in the short-term but will hurt your bottom line in the long-term, not to mention your quality of life. Look around at your valued employees. What makes them great? Do you use this criteria to find exceptional candidates or settle on sub-par candidates due to failure to offer an attractive package?
There’s an important distinction between a cheap hire and a good hire. Hiring the best is a critical part of your business development strategy.
I recall an experience from my past that brings me angst to this day. I was aggressively growing multi-state services as a senior project manager. The plan was working well and frequent hiring was needed. I needed to hire managers who could take on the new clients because I could not do it all myself. I worked hard to identify quality candidates, the ones who were presenting, the ones on committees and the ones clients respected.
The problem was my operations manager was cheap. Four times I found a star and four times the salary and package needed to land them was not approved. Thus, I continued to be over worked and not able to spend time growing the business, which was my calling.
In desperation, I hired a project manager who was not my top pursuit but who fit our salary range. I gave him two of my easiest clients who were very loyal to me. He was a poor communicator, and the projects continuously went over budget. At one public meeting he could not handle a tough crowd and my client was very angry. It took all of my skills to calm my client and secure fee increases. Eventually, after many sleepless nights, the PM was fired. Agony.
Later, I was doing a debrief with a client on a proposal I lost. I asked why they hired the firm they did and learned the firm’s senior engineer was a star, both with clients and with regulators. I had a recruiter call him. Then, I bypassed my stingy operations manager and went directly to the president and explained my needs as an important part of our business development strategy. He could bring in millions in business and be billable. We offered the engineer $20K over our normal pay, proposed a generous signing bonus and offered to pay his relocation fees. He accepted, and soon, the project we lost ended up our project. It’s been years and the hire remains a terrific investment.
George Hedley recently wrote a piece, Put the Right Players in the Right Positions for Construction Business Owner Magazine, in which he explains how making those difficult decisions now will secure higher profits later.
Make hiring a top priority in your business development strategy and make the right decision for your business from the start. Share your challenges on this blog or with me directly. I will read them all and answer each in detail.