Success in business is all about people, people, people! Whatever industry a company is in, its employees are its biggest competitive advantage."
Sir Richard Branson
Founder - Virgin Group
In the most general terms, a company is really a collection of people, products and services. Many businesses sell similar products but what often differentiates successful businesses from unsuccessful ones are the people. They go by different names: employees, team members, staff, FTE's, etc but whatever they are called, they are the living, breathing face of your business. Having the right people can make the difference between a profitable business and one that is struggling.
Too often, we see hiring based on a job description and workers who aren't engaged. Finding employees with a certain set of skills or experience rather than hiring for fit by finding people that will assimilate well into your company's organizational culture is a common mistake. Skills can be taught and experience is often less relevant than employers think because it rarely transfers over in the same way from a previous employer. What's more important is finding people whose values and personality match those of the company and other employees. Finding people who can assimilate successfully into your company's culture is the key which is why building and understanding your culture is so important. (Find stats on worker engagement levels)
Many small businesses are sole proprietorships and believe they don't have people problems. However, we've found many of them are suffering because they don't have employees. Owners often take too much work on themselves by not leveraging a team. Understanding the value of your time and the art of delegating tasks to the most appropriate resources is an important aspect of any successful business.
But hiring is only part of what defines the People Echelon. Learning how to manage employees is just as important. How to define a job, encourage initiative, acknowledge an achievement, provide feedback, and facilitate communication are all elements that must be working to have a productive and engaged workforce. People are complicated and life outside of the office can bring unexpected issues into the work environment. Hiring the right people and building processes to effectively manage employees can help you navigate these ever-shifting seas.