Lawrence Bossidy, the former COO of General Electric Credit, once said that he’s “convinced that nothing we do is more important than hiring and developing people. At the end of the day, you bet on people, not strategies.”
Some entrepreneurs think they can “do it all” — and when you’re just starting out, sometimes you have to do it all. But if your business is truly in a state of growth, it might be time to finally branch out and bring on some full-time or part-time assistance in the form of employees. But this process can be tedious, not just for startups, but for those organizations who currently manage a number of employees.
It can also be expensive. Even if you have the revenue or projected revenue to justify a new hire, many businesses end up taking out loans to build their companies and some financing options are more expensive than others, especially if you haven’t started building a business credit profile so you can access some of the lowest-cost financing options. (You can check your business credit data for free every month on Nav.)
Here are some best practices small business owners can use to attract and hire the best talent into their organizations. This isn’t going to be a “five steps to hiring the best talent guide,” but rather a collection of ideas, suggestions and strategies you could employ to help attract (and keep!) some of the best workforce talent in your organization.
1. Make Sure Employees Are Profitable
This is the most important aspect, in my opinion, as I believe that every employee should be profitable by at least 10X their amount of compensation. So for example, if someone is being paid $100,000 per year (which includes total compensation of salary, bonus, travel perks, amount of Social Security paid, etc.), then they need to be adding at least $1 million to the company’s annual revenue. If someone is being paid $25,000 they should bring in $250,000 in revenue. Set out these metrics upfront to make sure you are indeed getting an efficient return on investment per employee hired. If not, either look at reducing their pay scale or terminating the position altogether.
2. Farm Your Own Talent or Hire Experienced Workers?
Some companies might want to hire those who already have “X” amount of years’ experience along with the proper amount of education to back it up, so they don’t need to do a lot of on-the-job training. But this could backfire in that the experienced workers could be harder to train (due to believing they already know it all), as well as demand much higher compensation packages. An alternative is to farm your own talent, by hiring people who have the actual skills, passions, and drive to do the job, then training them based on your specifications.
3. Create Purpose With Your Job(s)
Many individuals within my generation (the millennial generation) expect “purpose” in their work, rather than just collecting a paycheck. So whatever your job opening is, try to tie it to some overall social, community or even political focus.
4. Hire People Who Already Know Your Company
People might have read about your company in an article, seen a news story or just shop at your store often throughout the week/month. They might be a fan of your product/service, your team or you as an individual business owner. That passion could carry over to being a dedicated employee on the job.
5. Create a Culture Where Employees Want to Work
This can be combined with the above idea, but let potential employees see how fun other employees are having working for the organization, through the awesome company culture that you create. Create a culture where employees look forward to work, approach the position with enthusiasm, and love what they do, rather than dreading the time when the alarm clock goes off on Monday morning and they have to “drag” themselves out of bed to come to your organization.
6. Get Referrals From Current Employees
Birds of a feather flock together, right? So if you have a team of stellar employees right now and looking to duplicate that success, why not go to that same crop of employees and see if they know people “just like themselves” to come and work in the new store you are opening?
7. Give Employees the Option of Working Remotely
Obviously, this will only apply to certain service companies, but giving employees the option of working remotely brings a lot of convenient perks to the position. This would be appealing to those who have children, for example, but also appealing across the board due to the savings in transportation costs.
8. Good Personality & Good Fit
An individual could be a good worker, but not a good fit for a particular position. You would want to make sure that anyone you hire is a good fit for the position in particular. For example, if the position is that of an outside sales rep, does this person have qualities such as an extroverted personality, ability to take rejection, calm demeanor and ability to solve problems creatively?
9. Hire Smart People
This should go without saying, but you should expect some level of intelligence, wisdom, critical thinking ability and common sense from every employee that you hire, even if they are only working on minimum wage.
10. Use Strategic Job Posting
This includes writing a job description that would make your job appear fun and interesting. In addition, you want to post the description on websites, job boards and other listings where job prospects are likely to find it. This includes places such as Indeed, Zip Recruiter, LinkedIn, GlassDoor, Monster and Career Builder, but also niche job boards that are solely for jobs in relation to your particular industry.
11. Ask Good Interview Questions
Asking candidates silly questions doesn’t really help you determine their quality as an employee, such as: “If you were an animal, what animal would you be?” You want to compile a list of interview questions that really help you determine how an employee would think and engage a particular situation. It helps you dig deeper into the mind of the employee to determine how they operate.
12. Make the Right Offer
You don’t want to pay too low nor too high, but you also don’t need the conversation to come down to solely the salary or hourly wage portion of the compensation/perks package. There are other forms of compensation and perks, such as higher benefits, more vacation time, being able to work remotely, sending candidates back to college to finish a degree, etc.
13. Have a Well-Planned Hiring Process
This includes having a strategy outlined, doing research, creating a profile of the ideal job candidate, having a short list of candidates available (if applicable), making sure all background check related procedures are ready to go, and more. Your hiring process wants to be organized, well thought out, well planned and efficient, so you can make sure you are recruiting/hiring the best candidate(s) to fulfill the role(s) available.
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