Many small businesses operate with the sole proprietor’s efforts alone. But what if you need more people to make your business successful? How to you find qualified candidates, hire them, and keep them for the long run? This section discusses what you need to know about hiring and retaining staff.
The Hiring Process
Understand your employment needs. Consider these areas:
- Where could you use the most help? With sales or marketing, customer service, manufacturing your product, keeping the books, or other tasks? With something you do not perform well, so that you can focus your energies on your strengths?
- How can employee’s best free you up to concentrate on running your business?
- Do you need one person or ten? Full time or part time?
- How much can you afford to spend on employees?
- Is there a more effective way of getting help without hiring employees, such as by using independent contractors or working with a temporary staffing agency? If you choose to consider independent contractors, what do you need to keep in mind?
Once you have employees, it makes good business sense to keep them as long as possible. Help maintain a stable group of employees by taking these steps:
- Provide adequate training. Be sure your employees know what they are supposed to do, and provide close guidance as they begin their time at your business. Give employees opportunity to increase or improve skills through additional training, if needed. Develop an employee handbook that explains the key steps about how you run the business and their role in your business.
- Give regular feedback. Make sure your employees know how they are doing on the job. Feedback can be informal, such as work-related comments as you are passing through the area: “I see you’ve organized the space to make it easier to find the forms you need” or “You might be able to make the sale if you tried…”.
- In addition to informal, frequent feedback, schedule periodic reviews based on the job descriptions you have developed. Be sure you or your employees’ supervisor is easily accessible to answer questions or handle problems as they arise. Foster a sense of “we’re in this together” rather than “do it… or else.”
- Compensate employees fairly. Starting a business is expensive, and you may be tempted to cut corners on employees’ salaries. However, dedicated employees are what will help ensure the success of your venture. Employees are more likely to stay with you if they feel they are being treated — and compensated — fairly. Compensation can take forms beyond a paycheck, such as providing a flexible schedule, creating a pleasant work environment, offering incentives for increased sales or greater production, providing benefits, and more.