All successful businesses rely on the quality of their teams to come up with new ideas, provide first-class services to customers, and be as productive as possible. So, it makes sense that hiring and firing employees is an essential part of life as a business owner, and retaining best employees is critical to any kind of success.
With this in mind, we thought we would take a look at the possible life span of an employee and reveal a few ideas on how to hire the best people, root out the bad apples, and grow the best workforce possible. Let’s get started with the hiring process.
Whether you are a startup or small business owner, there will come the point in time when you have to start hiring workers to help you out – there just isn’t the time to do everything by yourself. Unfortunately, employing people is not as simple as it might appear, but without a whole bunch of individuals helping you out, it will be virtually impossible to achieve any growth or progression for your business. It’s important, then, to know about some of the most important factors that signal you are ready to hire, why you need to hire, and how to hire the very best people.
Is the time right?
You can be ticking along quite nicely as a small business, but the second that there is more interest in your products or services, it can get tricky – and fast. How do you serve more customers, while continuing to drum up business? And how are you going to keep up your service levels when you are stretching yourself so thin? The solution to many might just be to hire more staff. But it’s important to understand, just because you have had more orders in one-quarter of the financial year, it doesn’t mean the next is going to be as successful.
In many cases, it’s more advantageous for small businesses to consider outsourcing rather than hiring. Bringing in freelancers or third party contractors is cost effective, as you only pay for the work that needs doing. You won’t have to pay taxes, insurance, or benefits either. And, most importantly, it will help you meet the extra demand without any concern it will drop off, leaving you high and dry with a bunch of full-time employees who you have to pay regardless of output.
So, in an ideal world, the right time to employ people is as soon as it makes financial sense. The employing process should be planned for, and part of your growth – not just to meet a sudden spike in demand. And the simple truth is that when your business is under pressure to meet demand, how thorough do you think your hiring process will be? In many ways, the way you hire people is just as important as who you hire. You will need to write engaging, accurate job descriptions that stand out from the usual, boring text you see on most job adverts. You’ll also need to focus on soft skills – especially since you are a small business who will need people to flit between roles on a regular basis. Make sure you are vetting all resumes correctly, too – interviews take a considerable amount of time, and you don’t want to waste it by talking to unsuitable candidates.
Make sure you are focused on asking the right kind of interview questions – not just about the role itself, but also see if the candidate is suited to your company culture. And don’t assume that the interview is a one-way process – especially if you want to seek the best possible talent. Sure, you are the one with the job on offer, but the best candidates will also be turning the tables. What have you got to offer? Why should they join your company instead of the one down the road? And what sort of progression and fulfilment can they expect by working for your firm? Make sure you have enough to tempt the best people, and you will find that the quality of candidate you appeal to goes through the roof.
As a small business owner, you face a whole bunch of different problems. One of the biggest is, without a doubt, that it can be hard to retain the best people. It costs a lot of time, money, and resource to hire them. You have to consider paying them, and training them, so they are up to speed. But, ultimately, at the first sign of a better offer, there’s a good chance they will move on to one of your competitors – unless you put a significant focus on retaining your best people.
The importance of showing stability
Running a small business is something of an unstable experience – you don’t have the guarantees on offer that large corporate companies have. But stability should be your aim, and it should help you to create an environment that attracts people and makes them feel confident about the future. A robust business plan and a sound financial footing are both essential – and it will soon become apparent to staff if you have neither in place. Without excellent planning and a solid foundation, any employee will feel their job could be, potentially, at risk – and they may start to look elsewhere.
Go big on perks
Money motivates many people in the workplace – it’s one of those unfortunate facts of life that many small businesses have to face. And that makes it incredibly tough for you to compete with the major players in your industry. But, although you might not have the same level of financial rewards to offer, there are many other options. For example, you could offer shares in your company – it can help your employees feel like they are part of the bigger picture, It also drives them to be more productive, as they have a greater stake in making your company a success. There are other options, too – flextime, or offering benefits such as gym membership with your local leisure centre. Creativity is essential, of course, and you can only offer what you can afford – but it can make a difference in your employee retention rates.
Small businesses are often guilty of failing to meet their responsibilities. It’s no surprise, really, as the startup or small business environment can often make you feel like the rules don’t count for you. But make no mistake about it; they do. You still have to follow the letter of the law and follow all the worker’s rights regulations that apply to your business. Health and safety is a huge topic – far too big to describe in this post – but you will need to tick every box that is required for your business. You also need to ensure that you are tracking people’s time correctly and paying them accordingly. An overtime worker tool might help in this situation, and help you avoid any issues with any new regulations that come into play. Finally, make sure that you have a robust disciplinary process in place. You can’t just get rid of people for no reason in the vast majority of cases, and the result could be a compensation claim. There is a right way to fire people, however, which is what we are going to take a look at now.
The firing process can be tough for everyone involved, but it’s as much a part of the business world as hiring and retaining employees. It’s important to be relaxed and calm about the process, however, as even the worst employees need to be given some respect and you have to treat them with professionalism. Not everyone will be a bad apple, There might be tumultuous events going on in their lives outside of work. They might just be struggling to get to grips with their job role, and not have the capabilities at their disposal. They might even have a long-term illness which means you have to let them go, regardless of how much you want to keep the employee on board. The one thing to remember is that as your business grows, not everyone will grow with it – and there are ways of firing people that will make the task a lot easier.
There are strict laws and regulations in place for discipline issues, which you have to follow. If you don’t, you could end up facing an unfair dismissal claim – or, perhaps, something even worse. It’s vital to make sure you have a system in place that follows those regulations, such as letting an employee know that they are underperforming in the first instance and then arranging meetings with on a regular basis to find out how they are progressing. It’s important to document everything, too, and set goals hold reviews. It’s the principled way to manage an unruly or underperforming staff member, and it makes everything clear and fair – and compliant with the law on worker’s rights. It also removes the surprise factor, giving the staff member a chance to come to terms with the firing before it occurs – and they can start looking for other jobs. And when the time comes to pull the trigger and fire them, they will have had more than enough notice of your intentions.
We hope this guide to hiring, firing, and retaining employees has helped some of you small business owners out there! Let us know how you get on!