KRbookIn a world where few managers are trained in the art of recruiting and 20% of employees drain over 80% of management time and resources, it’s obvious SMEs are suffering from what Russell coins the “talent gap”. In her latest book, Russell lays out a proven blueprint any SME can implement to find world-class skills, turn them into loyal employees and sky-rocket their business goals as a result.

The statistics are somewhat shocking; just 50% of UK SMEs have a formal recruiting strategy, 12.5% of managers are trained in the art of recruiting – yet 100% of these businesses will agree that finding and retaining the right talent is the biggest cog in their success. It’s a disconnect that can’t be ignored.

As an SME owner herself, HR expert Kate Russell has struggled with plugging the “talent gap”. However, after crafting what can only be described as a new paradigm in how small businesses find their superstars, Russell is now sharing her model with the world.

Everything unravels in ‘Build Your Dream Team’. Written for any SME looking to thrive in 2017, the book not only proves how implementing a formal recruitment strategy is key to success, but explains every step of the entire process.


‘Build Your Dream Team – How SMEs Can Plug the Talent Gap’ helps SMEs solve the problem of finding good quality new employees. The author, Kate Russell, brings together the range of activities a dynamic employer must use to recruit efficiently in 2017. This includes: managing employer branding, creating and attracting a robust pipeline of talent, creating cost-effective benefits, building effective processes to predict future performance and on-boarding properly. This is comprehensive package contains practical ideas, examples, case studies, checklists, solutions, extensive resources and a pinch of humour and inspiration, put together by an author (herself the MD of an SME) who has tried and tested her material and is building her dream team.

Kate Russell“I’ve been there in the past, recruiting “Paretos” – the 20% of employees you spend 80% of your time managing, while thinking I was making the right decision,” explains the author. “Average performers may be okay in the short-term, but you need to put blood, sweat and tears into finding rockstars if you want to hire infrequently, keep your staff loyal and essentially build a family who can succeed together. This book shows any small business how to do exactly that.”

Continuing, “Marketing goes beyond selling products and services – to also selling your company and its benefits to potential employees. Remember, your job is their livelihood and they may end up spending more time at the office than they do at home. Therefore, you have to look beyond short-term goals and simply “winging” your recruiting efforts. You need a formal wash-rinse-repeat strategy, and it all starts with my book.”

Concluding, Russell shares her top tips for building a great team with MARGINALIA:

  • In business, you are who you recruit.
  • Choose the right people. Your options are: A team of employees (super-brilliant, super-dynamic, totally motivated and who drive the business forward); Foot soldiers (who are perfectly OK but do things at their pace and you have to work fairly hard to get them going in the right direction); Paretos – the under-performing, unsatisfactory 20% of employees who take up 80% of your management time.
  • Get your employer brand right. Build the right culture for your team.
  • Marketing is not just about selling products and services in 2017. You also have to market your business as an employer of choice.
  • Define very closely what your ideal employee looks like. Be prepared to look for excellent raw material and train for skills.
  • Be proactive. Keep your recruitment process switched on all the time and make sure other team members are also actively looking for the right people with you.
  • Think creatively about sources of possible candidates.
  • BYDTStand out from the crowd (for the right reasons). It’s difficult for small businesses so you have to work harder to develop a recruitment process to attract the target audience you’re looking for. There are some really interesting and clever campaigns out there, so do some research and get some inspiration.
  • You may not be able to compete with big businesses in terms of high pay and insurance-based benefits but you can come up with some great – often much cheaper- benefits that employees love.
  • Have a really rigorous recruitment process which tests the applicant’s ability to do the job. Testing is key.
  • Be courteous and prompt. Good manner costs nothing. Bad manners often cause a huge PR embarrassment.

And, the author adds: “On-board efficiently and thoughtfully. Make your employee part of the team quickly. Helping new people build relationships, giving clarity about their role, encouraging them to ask questions and ask for feedback can make them efficient 25% faster.”

‘Build Your Dream Team’ is due for release in February. Advanced copies can be ordered directly from the author’s website: A 15% discount is being offered for orders placed before 17th February 2017.