Winning Group CEO John Winning has urged business leaders not to beat themselves up over making wrong hires, suggesting that “some of the churn” in staff is inevitable for growing companies.
Speaking at the recent Online Retailer Conference in Sydney, the head of the 112-year-old family-owned e-commerce group – whose brand include Appliances Online, Winning Appliances and Home Clearance – Mr Winning said it sometimes “simply isn’t possible” to get recruitment right first time around, especially during periods of strong growth.
Instead, the focus is – and should be – on simply getting the job done, he said.
“We have a reasonably high turnover in the early period with us. I like to think that we hire slowly… but sometimes when you’re growing at 50 or 100 per cent versus the prior year, you have to hire a lot of people,” said Mr Winning.
“Sometimes you go ‘I’d love to find the perfect person but I can’t find the perfect person now, I’m just going to have to take the next best thing’.”
According to Mr Winning, his business has expanded by roughly 100 new roles in each of the last five years, from a starting point of only 100 staff members.
“It’s hard to keep that going without some of the churn,” he admitted.
“And so we’ve probably sacrificed the time that it takes to hire that perfect candidate just because we need people to answer calls, we need people to open this new store, we need people to get these deliveries done.”
That is not to say that Winning Group takes workplace culture lightly. Far from it, said Mr Winning.
“To me, culture is everything,” he said, adding that the customer can never have a great experience without a strong culture among staff to deliver that experience.
“So for me, it’s probably culture before the customer.”
He said that while hiring is about simply filling vacancies and ensuring the job gets done, his business is “quite ruthless” in its longer term approach to instilling its values in new recruits and quickly determining whether someone fits its values and culture.
“We say that good enough is not good enough, you’ve got to be exceptional,” Mr Winning said.
“If you’re not… the team will vote you out.”
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.