<300 Businesses: How To Attract and Retain Better Hires

It’s a wonderful time to be a small business. We’re not kidding. This USA Today article paints a pretty rosy picture… here’s a snippet:

“this is an amazing time for small business, probably the best time ever. That is not hyperbole, that’s fact. There are a plethora of tools and apps and assistance that – if you use them – allow you to be incredibly effective and deliver top-notch quality for your clients and customers.”

These technologies have not necessarily made starting a business easier (you still need an incredible amount of money, time and sacrifice to do that) but they have helped small businesses expand their reach and ability to provide best-in-class customer service. Yet, there are several challenges that remain ubiquitous and constant for nearly every small business, especially those with less than 300 employees. Some of them include:

*Attracting top talent

*Retaining hires that don’t jump ship for something bigger or better

*Offering competitive salaries or other bennies

*Motivating seasonal or temp employees

*Fear of failing

So what can you do about it? Let’s be frank. It starts at the top, with you, the boss, the owner. Yes, we know you already shoulder a ton of responsibility (fiscal, operational, promotional) but your business won’t survive without a clear definition of who your business is, what your culture is, and what your process is to achieve your goals (daily, short term, and long run). We’re not saying you have to have all your ducks in a row RIGHT NOW, but yeah, you need to have all your ducks in a row if you want to stay in business.

If this is the first time you’re hearing about defining your company culture, click here. We’ve got a stellar roundup of posts on ActiveCare about company culture for you to cruise and get a better sense of what we’re talking about.

If you haven’t given much thought to your candidate experience, or don’t quite understand what that term means, check out this post called Hire Smarter! How to Create and Define Your Candidate Experience. (Hint: It’s about recruiting, hiring and helping your new people learn the ropes)

With so much to choose from, let’s talk about talent. You need employees to help run your business and with less than 300 employees, EVERY SINGLE ONE needs to be awesome. You don’t have time or money to deal with hiring mistakes, heavy turnover, or morale-munching Naegleria fowleri.

The first thing you need to establish is a protocol for attracting and recruiting talent. Do you want to post a help-wanted flyer and grab anyone off the street or do you want to craft creative and thorough job descriptions that entice go-getters to join your team? We’re guessing the latter. In that case, follow these tips we first mentioned at the start of the year:

“As The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post have pointed out, companies are attracting plenty of smartphone lookers to their job post boards but they can’t seem to find a way to let those job seekers dial into the application process. Potential candidates grow frustrated at the lack of immediacy, or in the choppy navigation process, then forget the position even exists. The two worlds – recruitment and hiring – need to be complementary (at the least) and symbiotic (at the most).

Companies interested in investing in mobile HR should follow the lead of these three companies.

 Ideally, a mobile job application portal will have some of these qualities:

  • Top-notch design. No pinching. No zooming. It should be easy to read and most importantly, easy to navigate.
  • Tighten up the info-process. Use auto-fill. Use geolocation capability. Find out what really matters to you for the hiring process and put it on the mobile application. Save the rest for follow up.”

Your next step is vital. Is this person who they say they are? Do they have the credentials they claim they do? Are they as honest and forthright as they seem in the interview? Or, do they have a checkered past and/or red flags that make you uneasy?

How do you learn all of these things? A background check. No one wants a bad hire. But if you’re a small business with less than 300 employees, you simply cannot afford a bad hire.

The (liberal leaning) Center for American Progress reports that the average cost of replacing an employee who earns less than $50k per year is 20% of the person’s annual salary. Folks who earn less than $30k per year cost 16% to replace.”

With Active Screening’s comprehensive nationwide criminal background checks as low as $12 per person, there’s no reason you shouldn’t commit to this hiring step. It will save you money in the end.

Finally, the last thing you need to do is develop an on-boarding strategy. This essentially boils down to:

*how will you train this person

*who will supervise them through the process

*what metrics will you use to judge their efficacy

*how will you support them if they stumble

*what will you trigger your decision to let them fly on their own

Your on-boarding strategy will help you keep turnover low, which means more money in your pocket and more motivating options at your disposal for your employees.

What are your small business hiring strategies? We’ll be exploring this topic all week and we’d love to feature your input. Leave us a comment below!

This entry was posted in Background Screening, General, Human Resources, Industry Solutions, References & Credentialing, Seasonal and tagged , , , , , , , , by Patricia Carlson. Bookmark the permalink.

Patricia Carlson is a content writer who specializes in B2C and B2B inbound marketing. She blogs regularly for clients about the background screening and finance industries, and generates newsletters, white papers and email campaigns for a variety of businesses. Patricia also produces a heavy rotation of editorial material for home design, law enforcement, and family magazines. She’s been writing professionally for more than a dozen years, and for Active Screening for more than two of those. Check out LinkedIn for a roster of Patricia's clients and links to published works. When she’s not interviewing sources or researching trends, she’s living a fast-paced Florida life questioning the antics of her two young children, partner and mischievous cat. Patricia loves to talk tennis and TV on Twitter - give her a shout @pattycfreelance.
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