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What businesses can learn from the Southgate effect

20 Aug 2018

With the right team you can achieve anything...

This year was an unexpectedly memorable event for English football. With the World Cup ahead, expectations for the national team to succeed where, in previous years, they had failed, was at an all-time low. However, the country was in for a surprise: managed by veteran footballer Gareth Southgate, the England team gelled. They went further than any squad had been since 1990, reaching the semi-finals and inflicting some nail-biting defeats on Sweden, Colombia and Panama. 

How did they do it? Though it was of course partly down to the skill of the players, huge credit has to be given to Southgate himself. In a recent interview, he said that: “I feel the players need the opportunity to grow and they need the opportunity to be backed, and to improve”. He certainly did that, placing emphasis on picking a team that got along with each other, who would work together, rather than foregrounding their own talent at the expense of their fellows’. Alongside rigorous training sessions, he gave them support and the confidence to succeed.

The war for talent

In the competitive world of business, this is something that we should learn to apply to our own recruitment methods. With the unemployment rate at a decades-long record low of 4.1%, the war for talent has never been more intense. Firms are turning to bigger and better salaries to attract the best staff, whilst many others are investing heavily in their company culture and employee benefits to tempt millennials, who place a much higher importance on their work-life balance, to join them.

Indeed, many of these organisations focus precisely on that: on attracting the brightest stars in the industry, whatever the cost might be, in order to gain an edge over competitors. However, as Southgate has proven, a team made up of the best players doesn’t necessarily equate to a winning formula. In fact, many successful companies admit that the secret to good growth is hiring for attitude and training for success. 

With two thirds of employers expected to face skills shortages over the course of 2018- and with those skills shortages expected to cost businesses across the UK up to £2bn overall- it’s time for a shift in attitude. After all, it’s no use hiring a team of star players if they can’t work well with each other: in fact, a recent survey proved that 89% of bad hires performed poorly in the office due a lack of soft skills, like accepting feedback, playing well with others and fitting the company culture.

Hiring for attitude, training for success 

It’s time for a sea change. 88% of employers are looking for a cultural fit over skills in their next recruit, and for good reason. Though candidates do of course need a basic skillset in order to do their job, having the right attitude is vastly more important if you want to hire for the long-term. With the right attitude, you’ll be able to train talented new hires to the high standard that you require of them- indeed, in a market that is being transformed so rapidly by technology, having them learn their trade from the start, alongside the technology that’s changing the workforce, might actually be more beneficial in preparing them for a long and fruitful career.

Indeed, the real key to success lies in having the right personality. Like Southgate’s England squad, a strong team is one that can work well together and communicate well; by picking people who are team players, you’ll be better able to integrate them into a solid unit who can work well together, and produce better results because of it. However, you won’t be able to convince star hires to play ball if they don’t have the right mindset for it. Naturally, this can be detrimental to your office morale, and to the efficiency of your employees.

In this case, you need to recruit people based on the requirements of the team. Conduct a brief assessment before you start the recruitment process, the better to assess what kind of person would fit the company culture and team dynamic. Once you get to the interview stage, take the time to look past a candidate’s CV: conduct Psychometric Testing, to see what their personality really is like, and even take them to meet their prospective team-members before making their final decisions. 

Taking the time to really assess your potential employees and find the right fit for your business will pay off. After all, with a more cohesive, focussed team, you, like Southgate, will see your hard work get better results. 

Creating a star team

At IDEX Consulting, we think that a good hire should be based just as much on the right attitude as on having the right skills. Find out more about the Psychometric Testing we offer, or discover more insights in our blog section. 

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