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Bosses need to take ‘more risks’ when hiring new staff

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The former chief executive officer of Virgin has urged employers to take more risks when it comes to hiring new staff.

Simon Wright, who used to head up Virgin Entertainment, said that businesses needed to stop “pigeonholing” staff on the basis of age and experience because they were denying themselves talent.

Mr Wright, now acting as a US-based consultant to fast-growing companies, said: “In some instances experience can actually get in the way of solving problems, because of the preconceptions it can engender.

“There’s a strong argument for approaching challenges with a ‘beginner’s mind’. But achieving this means putting people in place who combine a commercial mindset with the ability to adapt and use common sense.”

He went on to give an example at Virgin where one woman was “parachuted” into a position where she had little experience.

This woman, he adds, went from being a store manager to an IT director to a successful managing director within the space of three years “because of her excellent people management skills”.

Kim Stephenson, author of Taming the Pound, recently said that a good company board will encompass a diverse array of minds.

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