One of the hardest things about running a small business is building a good team of people. And, even if you do manage to pull together a good team, how do you keep them?
There are four key elements required to grow a business: i) increase revenue; ii) hire the right people; iii) improve performance and; iv) increase profit. Of these, number two is the most important. If you don’t hire the right people it will be difficult to achieve the other three.
Here are 12 things to consider when hiring staff and building a solid team for your company.
- Build a reputation as a great place to work. If your existing employees love working for you then word will spread and good people will want to work for you. Check out Canada’s 100 top employers and see what makes them so good to work for (www.canadastop100.com/national).
- Pay a little better than your competitors, or above your industry average.
- Draw up a thorough job description. You need to know exactly what your expectations are for the position. What are the deliverables? Once you have this you will know what skills and experience you are looking for in a hire, and what personality type would fit best in the position and with the rest of people they will be working with.
- When you post the job, issue a challenge with it. Ask candidates to consider a particular situation related to the job and your specific business and write about how they would deal with it in their cover letter. This will help prevent resume spam and ensure applicants think about your company and what sort of fit they might be.
- Ask for referrals from staff, friends and business colleagues. Often a referral can be better than someone applying out of the blue.
- Once you have applications, check the individuals on Facebook and LinkedIn and other social media sites. You can learn a lot about someone from how they portray their social life.
- Interview at least twice. Carry out the first interview by phone, it will save you a great deal of time and allow you to weed out unsuitable candidates quickly.
- During the interviews be open about your company’s core values, vision, goals and objectives and get feedback from the candidate. Make them part of the plan.
- Create a panel to carry out the interviews. This will allow a wider breadth of questions and opinions. It will also help prevent a common HR mistake, which is hiring someone you personally connect with in spite of obvious issues with their overall suitability.
- Once hired, ensure the person gets sufficient orientation and training. Give them every chance to be successful and fit into the team.
- Create a pleasant workplace with good morale and provide positive feedback to your team, individually and as a group – recognition is a powerful morale booster. Lead the team – don’t let it find its own way.
- Provide group benefits. Many smaller companies feel that they can’t afford to set up their own group plan but your local Chamber of Commerce will offer member companies a cost-effective method of offering group benefits to their employees.
There are many other ways to improve your chances of making good hires and keeping your team together, but the dozen above will get you on the right track. Hiring is something that should not be rushed; getting the right person in the right job is key to your overall profitability.
Trenval Business Development Corporation is Bay of Quinte’s Community Futures Business Specialist, financing business start-ups, expansions or successions in the Quinte region for 34 years. Trenval can help with small business support including small business funding and small business loans.