Hire for attitude and train for staff

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Before starting up Infolio Property Advisors i recall a conversation with a mentor advising me how the biggest obstacle a business owner’s often have is in dealing with their staff.   I’m pretty sure at the time i blew this off in rather swiftly..  I mean we opened during the GFC for god’s sake – how could staff be our biggest issue!!   Well here i sit 5 years later and let me tell you the greatest amount of stress, anxiety happiness and disappointment has come from the people we have involved in the business along the way.  I had no idea what skill and inner searching would be required to find that “perfect mix” I am happy to say i feel like we are there now but along the way we have dealt with some major hurdles.

When i relay my experiences to people i start by saying that” you get what you pay for”.. .. as a start up business you often don’t have the budget or the reputation to lure the people you perceive as being ideal for your working environment but that’s when you put in place a strategy to deal with the growth stages, they will continue to happen along the way so you may as well get working on them early.    In hindsight we should have waited that bit longer, worked through the growth periods until the finances were a little fuller rather than hire someone not quite up to scratch.  I wrote a blog some time ago called “hire slow and fire fast” and that philosophy remains at Infolio.   You know in your heart of hearts if the person you have employed has what it takes, if they aren’t showing promise or the right attitude from the outset then you can’t train that.

At Infolio we have attempted so many different things to try and obtain and retain the right people; we have worked hard at creating a good environment but ultimately the people you employ create the culture so you need to get it right.  Last year we had a mix of people that wasn’t quite right and despite our best efforts it didn’t work and we could see things crumbling, when there is a bad seed no other influences will change what damage can be created… We did things like sending the property managers & admin staff to Aurora Day spa, Long lunches at fancy restaurants, giving all staff their birthday off work etc – none of this helped the culture.   The right people make the culture.

To get that right mix we have employed an interviewing strategy which is commonly used in government – its structured & measurable, we interview the preferred candidate twice and sometimes three times.   Once employed we run through a detailed induction & we set out clear goals & kpi’s so each individual understands what the expectations are, finally – we lead by example.   Work is for business but it’s even better if you like the people in your environment and you can collectively celebrate the wins along the way – it’s this simple mix that seems to be working for us.

So let’s now move to the heading of this little tale and again a trusted mentor gave me this tid bit of advice and its one of the best i have had to date.   As employers it’s our responsibility to train our staff in the manner that meets with the company satisfaction, if your employee has the right attitude then the training part should be relatively easy, if you have the systems and procedures in place your employees won’t feel lost, they will feel secure and start to learn the Infolio way of doing things… as mentioned above – you can’t train for attitude.

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