There’s no two ways around it: hiring staff in your small business can be daunting. Regulations, health and safety, payroll and other challenges all come before you have even considered how to manage your new team member and build them into your culture.
There’s a mantra for hiring in a small business: hire slow, fire fast. As opposed to big corporations, you do not have the time, energy or resources to waste on the wrong people. Everyone on your team has to contribute to your overall vision, or it could be time for them to go.
But where possible you want to avoid firing anyone. Here are our top tips for hiring staff for your small business:
As the business owner, you are an entrepreneur- it’s in your nature. You are resourceful, a problem solver, industrious and creative. Others are not. They don’t have the same drive or ambition for your business and why would they? It’s your baby, not theirs. Do not set forth with the expectation of hiring someone with your drive. Let’s imagine you own a staffing agency. You may want a recruiting manager, but also need an administrator, custodian, blog writer and bookkeeper. In your mind, these aren’t difficult tasks, and each of them may require only a few hours a day- why not hire one person to do them all?
It’s an understandable mindset, as you want to save money and time, but it will cost you in the long run. Each job specification requires someone with a different skill set and personality type. Trying to squeeze them all into one person won’t work. Hire for the main revenue-generation task first, the recruiting manager, and then move on to the next priority position.
The old adage is “pay peanuts, get monkeys.” You cannot afford to get a monkey to lead the recruiting effort for the revenue-driving aspect of your business. Remember, this person will directly impact your customer, which can determine whether or not a source of revenue will remain ongoing. An upset customer could mean lost business if you are not meeting their needs; almost worse, your former customer could share negative reviews online and risk damaging your reputation.
If your budget is limited, you do have options to consider:
We have all experienced a situation in which we speak to a company representative who is fantastic at the task: he or she is efficient, knowledgeable and fast. But, you notice that this person has the interpersonal skills of a potato, or worse, looked miserable. Conversely, most of us will remember a time when we had to work through a difficult experience and the representative was empathetic, helpful and considered in all actions that took place. Whereas in the first example the company risks losing a customer, in the second, there was potential to create a loyal customer relationship. You cannot ask for more than a compelling positive review after a potentially negative experience has been corrected.
The primary takeaway here is that it is possible to train someone on skills, processes and systems. It’s possible to teach them how your product works, your business procedures flow and generally what the culture of your company is. On the other hand, it is difficult to impart friendliness or positivity to a person in an effort create a more customer-centric atmosphere if there is no affinity towards this. A person either has this or does not.During the interview process, consider whether the lacking skill sets can be taught, and if so, whether or not their personality offsets the needed training resources.
Once you think you have found the right person, do not feel the need to marry them right away. If possible, schedule an introductory period to determine whether it will work or not in the long run.
If he or she succeeds in the trial run, consider a fixed-term contract of six months. Having completed an introductory period, the employee should have a certain confidence to complete tasks autonomously, giving you a better idea of whether or not it is a long-term fit. It is difficult for a person to keep up a facade for nine months, potentially giving you greater insight into more of his or her qualities. If all is well, you may choose to offer a permanent contract.
A trial period is great for the team member as well. He or she can determine enjoyment of the position, confirm it meets expectations and whether or not it is his or her idea of a long-term position.
Do not settle at any point during the hiring period. The power of one poor staff member to affect your entire business cannot be overstated. If you are not happy with an aspect of performance, provide the necessary feedback and training. If things do not improve, ask yourself whether or not you feel that you could be repeating this conversation again in six months. If the answer is yes, it is perhaps time to say goodbye and try again.
TCI Business Capital is an invoice factoring company serving businesses across the United States. For more information on factoring, call (800) 707-4845 for a free, no-obligation consultation and quote.