Building a strong small business team isn’t just about finding and hiring the right people for each role. It’s about relieving yourself of the responsibility of managing everything on your own all of the time. It’s also about making an investment in your company and a commitment to finding greater success.
As many small business owners have found, recruiting, hiring, and training employees is a very expensive endeavor. According to one study, the cost to replace a bad hiring decision is six to nine months’ worth of that employee’s salary.
Small businesses can’t afford that sort of loss. You’re busy. Your profit margins are super slim (if they’re even there at all when you first start out). So, you need to make smart hiring choices the first time around to build a great small business team.
25 Tips for Building the Best Small Business Team
Building a strong team isn’t about team-building activities or company perks you offer after the fact. This is something that begins the second you make the decision to fill a role in your company and continues on throughout the entire relationship you have with an employee. Here are 25 tips that will carry you through the entire hiring process for your small business team.
Recruiting the Right People
The first, and most important, step in the process of building the right team starts with recruitment. Before you even think about starting to look for the ‘right’ person, ensure that you have a very detailed job description prepared that outlines everything you will need this person to do. Once you have that, you can outline the essential skills the person needs to have to be successful.
Without knowing these two factors, you are doomed!
Once you are clear about the ‘what’ and ‘who,’ you can start looking for candidates. Here are 8 tips to get you started.
1. Don’t rush into the hiring process. Only bring people on board when it’s absolutely necessary and you’ve found the perfect candidate to fill a role. NEVER SETTLE!
2. Consider remote candidates. This is about adding the best employees to your company, not the most conveniently-based ones.
3. Consider bringing on freelancers first. This is a great way to “taste test” and get a sense of a candidates strengths and desire to work with you. It can also be a tremendous cost-savings if you are unsure of exactly what the long-term status of any position will be with the company, which often happens with new companies.
4. Talk to your network. Your network is a great place to find recommendations from people you trust. But just because someone recommends someone, don’t forego checking all of their references and skills!
5. Advertise each job. Advertising jobs on platforms where your target employees are is a great place to build a list of possible employees (i.e., social media for millennials).
6. Advertise on your website. Don’t forget to advertise the position on your website, too—especially the blog. Some of your most dedicated followers could be a great fit for your company!
7. Establish a hiring budget before you begin interviewing. You’ll need to research additional costs like taxes, insurance, and other benefits.
8. Be accurate, thorough, and transparent. Be as accurate, thorough, and transparent as possible in the job description, including all the skills you require an employee to have.
Interviewing the Best Candidates
Now that you have narrowed down your choices for candidates, it’s time to start interviewing. Here are some best practices to eas that process:
9. Be clear on job responsibilities. Remember that job description we talked about earlier, now is the time to discuss that with your candidates to ensure that they have a full understanding of what the job entails and that it’s a good fit for them.
10. Create a consistent interview process. Be prepared for every interview by following a consistent process with each candidate and writing out your questions ahead of time.
11. Do rigorous research before extending an invitation to interview. Review the resume and work samples, reference social media, and even Google them.
12. Interview only the most qualified candidates. This is yet another thing you have to add to your hectic workload so you can’t afford to waste the opportunity.
13. Only offer the job to the best candidate. Only make an offer to the best candidate, but don’t settle if you have concerns that it won’t be a good fit.
14. Don’t notify other interviewees until you have an official acceptance. That said, don’t make them wait too long before you contact them (and make sure you do contact each and everyone, even if it’s with a blanket “thank you for your time” statement).
Successfully Onboarding New Employees
Congratulations! You’ve found a great person to add to your small business team. But wait…your work is NOT done! Now comes the tough task of onboarding that employee and successfully bringing them into your culture and their new role. Here are four tips to help:
15. Create an onboarding program. Create a program for all new employees that introduce’s them to the company, the company mission, and the team’s goals.
16. Create job-specific training programs. Create a training program tailor-made for each employee and have it taught by people who have hands-on experience in the field. SOPs are a great way starting point for small businesses.
17. Set goals and keep them busy from the start. You didn’t hire them to sit around waiting for you to ramp up.
18. Provide new hires with engaging team activities that don’t take too much time away from the job. Maybe a team lunch the first week, a night of bowling the following week, etc. Just stay away from cheesy team-builder exercises everyone dreads. Let it happen organically.
Retaining Your Employees
Things are going great with your new employee, right? How are you sure? Retaining employees can be a struggle. These next tips may be the most valuable because once you’ve put all the effort to find and onboard an employee, you want to make sure they stay!
19. Don’t close the door for just this job. Empower new hires to explore other roles, expand their current one, and experiment with new and better ways to tackle old processes.
20. Be available for new employees still learning the ropes. Provide helpful, actionable, and encouraging feedback and then be sure to ask for it in return.
21. Communicate regularly. This lets employees know they matter and are top-of-mind. You can do this through daily check-ins, quarterly goal discussions, employee surveys, etc.
22. Keep your employees motivated. Motivate employees with perks they actually want. Use surveys to find out what your employees would actually like as rewards within the business.
23. Celebrate. Celebrate company, team, and individual successes.
24. Work through failures as a team. Failure doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Allow this to be a learning opportunity for the entire team.
25. Invest in business tools. Implement tools and software that streamline workflows, improve job satisfaction, and bring your employees closer together as you all work towards a shared goal.
That projection from early about the cost of losing an employee seems pretty spot-on now, doesn’t it?
As a small business owner, you know that you can’t afford to waste time or make bad decisions right now. So, do your due diligence and take your time to truly focus on building the best small business team you need to keep growing.