Our Workshop – Employees: Assets or Liabilities?


Employees: Assets or Liabilities?

This was the first in the series of Running Your Business Workshops, developed for clients of Castletons Accountants and other local businesses to provide them with practical ideas across a range of business areas.  Management gurus often comment that people are our greatest asset.  At the same time, from speaking to a range of businesses, we understand that recruiting and managing people can be a real challenge.  So for this Workshop we invited HR expert and Director of P3PM, Charlotte Dean, to share her thoughts on the employee lifecycle.        

Some of the issues that Charlotte covered included:


Talent Acquisition

Charlotte emphasised that employers should spend time on the job specification when looking to recruit someone new.  Charlotte emphasised: “You are going to spend 1,000’s of pounds on a new team member.  So make sure you know what you want – the values and behaviours that are important to you and your business – and make sure that this new member of the team shares them.”

Charlotte encouraged business owners to think about the different approaches taken by individuals born in different decades.  For instance: Millenials look for jobs through different media, eg social media; so ensure that you are advertising your job across all different kinds of channels.  Even once they are employed, different things will excite different decades – eg. A pension won’t sound as exciting to Millenials, as free gym membership may.

Think about the questions that will really demonstrate to you the individuals’ values and behaviours; eg: what will I see when you are under stress; what are your weaknesses, followed up with what would your mum say your weaknesses are?  In addition, you may wish to consider psychometric testing.



There was a survey of top businesses, that found that a woeful 13% of employees in those businesses were actually engaged.  Charlotte suggested that business owners should consider using Engagement Measurement Tools, such as Gallup Q12 Survey.

Charlotte shared the Anatomy of an Engaged Employee:

  • They know the strategy of the business, what customers want and what’s expected of them by their managers
  • They listen to the needs of the business and let that guide their work and performance
  • They feel heard
  • They love their job, their company, their colleagues and their customers
  • The don’t do the bare minimum and come up with new solutions, then put them into action
  • They dig in and go above and beyond what’s expected of them frequently

Charlotte challenged business owners to allow and encourage their employees to be engaged.


Motivating your People

This builds on engagement: ultimately motivating your people is understanding what drives your people – their passions, hopes and dreams.  You should know what these are, as you recruited them!


Managing your People

Charlotte asked how trained are your team-leaders and managers in managing your people?  Ensure that you skill up this key layer in your business, so amongst other things they know: how to have difficult conversations; and how to empower and engage their team.

Charlotte set out what, according to a survey of business leaders from around the world, are the top 10 most important leadership skills:

  • 73% Leading People
  • 64% Strategic Planning
  • 64% Resourcefulness
  • 60% Being quick learner
  • 63% Managing Change
  • 62% Inspire commitment
  • 60% Decisiveness
  • 64% Do what it takes
  • 60% Building and mending relationship
  • 57% Composure

We should help our managers develop these skills.  We should also challenge ourselves – if our managers don’t have these skills, even after training/coaching, ask yourself how they fit with your business.


Retain good people

All of this should help you to retain the right people.  Keep your retention levels under review; and exit from your business the terrorists and those without the necessary skills and right behaviours.


Managing Exits

Ensure that you have a probation period for new recruits.  In the same way that when we meet a new boyfriend/girlfriend, we start the relationship keen to sparkle, new recruits are the same.  They will be at their best in the first 3 months. If they aren’t shining then, they never will.  Move them on with dignity and respect.

Once a member of staff has been with you for over two years their employment rights are greater.  Therefore, it is in the business’s interest to decide quickly if someone is right for your business, or if they would be more successful elsewhere.   Make your decisions quickly, don’t procrastinate.


For further information and advice on people issues, contact Charlotte Dean of P3PM on 0161 941 2426 or email: info@p3pm.co.uk



Castletons Accountants

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