How To Unleash the True Potential of Your Employees

How do you balance between hiring the best and developing existing employees?

Small businesses differ significantly from large business. Small and medium sized enterprises do not have a large capital base. Their human resource department is significantly smaller, depending on the stage of growth in which they are in.

Recently, a friend asked me what I would do if I was given two choices. The question he posed to me was whether I would prefer to hire top notch employees or do what I could with average employees. I pondered over the matter for a while before giving my verdict. I would rather have a few excellent employees than have some mediocre workers.

While it is true that you can get some average workers and train them to become good workers, the truth is that they will get to the top of the learning curve, after which productivity will come tapering, heading down the slope. The same applies for excellent hires, but there is a difference, and a big one for that matter. One is starting at a level that is below the other, and it will take much more effort, time and money to get the two to the same productive level. Why do I say that?

Training Needs

The training needs of the two are extremely different. You will have to assemble a lot of resources to train an average person to bring them to a level where they are working optimally. A super-talented individual will have a better understanding of things, the operations of the business as well as the culture of the organization. I am not saying that they will not need training. They will certainly require training, but their requirements are way less compared to those of average employees. Time in business translates to money, and if too much time is spent on training employees, then the business is gaining on one end while losing big time at another end.

Even after working so hard to train that average employee, the truth is that if you offered him the same platform to prove his productivity as another above average employee, the super employee will be better in many ways. Business outputs are sometimes difficult to measure directly, but I am of the opinion that the very best employee will take the business to a level that the average employee wont. Creativity will differ, and their approach to things will differ. Whatever unit you use to measure the output the excellent employee will do better.

Cost of Hiring the Best

Perhaps the reason why many small and medium sized organizations shy away from hiring the very best employees is the cost factor. An excellent employee knows his worth, and will definitely be more expensive than the average employee. It is value for money. If you want a super product, then your pocket has to be dented more. That is simple logic.

I do have another argument though. A small organization does not require many employees. Take a scenario where an organization has 2 average employees who are paid 1000 pounds a month each. Assuming the management fired these two employees and hired this very good employee who does the job that the two employees were doing for 1800 pounds. It is true that he is worth more than any of the two employees, but his output equals or exceeds that of two average workers, and the salary paid to him is far much less.

Good employees also have another advantage. They can do a lot without much supervision. The management can spend time on other pressing matters and still expect useful work to be going on in the organization. Of course, such quality employees have to be given the opportunity to grow and expand their horizons.

That said, why not just hire the best employees right from the beginning?


This has been a Guukle guest post

Stewart Jones has been involved with HR consultancy for small businesses since the early 90′s. Stewart is a big advocate of business automation has submitted this article on behalf of HR Software Breathe HR. To find out more information about the innovative cloud-based HR software system visit

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