Inner Strength?

An Inside Look

So what do you do when you need high-powered talent but none of your existing employees can fill the bill? The first remedy, says Pfeffer, is to look at your staff again. "Companies often have much more internal talent than they think they do," he says. Look hard, and you might just find the job candidate you need.

What if you still can't find a good candidate? The best advice on this score comes from Griffith, who counsels small businesses to plan ahead for future personnel needs. Since you know you're growing, you also know the kind of help you'll need down the road, so start grooming today's staff to fill tomorrow's jobs, says Griffith. "Plenty of training is available at affordable costs," she says. From community colleges and university extension programs to seminars sponsored by professional societies such as the American Management Association, there is an abundance of training available for employers seeking to invest in their employees and the growth of their companies. "If you can anticipate a staffing need that will arise in three to six months, for example, you can take steps to prepare an employee to fill that role," says Griffith.

The benefits of preparing an insider are immense: "You're hiring a senior-level employee who comes into the job with basic knowledge about your company, your industry and your competitors," says Griffith. "He or she starts the job ready to contribute."

Another advantage is the resulting motivation of your staff. "Doing this serves as a big motivator to all the people in your organization," says Griffith. "Your employees will see your business as one that helps its people do good things for themselves." And that's exactly the kind of company the very best performers want to work for. So do this once, and chances are, you'll be doing it often because you'll have a work force that's fired up and continually striving to make your company more successful. As well they should--because they know that as the company succeeds, so will they.

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This article was originally published in the August 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Inner Strength?.

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