Jonathan Fitchew

When hiring into a business, the process doesn’t end with a signature on the contract. As any hiring manager will testify, ‘recruitment’ can stretch for weeks or even months post-placement. Regardless of experience, your recruit doesn’t know your business, your product or your market. They may have some insight or transferable experience - but there’s no such thing as an instant hire.

There will always be some degree of hand-holding in the early stages. The question is: how do we strike a balance between supporting and micro-managing? When we fail to hit that sweet spot, we not only stand in the way of employer and employee working profitably together - we risk suffocating our recruits. Let’s consider for a moment what happens when people don’t feel they have the power of autonomy to make their own decisions (just look at the Brexit debate). Simply put, they will either demand change or leave the employer in question.

When people start in a new position, their engagement is the highest it will be at any stage in their careers. The desire to go the extra mile translates into higher productivity, buy-in to business objectives and the initiative to champion change. It’s vital to give that drive some direction. So, as employers, we provide guidelines, boundaries and support.

But start centralising power or micro-managing and those hires lose both their value and their appetite. Keep up the practice and we’ll land ourselves with either high levels of staff turnover or, worse still, a stifled workforce that is hesitant to work towards unified business objectives. Neither spells out long-term success.

So let’s re-negotiate the terms (better than Cameron, preferably). When hiring, entrust individuals with greater autonomy, let them demonstrate initiative and ‘own’ their roles. Let them shape their own path. Yes, they will make mistakes. Safeguards and successful middle-management will offset those risks. However, with freedom comes creativity: so not only will your hires deliver, they will exceed expectations.

A Brexit is a backlash against micro-management - albeit on a national scale. Given the divided polls, it’s clear neither extreme satisfies all. But can we strike a balance between governance and autonomy? That’s a union I’d be interested in.