Is employing people worth it?

Author: Kirsty Mackenzie, iMultiply Founder & CEO

Almost every small business is likely to, at some stage, lose one or more of its key employees. You may have experienced the moment when you feel you have genuinely nurtured someone and they hand in their notice on Christmas eve so they can get the news over and done with and enjoy their Christmas. At times like this, you may think ‘what did I do wrong?’.

With the best will in the world, you go back and research the management books, believing that you ticked all the boxes in Maslow’s theory of motivation, you discover that Maslow is simply too facile and that motivation is more complex than solving a Rubik’s cube after five pints.

You are in a state of confusion and understandable disappointment. You really believe you are one of the ‘effective managers/leaders’ who is authentic and ask their employees if there is anything more you can do for them and they have recently told you they are happy. You wake up the next morning still with ‘WTF’ etched on your mind.

Becoming cynical is natural

It is natural to become a bit cynical of people and to start self-doubting. Of course, the other side of the coin is that you may be a narcissistic bully and the person didn’t feel they could tell you the truth. 

Let’s assume you are a reflective person reading this, you genuinely care about people, but experience these occasional surprises and personal disappointments. If it’s rare, Murphy’s Law says it will happen when you can least afford it to, or when someone else has recently done the same thing.
If you are a caring individual, who has tried their best for your employees, and this is your reward your next thought process maybe ‘is employing people worth it?’

Employing people isn’t easy

Employing people is no easy matter, especially in younger micro businesses. You suddenly have to learn basic employment law, complete much more paperwork, undertake various checks and suddenly you find that once you have more than two you have politics. When you have politics, you have a potential source of discontentment. You may think that a solution is to outsource your human resource ‘HR’. However, people are people, and not a ‘resource’ and you find that HR outsourcers are primarily used to resolve problems in a legal manner, rather than prevent discontent in the first instance. That responsibility falls with the leader/manager, whose ‘soft’ skill sets vary from superb to sub-standard.

Larger companies may be able to resolve a number of potential employee relationship challenges by sub-contracting their labour, or outsourcing, so they can focus on the job in hand. Smaller companies can do this to a limited extent, but it is even more difficult if you are one of the outsourcing businesses.

People don’t like change

Growing companies inevitably change, ultimately people do not often embrace change, so any change to their initial circumstances may be met with denial and they may move jobs before getting to the ‘acceptance’ stage. There are best practices in how to introduce change, but not all people will be happy all of the time.

People also change. Leaders may assume everyone wants to grow and develop however assumptions are dangerous. Some employees are happy with their growth coming from outside of the business and some feel this is unnecessary pressure.  It’s not really anybody’s fault – it’s just happens.

New people = new opportunities

The ‘job for life’ concept of our grandfathers has changed. When the low moments of being disappointed in people pass you will see this as an opportunity to refresh your team and bring in the right people for the moment and who value your relationship.

The world is full of those who have moved on and been very happy, however, there is a number who have changed jobs and not realised how lucky they were to have you as a manager/leader. That’s not a narrative that’s often broadcast.

It is a sharp reminder not to bring in people because they are available, but to employ the right people for the moment, and hopefully for the future. This is where recruitment processes for growing businesses need to consider ‘change acceptability’ competency questions.

As an employer all you can do is your best to bring in the people with the ‘right mindset,’ explain and bring them on the journey, whilst at all times remembering that they may suddenly wish to depart the car just as you enter the motorway.


Growing businesses need people, employing the right people is worth it, finding the ‘right people’ is the hard task. iMultiply can help improve your recruitment process, by advising on the most effective assessment tools. For more information contact us.

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