Obvious metaphor about what to build...

Retention is more important than recruitment. Discuss.

It’s déjà vu all over again. The economy is stronger and, as is usually the case, this improvement in the national finances means it’s time to start building again. We all know it won’t last forever – what does? – so the name of the game is to make hay whilst the sun is shining. And someone will make it. The building will be done by those who can at the expense of those who can’t.

The trick is to be the former, which is both obvious and easy to say.

Suddenly, good, trained people are hard to find. Even the ones that aren’t so good, but are still trained, are in short supply. It’s deeply frustrating, if completely predictable. Theories abound. The ageing workforce. The brain drain. Employment competition. The list goes on.

It's sometimes necessary to try everything.

The one big advantage of using Recruitment Agencies is that you only pay them once they have provided you with what you need. If they don't, it costs nothing.

They can be expensive though.

Direct advertising may be cheaper (but not as cheap as one might expect), but it doesn’t guarantee results and it can be very time-consuming dealing with the response, much of it from time-wasters and chancers.

Networking can be useful too – Ireland is very much a country where the adage “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” applies, but whatever method(s) you utilise, getting the staff is only a part of the equation.

Let me tell you a secret about Recruitment Agencies…

They love crappy employers. Crappy employers have a constant turnover of staff, leaving lots of lovely vacancies and even more lovely fees. A crappy employer is a goldmine for Recruitment Agencies.

The moral of the tale? Don’t be a crappy employer.

It may well not be the MD/owner who is the problem; in fact, this is usually not where the problem lies. It’s the middle management. And it only takes one or two to be the problem. This is not a construction industry problem; it’s a workplace problem. You must have seen it.

Someone is good at their job. They are hard working. Loyal and committed – or perhaps they just stick around (It’s a fine line sometimes). And at some point, they are rewarded with a promotion, and invariably, this means a management position. And management means managing people, and this is where the problem often is.

Managing people is a skill.

I have seen perfectly decent, genuinely nice people make terrible managers. I have also seen some awful eejits make a mess of it too.

Managing people is hard.

And it’s doubly hard when the right staff are in short supply. The dynamic shifts. It becomes a sellers’ market. Why is someone going to stick around working for someone they dislike when they are being bombarded with alternative opportunities from job-boards and agencies? People will put up with a job or a boss they don’t like when work is scarce. They won’t when the dynamic changes.

It is easy to overlook management training. It can feel like a needless expense and a waste of time, but it is an investment that will add value to any company and is absolutely essential when the right staff are so hard to find.

A poor manager can have a terrible impact on a company, and effective management techniques are simple to learn. It really doesn’t take much.

What do you really have to lose when there is so much to gain?