Employees · Team formation

Most difficult task is how & where to get committed employees

Anant Kulkarni Entreprenuer, Marine engineer

February 3rd, 2020

I am a marine engineer with experience in ships , Oil & Gas floating projects for 25 years.

Have been reading on business books for 10+ years & always motivated to get into business. Started business 5 years ago into customised mechanical equipment supply to oil & gas Industry as per requirement.

Have been trying to build team since last 5 years without much success. Good employees prefer MNC jobs & mostly less experienced ones are ready to join small business. Have tried to hire experienced ones with same salary as MNC but the commitment & engagement of employee required for small company is not there. Have tried approach of hiring less experienced ones/freshers & trained them but most of them do not improve to the level where they work on their own. Have hired retired professional with experience to guide less experienced employees but still it does not work - As the retired person is interested into advisory role & expects junior employees to take initiative - which is not happening.

This has been going on for 5 years now & I end up being responsible in various areas & get supported only for labour from employees. Only hope has been I have been able to cover all expenses & make small profit which is almost stagnant for last 2-3 years.This has led me to think either I am doing something wrong or need to change business & have IT platform to scale up. Sometimes I feel I have done mistake in getting into business while I was doing well in job or trading business is not right. The initial excitement due to above factors has also become less.

After reading various entrepreneur biographies I do understand team is very important for business success but unable to get there.

Will be glad to hear how others have overcome this bottleneck.

Paul Garcia marketing exec & business advisor

February 8th, 2020

I empathize with your struggle. Understanding what motivates individuals to do what kind of job you hope they'll do for you can be tricky, but it is so important. Are any of the people you want working for you working for another company just like yours? Or are the people who work for you all transplants who made a decision to work for your company because there's something they didn't like about other similar positions where they came from?

I'll give you an example of how the healthcare industry struggles to hire and retain Information Security professionals. Hospitals have a high demand for this work but not the kind of budget other industries do that make more money per customer. Companies like banking/finance make a lot of money and can afford to pay their I.S. professionals more salary and hire more of them, for example. With more workers and better wages, the job is busy but not as difficult because there are enough people doing it. And then you look at hospitals and none of them have enough I.S. people on staff, the work piles up, and the environment is stressful, not to mention they don't have the budget to pay as much. Therein the ones they get either need to be motivated to support healthcare because of some personal affinity for the industry, or they may be insufficiently skilled to get the higher paying job, and then the quality of the work isn't quite as good. What do hospitals do? Suffer mostly, like you.

Teachers are in a similar situation. We pay teachers so little in the USA and yet they have one of the most important and difficult jobs. They burn out quickly, lose their fire, choose to go do something else, or never go into teaching in the first place because they are concerned about the pay.

I don't have a specific solution for you, but my guess is that there's something about your business that needs to fundamentally change so you're more attractive than the multi-national corps. You have the ability to change the culture (what it's like to work there), even if you can't really pay differently. And if your employees are disengaged, that's a common sign of a leadership issue. They don't feel connected to your culture and aren't maintaining their motivation, not feeling inspired, not developing a personal connection to the outcome of your business.

My suggestion is that you might go for some executive coaching, specifically on leadership skills. Being in-charge doesn't automatically mean you're a great leader. And I'm not saying you are or aren't. I don't know. But the kind of reaction from employees you describe often signals there is something lacking in leadership and culture of the business. If you're not paying employees less than the MNCs are, it has to be another motivating factor.

How well do you know each of the employees, I mean specifically how they are personally motivated, what they care about, and what their career goals are. If nothing else, learn and remember those three things about each of your employees, and they will elevate their opinion of you to some degree. As far as what to do with the information you learn, that's really customized, and a coach could help you if you don't feel confident you can figure it out on your own.

I admire that you're giving it a lot of effort. You're already asking for help, perhaps help with the wrong thing, but still asking.

Good luck!