The two organizations in our case study are successful in their line of duty. Both of them are well established as medium enterprises. The first one, Thomas Norton Consultants is already making an annual turn-over of about £500,000. The firm has been established in a very potent sector of ICT that has been a very rampant one due to the revolutionalising face of technology. The need to increase the efficiency has therefore grown with the expansion of the business and it has been inevitable that the management team must hire new staff to handle some of the issues that the some of the people that are already there used to handle. Due to the growth of the small enterprise, some of the departments that looked negligible and insignificant, hence required no specific officer, have seen the need to improve. The high competition and probability of emergence of other competitors have seen the company require to hire experts to handle these vital departments. In the second organization, is almost similar to the first. It started small but have grown to demand for better attention to some departments. Lektronix, also, had the same story where the original crew had been effective for some time and then fell apart along the way. The firm was a small business that had grown due to the need by the less financially able people to buy new electronics once the old ones broke down. There was a growing need to get a place where the repairs would be made, somewhere the clients would reach out to the people. The use of technological gadgets is increasing with the increase in technology use, hence the business for these Lektronix would inevitably increase its manpower and scope.
It has emerged that one of the biggest challenges that small businesses face are that of failing to get the right manpower for their businesses (Arthur 2003). This is brought by the external factors in their respective industries as well as competition for the best crew from the large businesses. They also have less incentives that can attract highly qualified people. This can be well demonstrated by Lektronix who even tried to get agents to help them find employees. The agents were unsuccessful due to the factors such as lack of highly competent employees in their specific line of business. Further, the work of the agents was terminated on the grounds of being expensive and unsuccefull (Arthur 2003). The problem can also be highly attributed to the fact that the organization was formed using friends and relatives to get the initial employees. This shows that there was no well-laid plan for employee replacement or employment of new employees. This creates the problems when experts are needed and the casual ties could not be helpful anymore. Consequently, there are difficulties in finding new people to take up positions whenever there was need to do so. The same was experienced with Thomas Norton Consultants who even tried to promote from within their ranks, but there was no success.
Strengths of the Two Companies
The businesses are well placed in the market because they try to reach out to the small consumers. Unlike large corporations that target the corporate market, these small businesses are obliged to reach out to the unreached market of retailers who purchase products at a small scale (HBS 2002 & Huang & Martin-Taylor 2013). Secondly, they are strategically placed because they create the image of reaching out to the intended customers. The ease of clients reaching out to a local shop is usually very easy and they can easily identify with this organization (Gardner & Palmer 1997). Thirdly, these organizations are local and employ people from the geographical location in their workforce. This allows the people to get close to the organization as the staff can make sales informally. As Beauregard & Fitzgerald (2000) stated, organizations whose consumers tend to identify with get high sales and high expansion.
When many deals are made informally, there is a high possibility that they might not get the best returns from the sales. This is because as employees attempt to show the clients that they own up the organizations, they might end up reducing prices to the minimum (Beauregard & Fitzgerald 2000). This would lead to reduced profits.
Due to the local outlook that the small businesses have, they equally have a similar geographic area to choose their staff from (Arthur 2003). As compared to large corporations where many people focuses to get employment due to their relatively better salaries, these small businesses do not get the most competent manpower. They are compelled to go for, either the second best, or for competent people who only look for employment, but are not driven by passion. Thomas Norton was unable to get a competent public relations officer and Mr Jones, who is a co-founder of Walsall-based electronic repair company, Lektronix, could only use his personal contacts to get the business running.
Small businesses also face the risk of competition (Gardner & Palmer 1997). When it comes to technological products, many people opt for large companies, leaving the other companies with less sales and less customers (Armstrong 2006). Since they make large sales, the large businesses are able to reduce their prices as they consider the economies of scale and ensure that their prices remain highly competitive in the market. They are also better positioned to get all products that are related to their area of specialization under one roof due to their large capital base (HBS 2002). Small businesses may not compete favorably in this field because some of the software and programs may be too expensive to purchase and consequently, customers would get disappointed (Armstrong 2006).
Diagnosis to the Problems
Look for Versatility of Employees
One of the issues that gives problems to panelists in small businesses is the lack of the right crew (HBS 2002). They should first all realize that they cannot get a perfect employee because the best are taken by the larger organizations. In this case, they should lower the bar for their hiring. However, to ensure that the level of output does not drop, the bar should not be too low such that anyone could get through (Menon 1999). On the contrary, they should look for people who they can train in the various positions in order to get a right person. They should be patient and have a person who would train the new employee into what the business wishes to have. During the interviews, they should therefore decide that they would look for the most versatile interviewee who could be trained (Alfred 2009).
While hiring new staff, the management should be specific on the kind of a person they wanted (Menon 1999). This means that the job description and every small detail should be well outlined and elaborated so that they are aware of what they are looking for. As they conduct interviews, they could use simulative situations where the potential employee shows the capability of dealing with situations while at work. The simulation would be made successful if only the managers had specifics of the person they needed (Alfred 2009 and Huang & Martin-Taylor 2013).
Take a Closer Look
When the people came across a person they feel is right for the job, it is always useful to take time and examine the person more closely (Armstrong 2006). At times, ones presentability deceives the panel and they could end up hiring the wrong person. Some small details are often regarded as important and some interviewees are already aware of this. Some issues such as dressing and confidence may look okay with an interviewee, ending up hiding some of the inner characters that could be undesirable to the small business (Butteriss 1999). The management team should therefore sit and discuss the hidden aspects in every interviewee.
In order to get the best employees for the small business, the managers should prepare a budget and reach out through the affordable means (Arthur 2003). While placing adverts on paper or TV could be expensive, other avenues that are used by young people such as social media should be used. The budget would consider all the factors that could affect the recruitment process to ensure that there is less wastage of money in hiring the right person for the job (Butteriss 1999). The publicity should go beyond families and friends, but use of social gatherings to make announcements would be appropriate. Local leaders and notice boards would be important in this case.
The managers should get the right people to conduct the interviews (Butteriss 1999). The interviews should be well elaborated to ensure that there are less mistakes at hiring. The panel should consist of diverse people who could see beyond the facial expressions (HBS 2002). This would ensure that the business would get the best employees for the job. Body language, for instance, would be used during the interview. At the same time, the managers should seek for intervention from the people who know the employee such as the former employers. Referees should be contacted to ensure that whatever is exhibited by the person would be transferred to the workplace or not (Beauregard & Fitzgerald 2000).
Take Experienced Employees
Finally, the management team should try to get employees who are experienced in the field (Sims 2007). This is because they would inject new ideas that would eventually give the firm a cutting edge especially in comparison to the other small businesses within its locality. This is important since the wish of any business is to grow to higher levels in terms of service delivery and reputation (Sims 2007 & Alfred 2009)).