Recruiting a team of ‘a-players’ is one of the most important things for any ambitious business to grow.
By an ‘a-player’, I mean a high performing and motivated employee who does not need to be managed but who can help drive a business’s growth and development and lead others.
Much is written about the importance of recruiting these key people as being fundamental to a business’s growth and success. However, in reality, many businesses come unstuck because the brilliant CV and even better interview could be followed by a lack of performance or even an individual who poisons your business’s culture. Suddenly, your a-player becomes your ‘b’, ‘c’ or worse.
Another scenario is that you recruit a top-performing a-player, and they do so well that they decide that they could set up in business themselves and all of a sudden you have a well-trained, well-motivated and successful competitor taking business away from you!
At Collingwood Legal, we take the view that it is not just about recruiting the a-player; it’s about planning to recruit the best team and planning to deal with all potential outcomes. Here are some suggestions of key points to consider:
* Put in place a clear contractual document which sets out obligations and protects your business. It may be unwise to offer a long notice period at the beginning of an employment arrangement as you may begrudge having to pay for a six-month notice period when it is clear that matters are not going to work out after the second month. Having the right documents in place is imperative, otherwise this can be an expensive problem to fix.
* Have well-drafted business protection clauses. They are important to stop your key employees from leaving and taking your business and colleagues with them. You can have business protection clauses which apply after somebody leaves your employment but they need to be well drafted to fit the business interest that you are trying to protect in order to be legally binding.
* Make a decision quickly. If it’s not working out, don’t hang around and let the new recruit drag others down in your business.
* Be transparent and upfront. This ensures that there is no confusion as to the reason for ending the arrangement in due course which could lead you exposed to potential claims.
* Keep a paper trail. By retaining evidence of poor performance or inappropriate behaviour you will be in a much better position to avoid or defend any dispute or claim that might arise.
* Part on good terms. You never know when you will meet a departing employee again. Their next job may be working as a senior manager at your best customer and you may need to maintain a good relationship.
* If in doubt, take advice before ending any employment relationship. It is easy to fall foul of statutory and contractual rights and taking advice from a specialist employment lawyer at an early stage can avoid what could become an expensive problem further down the road.