Perfect Employees: How To Find Them and How To Keep Them

When you’re starting your own business, having the right team behind you is everything. Most of us go into business with trusted colleagues from a previous job, like minded entrepreneurs or lifelong friends with complementary skills. We go into business with people whom we know and trust because we’ve seen first hand that they have what it takes to help our business develop and flourish. In those early days we can count on their skills, determination, resourcefulness and dedication. But when all that hard work and endeavour start to pay off and your business expands, what happens when you need to start casting that net a little wider? When your business grows beyond your core team’s ability to fully control then it’s time to start recruiting. The trouble lies in finding the right employees. Even though your business has expanded you’re still in a position of vulnerability and the wrong hire can at best impede your growth and at worst send the whole business tumbling to the ground like a house of cards. The trick, then lies in recruiting the right people so that you can operate with the peace of mind that comes with knowing that your business is in safe hands. After all, how can anyone operate at their best when they’re worrying about their workforce? You also need to ensure that you retain their talents to ameliorate the risk of losing these talented individuals to your competitors. This can be a daunting prospect to an entrepreneur, especially if you’ve no familiarity with the recruitment process. 

Outsourcing your recruitment
While the personal touch certainly has its place, there’s a lot to be said for outsourcing to a human resource recruitment agency. In a fast-paced global job market where the conditions are in a constant state of flux, can you afford to take your hands off the wheel for long enough to find the right candidate? Many businesses find that outsourcing their recruitment leads to reduced costs, keeping staff turnover manageable and allowing them to focus on their business core processes. Important factors when considering outsourcing your recruitment include: Reduced costs- As any entrepreneur knows, prudent investment in key areas is the key to making long term processes. Just as buying a new piece of equipment can reduce costs in the long run by improving productivity, so too can outsourcing your recruitment lead to reduction in costs. Money is saved from recruitment advertising, venue hire and candidate background screening. These costs are borne by the agency and you pay a simple up-front fee. This usually results in a market reduction of cost-per-hire and time-per-hire, which leads us to: Lack of impact on productivity- Recruiting (especially in high volumes), can devour the time and resources entrepreneurs and employees who do not necessarily have a recruitment background. This can have a detrimental effect on productivity, that has a knock on effect on key areas of your business, potentially leading to missed deadlines and quotas. Greater effectiveness- Most entrepreneurs want to get a ‘feel’ for their candidate in order to start to form a personal relationship with them. While this is admirable, it may not be the most efficient solution in a fast-paced global job market with an ongoing skills shortage. While entrepreneurs are ideally placed to identify areas in which their business can be strengthened with the right personnel, they may not necessarily be able to perceive the right traits, knowledge and experience to facilitate this in their candidates. Gaining a competitive advantage- As a small-to-medium sized enterprise, you may find yourself in direct competition with international titans who are far better funded and resourced. Outsourcing your recruitment speeds up the recruitment process to enable you to compete with the bigger players in your field. 

Whether you recruit new employees yourself or through an external agency, a good onboarding process is vital to getting new employees as productive as possible as quickly as possible. An effective onboarding process leads to better integration as employees not only feel empowered and equipped to do their job well, but to feel like a valued and integral part of the team. This leads to improved retention and productivity and thus, increased turnover. Some useful onboarding tips include: Announcement- Announce your new hire to the team or organisation via a circular email or even tell the world via social media! Preparation in advance- Ensure that your new starter has all their induction paperwork filled out in advance so that they can get stuck into their work on their first day.
Demystify- New employees often enter a workplace to find it an incomprehensible hub of jargon, in-jokes and foreign processes. Try to familiarize them with as much as possible through literature and materials (however informal). Cover all bases- Make sure that your new starter knows everything they need to know; from whom they report to, to where the restrooms and coffee machine are. New starters will want to make the best possible first impression and can easily get frustrated by sweating the small stuff. Openness and transparency- Try not to cast yourself in the role of ‘scary new boss’. Sure, you may enjoy your newfound mystique but it may come at the risk of alienating your new starter, causing them to jump ship. Make sure that they know everything they need to know about you and how to work with you harmoniously.

As new starters grow in their knowledge and experience, it’s important to keep them motivated and incentivized in order to retain them in the long term. The best ways to keep employees is to actively demonstrate how valued they are. This can be done in any way you like from allowing your employees to leave half an hour early to pick kids up from school to simply congratulating them on a job well done. Investing in their training is also important as it demonstrates that you have a longstanding commitment to them and their development, and that you actively want to see them improve. Of course this is most effective when combined with clear opportunities for promotion and career progression. Team building events are also an invaluable tool for strengthening personal and professional relationships among your team. As well as being fun and engaging, they also enhance the team’s creative problem solving skills, by pooling their individual knowledge and talents.

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