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‘A fish rots from the head’

‘A fish rots from the head’

Posted on 20/11/2017 by Kirsty Craig

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Apologies if that’s just put you off your sushi, but the phrase is a favourite of our MD, Kirsty Craig, and the meaning behind it translates into a subject she’s passionate about.  Simply put, it means that the root of a problem (nearly always) stems from the top, and in business, that could take the form of a toxic boardroom, an unapproachable manager, an egotistical team leader… you get the idea.

Kirsty believes that people are central to the success of a business and that the challenge for any business in such a candidate-short market is how to be an employer that people fall over themselves to work for.

“It’s like a jigsaw puzzle,” she says.  “You need a strong and solid outer edge that joins up to give a framework for the pieces inside that bring the whole thing to life.  And those pieces also need to slot together neatly and harmoniously, otherwise the picture gets warped and starts to degrade.”

Fortunately, being an employer of choice isn’t rocket science, and although Kirsty and her team do still hear horror stories from candidates who have suffered the full ‘rotting fish’ experience, the tide is slowly turning.

The best way to get the most out of people is to invest in them.  And no, that doesn’t necessarily mean a higher salary or more training courses - although of course, people should be paid what they’re worth and training is a no-brainer.  There are other, very simple ways to invest in people. Here are a few basics we feel strongly about - and won’t make your accountant break out in a sweat…

Thanks

It might sound obvious, but in our experience, a simple, genuine ‘thank you for …’ to an employee who has gone the extra mile, or a pat on the back to someone who has done a good job will really stand out.  Appreciation is infectious, and having that brief conversation with an employee will engender good feeling.

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Education

Of course, training is a great way to invest in people.  But there is often education required closer to the coal face.  Make sure that your employees know the bigger picture; what your business is trying to achieve, where the job that they’re doing fits into that picture and how their efforts are essential to business success.  Knowing that they’re important will empower them.

Pride

People who feel proud to be a part of a company or corporation generally find it hard to leave. And more often than not, they’re keen to recommend the company as an employer of choice. As we’ve said before, it’s not just about salaries, and sometimes, little things can go a long way.  For example, more often than not, companies invest in local charities or concerns, and that’s great; it’s the right thing to do.  Going one step further and giving employees time during their work hours each month to volunteer with those charities/concerns will bring about benefits aplenty.  Is a morning a month really too much to give?

Remember, on the whole, people don’t leave a job.  They leave a poor manager.  You can stop this happening by investing in your entire workforce and, in time, you’ll start to see positive changes.  

Our Clarity 7 Management Development programme is designed to help companies do just that – for details, click on https://www.kirstycraigassociates.co.uk/training-and-development/management-training-and-development-masterclasses-for-business-growth