Skip to main content

Tag: Recruitment

Remote work is for the birds Remote work saved our businesses in Covid, but could kill it if left unchecked

Elite Business: Remote work is for the birds

In this article, first published in Elite Business, Pavlo puts a question mark on remote working.

Businesses are about people. And people are about skills, thinking and action. If your people are less than that, you should be looking at technology to do that person’s job. It’s more reliable, dependable and far easier to manage. But it won’t create magic, innovation or culture across your business. People will and do. Remote working puts a question mark on that. 

Here are some reasons why.


When a problem arises, the ability to immediately resolve it by pulling people into a room before it cannot be done remotely. And if the problem and its solution need a multidisciplinary approach, which most problems do, then the right people in the room can step out after and all do what needs doing to get the job done. 

As your business grows, it is even more critical because the people in the room might have to coordinate and organise their teams to get the job done. It’s instant, and when it comes to retaining clients and building a brand (problem resolution builds a brand better than any marketing campaign), you need to get it done there and then.

Culture and value

Culture is nebulous, yet without one, your business creates a staccato experience for suppliers, customers, and employees. Values create the nous that enables your business and its employees to operate against an intuitive framework when needed. This intuition or unconscious response develops over time. It doesn’t build from the values stated in your website or reception wall but through living, breathing and observing the behaviour of all business employees, especially its leaders. 

If values create the framework and culture of the behaviour about what a company stands for, the best way to learn it is in person. Imagine a scenario where an employee enters the office of a manager. The door closes. A few minutes later, the employee leaves the office, pale and slightly stressed. Your colleague sitting next to you asks what went down. You explain what that employee did, and through that, you learn the authentic culture and values of that company. A word indicating a value, be it integrity, honesty, etc. means very little until it is understood and witnessed in practice.

Learning and training

While aspects of employee training are best offered online and therefore accessible remotely, the context, the application and the improvement of an employee’s performance arguably cannot be. We learn by doing not online engagements and content. Observation and “show and tell” are far more impactful ways of developing capability in your employees. Imagine trying to learn kung fu remotely rather than in the ring. Only when a punch lands do you genuinely understand how to take the theory and put it into a useful practice suited to your inherent abilities. The same goes for riding a bicycle, managing a project, managing a team, collecting a debtor book or selling.


Beyond a job, why do people opt to work in your business? I’ll put it into context in a recent meeting with a global law firm specialising in tax. Their brand exciting and innovative brand operates across a  federation of autonomous companies operating in 169 countries. In the past, they won recruits with their innovative approach to tax, assured learning and very quick exposure to exciting clients. Their vibrancy won them talent before bigger firms’ cold, hard salary packages. But, they have found that remote working has directly prevented the handover of relationships from senior partners to junior partners and associates. It has harmed the transfer of knowledge on the subject matter, the personalities making up a client, the industry, and it has stunted the ability of senior partners to pick junior partners effectively and for junior partners in return to compete to work with promising associates. 

Remote working is a privilege, not a right. If you are attracting employees who demand it, consider moving on. They are there for their comfort rather than the well-being of the business as active, engaged, committed contributors who go beyond fulfilling a functional role.

When is there a case for remote work? It should be part of your business-building toolkit. How to use it, when and where and then how to manage it is a future article. 

Recruit right people


As a small business owner, your biggest investment will be your staff. How you hire, who you hire, and when you hire, will have the biggest – positive or negative – effect on getting your business to the next level or not. On The Money Show with Bruce Whitfield, Pavlo Phitidis outlined his approach to getting recruitment right:


Hiring people is an essential component of business growth. Without people, you don’t have a business. You have a job – that’s you doing it all, all the time.

Hiring people should be done to free your time from the tasks that consuming your time the most and that are teachable. The free time should see you move onto the next set of activities to build or grow your business. This is possible because you now have the time to do this. But only if that hire sees the right person coming on board doing the right thing at the right time. If not, you get drawn back into the time-consuming tasks you hoped to free yourself from and carry a higher cost of an unproductive hanger-on.

Some business owners hire people to save them or the business. They believe that the hire has the skills or insight needed to ‘fix’ the problem that they think is holding the business back. Getting this right is a relief. Mostly, however, it is a disappointment and an expensive one at that.

Because both hiring motivations are right, getting it right is vital making hiring a key competence of a business owner.


Effective recruitment begins long before you begin advertising to fill a vacancy. Building a detailed job specification is just the start of the process. Your job specification should include: activities that you can to train someone to perform; activities that integrate with all the other activities that enable you to deliver a defined customer experience and, activities that are measurable. When drafting your job specification, think deeply about what your ideal candidates would be like – their background, demographics, skill sets, and attitudes.


Once you’ve drafted the job specification and designed the salary package you’re ready to offer to the right candidate, it’s time to advertise the offer. Ask interested candidates to include a covering letter and CV. Including a list of requirements for the application process is an initial test of your potential candidates; if they’ve read your advertisement, engaged with the content, and supplied you with everything required, they’ve proven that they can attentively follow instructions. Anyone who doesn’t follow the somewhat simple requirements listed in your advertisement, can be immediately removed from your list of applications received.


From all the applications, create your first shortlist of candidates that best fit your job specification. Select only those who have followed your instructions and shown an aptitude for the type of business you run. Ignore the lists of achievements on their CV and look more towards their attitude and practical abilities.

Then, invite your top 20 candidates to a briefing session. Prepare and share a presentation about your business, the job opportunity you’re offering, and the performance requirements. Invite questions and take note of the content of those questions, who asked them and their responses. That will give you great insight into the people on your shortlist and enable you to shortlist even further.


After your presentation and Q&A session, ask your candidates to complete an application form for the job opportunity. Within this customised application form, be sure to ask questions that will help you to test understanding, temperament, skills and character. This application form process will help you to assess how your 20 candidates processed the information you shared with them, responded to it, and then communicate around it.


From the applications that you received, select your top 5 candidates and invite them to individually pitch for the job opportunity. Look for who has thought through the opportunity best and has you and your business in mind rather than what they want. You want a hungry, passionate person who believes in the business and wants to be part of its future. From the pitches, select your top 2 candidates, and then conduct in-depth interviews with them. That’ll help you to assess and decide who your ideal staff member will be.


Measuring individual performance is imperative, as you build your business. Before you and your new hire commit to long-term employment within your business, implement a 3-month probation period, during which you’ll be able to assess their performance, and they’ll be able to assess how well they fit within your business.

Use your internal systems to measure performance and provide support to your new hire, as they settle into being part of how you build your business. All through the probation period, assess their performance and build their capacity and capability to perform at the job. If they hit the performance metrics during the probation period and get on with your team and culture, you probably have your winner!

Image source: