Hiring for small business owners is a huge step. Adding one more expense, and one that is a high responsibility to another person or family, is a step that is not taken lightly by business owners. Often there are months of deliberation, thoughts, and prayers that go into the final decision to hire a new employee. With that high level of seriousness, what steps can a business owner take to ensure they place the best person in the role that best suits them and the company? Here are 3 Steps to making sure you on the right track in hiring your next new employee.
Step 1 – Identify the Role and Clarify Duties
The first step a business owner must take is to identify the role and clarify the duties and responsibilities the person in that role will have. For many small businesses, this is difficult because they, and their employees, often take on a variety of tasks across different areas of the business. For example, an employee might be part of the HR area when they collect timecards and calculate hours worked. That same employee might also be responsible for tracking inventory and placing materials orders. IN addition, that person might also share the responsibility for answering phones and providing customer service.
Questions to ask:
- Why is another employee needed?
- What are the jobs or tasks that need to be completed by this person?
- What is the level at which this person will work?
- Will they manage other people?
- Will they be responsible for critical elements of the business, such as financial reports or HR information?
At this point, it is wise to look at the current allocation of jobs and duties in the existing structure of the business. Do any other jobs or job responsibilities need to be shifted from one position to another? If so, how?
Keep two things in mind:
- Move toward a logical pattern to responsibilities assigned to each position so that everyone in the organization does not wear the “Jack (or Jane)-of-all-trades” hat. Although it might be difficult in a small business, try to keep like duties assigned to each position. And, except in checks and balances, allow one position to complete as much of a responsibility.
- Prevent confusion and the potential for gaps and “that’s not my job” situations. You will want to be sure that all functions are covered in assigning job responsibilities. Look at the established processes and review who is responsible for every step.
Step 2 – Identify the Skills Needed for the Position
Now that you are clear on what you will be hiring someone to do, you have to decide what they need to know and bring to the position. Here you have a couple of choices and what you are looking for in a prospective candidate will be different depending on the choice you make. .
- Hire to train
In this instance, you might not be looking for a highly skilled person, but one who has the potential to move into greater skills and responsibility. In this case, you will look for the potential to learn and perform. These people will need to be trained, tested, and have progress monitored. This generally requires a lot of attention, time, and effort from you or someone else in your business.
- Hire to slot in without additional training
These people will already come with proven skills and can step into the position and perform without much more than time to familiarize themselves with the processes and perhaps the industry of your business. After an initial period of adjustment, people in this category should be able to perform without daily oversight as far as task completion.
Obviously, hiring to train requires less as far as compensation, but might not be in your best interest. Hiring a skilled employee might cost more, but provides greater relief in getting the work done quicker. Budget is always a consideration, but it the cost of the employee needs to be weighed against the ROI each will provide the business. Will you grow faster by hiring someone with the skills and do you have the time to train and monitor the progress of a less skilled person?
Step 3 – Consider the Culture and Who Will Fit into It
As a business owner, you have created a culture in your business, whether you have done so consciously or not. When hiring, you want to add personnel who fit in with the culture.
For instance, if your business is filled with people who dress in formal business attire; suits and ties, dresses; then someone who considers khakis and Hawaiian shirts or capris and t-shirts appropriate work attire might have a different view of the workplace. If your business atmosphere is light-hearted, bustling, and noisy, a quiet, serious person might be challenged to perform their best.
It’s not just appearance and personality, either. The best person for your business is one who shares the same work values, ethics, and even personal beliefs. Ask questions to get to know what candidates value and see if you get a visceral response to any of the answers you get. If so, delve deeper, because that difference might be just what creates a chasm between people after the hire.
All you have to do is look at the staffing of nonprofits to understand the importance of the culture and beliefs. Many nonprofit organizations pay much less than for-profit organizations, but often, employees stay longer and work harder simply because they have a belief in the organization and what the organization does. You want that same level of commitment and dedication to your company.
Hire for Retention and Growth
For sure one of the constants in a small business is that nothing stays the same. The business evolves and the people in the business have to evolve with it. That could mean adjustments to job responsibilities, growth into more responsible positions, or simply new opportunities that open with pursuit of new niches, products, or services. It could also mean new roles open up in the company as it grows.
With that in mind, look for people that demonstrate potential to grow in those directions. Likewise, look for candidates who bring talents and skills that can help your business grow. Sometimes those special attributes come to light after the employee has been with the company for some time. For instance, a new receptionist and phone operator might display a tremendous customer service or business development talent. She is at her best when talking with customers and prospects. That might open up an opportunity for her, and you, by putting her into a new position where she can shine doing what she does best while growing the business. It is a win-win for everyone.
When employees are allowed to do what they do best, in an environment where they are valued and appreciated, they are happy and stay. Likewise, your business benefits by their contribution.
The decision to hire new employees is always a difficult one for small business owners. Take the time to prepare and be patient to find the best candidate. Turnover is definitely more costly, and disruptive, to a business than taking the time to prepare, intensely interview, and patiently search for just the right candidate.
As a payroll provider, we hear the complaints from employers about employees who don’t fit in, or don’t show up, or don’t do the job. We see the turnover and the struggles business owners have as a result. It’s not a pretty sight, nor is it pleasant for the business owner.
As a matter of fact, it is because of that issue business owners outsource payroll to The Payroll Department. Some also find it a good reason to outsource their bookkeeping as well as payroll to us, as well. It is not just finding someone to do the job accurately and well, it is knowing that we are experts in the industry. They don’t have to worry about compliance with labor and payroll tax laws, because we will help to keep them in compliance. If you have payroll processing or bookkeeping concerns, contact Teresa Ray, the owner of The Payroll Department, at 317-852-2568. Perhaps payroll and bookkeeping aren’t the jobs you should be hiring for in your business, we can take care of it for you.
-Elaine of The Payroll Department Blog Team