It is well known that the best people work for the best companies. But will they work for you ?

As the recession seems to be receding and confidence is improving, there are a lot of companies with very optimistic views on growth. But how are companies going to fuel this growth in the face of steep competition for key resources.

I recently read the Scottish Technology Industry survey for 2013 (ScotlandIS). In it, analysis indicated that over 70% of the firms spoken to are planning to increase headcount.

It is also well known that there is a real shortage of skills to fill these positions. So, what are the top four things that firms should do in the face of having a shortage of staff:

Sack Someone

This first thing you should do is make sure that you have not put off any decisions regarding non-performing staff. If you are short of staff, then you may put off exiting employees who are not performing and will never perform at an appropriate level. This is a big mistake. It is not just about employing people, it is about employing the right people.

To attract stars into your company you need to be an organisation that they want to be a part off. Non performance, if not treated, will spread and will discourage good people from joining you. People want to work in winning teams. If you have a non-performer then not only you will know this, but your work colleagues will as well.

Your failure to act will not only reflect badly upon you but will discourage your team from performing at their top level.

Sack your Recruitment Company

There might be a tendency for some companies to take a shotgun approach when working with recruitment agencies. The arguments is, that as you pay them a similar amount, why not trawl the ocean by having more recruitment companies work with you. This is a mistake. You should seek to have meaningful relationships with as few a number of recruitment companies as possible.

You want to hire the best people and keep them. If you form a lasting relationship with one or two recruiters then they will get to know you. They will also know that if they do not perform on your behalf then you will move elsewhere. Good recruitment companies know this and will be more effective when they understand your culture and requirements.

Be Creative

Don’t just run ‘same old’ adverts as everyone else (i.e. boring – java programmer wanted type ads). You need to advertise yourself as somewhere that great people want to work. It is widely known that, whilst pay and conditions are important, people are also motivated by great organisations if you have spent time on building a great environment that people want to work in you need to advertise this to the outside world.

Use externals companies, like 60 Watt, who produced the ‘Nutters’ Advert, to help you stand out from the crowd. Graham Technology, a very successful CRM software company, ran this advert a decade ago , in similar market conditions, and recruited some of the best talent in the country as a result. People, already working in the business, liked being ‘Nutters’ and attracted their friends in too.

Look Oversea’s The world is a more connected place. You can now easily outsource certain tasks to overseas companies or indeed recruit overseas. However, be careful to ensure you have also thought about the right way to control projects when working with oversea teams. My suggestion is that Agile methodologies (like SCRUM) with regular show and tell’s is a great way to do this as it is very reactive.

Also, you should try and find someone who has done this before to help you navigate the different and important cultural differences you will experience.

(Thanks to Iain Hawk for the Nutters Advert)