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For a small business owner, building a team and taking on new staff is a rite of passage in terms of growing your business. As you celebrate this important milestone, you should take care not to make light of this process and to give it plenty of careful consideration. Hiring your first batch of employees is one of the biggest investments that you will make for your business. It is also one of the biggest risks, especially for small companies which have a more modest budget. For this reason, it is important that if you own a small business, you take extra care and precautions when it comes recruiting your first employees.

 

In every business, every single employee has a role to play. However, when it comes to a small business or startup, the role that those first few staff members play is even more crucial, and you cannot afford to have members of the team who are not pulling their weight or adding value to the company. The problem is, getting rid of employees who are not working optimally can be difficult, as quite rightly, employees have laws to protect them from unfair dismissal cases. Sacking an employee can sometimes be more costly and time-consuming than keeping them on, putting you in a bit of an awkward position. The way to solve this is by not recruiting anything but the best team to begin with. 

 

But how do you know if they are the best team for your company, and how do you choose? That is what we are going to explore in this article.

 

Think about your need for staffing

 

“When you’re in a startup, the first ten people will determine whether the company succeeds or not. Each is 10 percent of the company. So why wouldn’t you take as much time as necessary to find all the A players? If three were not so great, why would you want a company where 30 percent of your people are not so great? A small company depends on great people much more than a big company does.”

Steve Jobs

 

When it comes to making choices about your first batch of in-house employees, remote workers and any third parties to whom you may intend outsourcing to, you need to make some smart choices as a small business owner.

 

The first thing that you need to think about is the roles that need filling first and explicitly plan out the tasks and responsibilities that these require. You may find initially that with your budget being low, you have to forego having some of the more excessive roles, such as executives and managers, and focus on the ones that will enable you to grow your business. Sometimes, this means condensing many parts into one more comprehensive and cohesive position, Your marketing and design team are important if you can stretch to them, so do your research into how to build a strong design team to get the most out of your staff.

 

You also need to consider your hiring options. In years gone by, your entire team would be in-house and work from the office at all times, but technology has given us other alternatives. This includes remote working or outsourcing to third parties such as freelancers or agencies, which can save you a significant amount of money in terms of wages and recruitment costs.

What are you looking for?

If you can hire people whose passion intersects with the job, they won’t require any supervision at all. They will manage themselves better than anyone could ever manage them. Their fire comes from within, not from without. Their motivation is internal, not external.”

Stephen Covey

 

You want the best of the best. How do you find them? Well, once you know what positions you have to be filled, how you want them to work and what responsibilities you want them to have, you will have a better idea when it comes to your recruitment process. 

 

It can be tempting to dive straight in and go for applicants with years and years of experience in the field, especially if they have worked with some big brand names. However, before you automatically start looking through their resumes, consider whether this will be the right approach for your business.

 

If they are used to working in big corporate brands or have lots of experience, they may be more rigid in terms of what they can or want to do. They may be used to fulfilling a very specific role and are stick in their ways of doing it. As a small business, you may need someone who can wear different hats, take on different roles as and when necessary and be more flexible in general. 

Where do you look to hire your new team?

You have lots of options when it comes to where to look to recruit new members of staff. If you want to go down the traditional route, you can advertise in papers and magazines, especially if they are industry-specific ones. Of course, the internet also widens the reach – there are plenty of job boards and websites to advertise your vacancy. 

 

However, one of the best ways to recruit staff is through networking. Ask business affiliates, partners, friends and family if they know of anyone. This way, you may find someone who you already have links to and know is trustworthy, almost like a preliminary screening stage. This saves you money in advertising costs and time in sifting through application after application, many of which will be irrelevant. By looking at resumes from the right places, you will quickly find the ones that will be best suited to working for you.

Take them on a probationary basis

Once you have found the right person or people, it is time to welcome them on to your team. However, remember that if they are not quite right for your team, you may find it difficult to let them go without good reason or paying a severance fee. Consider taking them on for a probationary period, of perhaps three to six months, with regular reviews and appraisals. These reviews give both you and them the opportunity to address any problems that may arise and put a plan of action into place for dealing with them. If at the end of the probationary period there are any issues from either side that cannot be resolved – perhaps a clash of personality or working styles – you can let them fo without any legal comeback.

Ask for feedback

We expect to be giving our employees regular feedback, but the feedback that they can provide us with can be incredibly helpful. Make sure that you keep the lines of communication open with potential and actual employees and make feedback a permanent part of your recruitment process.

This should not be used as a mere tick-box exercise, but something that you can use to inform, review and consolidate your recruitment strategy. You can leverage this data to make informed choices and decisions as your business and your staff grows.

 

To find and retain talent and make sure that you have the very best team to lead your business into the next stage of its development, you need a concise, transparent recruitment process that is fair for employees and time and cost-effective for you as an employee. These tips will enable you to make a start on picking the right team for your business, so you can focus on growing your business and making it the success that you dreamed of. 

 

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