Monday, October 22, 2012

Business Development - People, the key ingredient to success!

Without people who can improvise, innovate, inspire, challenge 'the norm', and strive for continuous improvement most businesses would not survive long before being overtaken by their competitors 

Source: Google Images

Success of an organisation can be measured in a number of ways however the most valuable commodity in achieving success has to be it's people.  Without people who can improvise, innovate, inspire, challenge 'the norm', and strive for continuous improvement most businesses would not survive long before being overtaken by their competitors.   It would therefore seem logical for a business to invest in it's people and this should be considered at all levels, not just at a senior level. Everyone has to start somewhere and no matter what career path an individual selects, in order to develop they will require the guidance and supervision of more experienced members of the organisation to help them progress. If you look at a successful business you will usually find that there is a structured training programme for their staff at all levels. This will help fulfil the potential within individuals and also provide a good promotion and succession pathway, allowing internal appointments to be made of people who understand the business, rather than having to make external appointments which can often be expensive.

If a business is 'top heavy', i.e it has a high percentage of senior executive/managers, then what can happen is that when these individual start to retire or leave there may not be suitable personnel 'waiting in the wings' to fill these positions.  An external appointment may then be made, where the new individual will need time to adapt to the business and this can sometimes take many months. It would be much better for a business to have a 'succession plan', where individuals are identified at all levels and trained ready for these opportunities as they arise. Succession planning should start with the most junior of positions and this is where graduate appointments, year out industrial placements and even work experience opportunities should be considered.

Source: Google Images
At my last organisation we would usually appoint 2 or 3 year out industrial placement students each year for our office. The appointment would commence in or around June, however we would normally start the recruitment process in September/October of the year before.  This is when students return to University, and in order to get the best graduates we knew we needed to 'get in early'.  We would approach a select number of Universities who would send us CV's of students who may be interested in the opportunity.  After reviewing the CV's we would then invite those selected to a group workshop, where during the day they would also be interviewed individually.  The workshop enabled us to see how each individual would respond to a number of situations, and during this process we were also looking closely at enthusiasm and attitude.  At this entry level we were not looking for a genius, were were looking for someone with the right attitude and personality, as well as the expected academic aptitude, that had the potential to fit into our organisation.

Over the years we employed a large number of our year out students when they graduated and some went on to become Project Team Leaders and even Associate Members.  A year out placement student has a wonderful opportunity to not only gain experience, but to also secure a permanent position (business finances permitting).  The industrial placement could actually be viewed as a year long interview where the employer has the opportunity to look at an individuals skills, commitment and attitude and decide if they will fit into the business. Not every placement student turned out to be suitable, however this provided us with a highly successful recruitment method, which allowed us to employ top quality graduates who we could mould into our way of thinking, our vision and our business culture. Is  this  an approach that  you're  business  takes? If not, then whilst thinking about the long term future of your business then  maybe this is something that you should give serious consideration too.

At Coventry University we offer a wide range of degree courses covering all disciplines within the built environment (Building Surveying, Quantity Surveying, Construction Management, Architectural Technology, Building Services Engineering, Architecture and Civil Engineering).  Our students are very popular with employers and we encourage our students to secure a year out placement opportunity. We have some excellent students, who will be now starting the process of applying for positions for 2013.  We also have some students who are looking to secure graduate positions.  If you are an employer, who has or is thinking about graduate positions now or in the future, please contact me with details (, where I will be able to direct suitable students to send their CV's to you.

Information/opinions posted on this site are the personal views of the author and should not be relied upon by any person or any third party without first seeking further professional advice. Also, please scroll down and read the copyright notice at the end of the blog.

1 comment:

  1. It is very important to find the right people for your company. Employees that can be trusted and can do the job with minimal supervision. These kinds of employees will help a company to be successful.