How to recruit and retain the best people for your business
As your business grows, attracting and retaining the right people is one of the most important things any business owner can do. Your people will bring extra capacity, new ideas and personality into your business. They create the possibility for a business owner to step back from lower value add activity, to focus on what he or she does best.
If you can find the right people, your success can skyrocket. On the other side of the equation, hiring the wrong people can bring a tremendous amount of stress and cost to the situation, and it can damage your company culture.
So, how do you recruit and retain the best people for your business?
Have a strong company culture
If you think of any successful company today, one of the things that has undeniably led to its success is the company culture. Think about the innovative culture at Apple and the ethics at Innocent Drinks.
Your culture should be a consistent experience for customers and employees alike. The ideal employees to attract are the ones who are motivated to deliver the experience that you want all of your customers to have when they interact with your brand.
Be clear on what your mission is, and this will naturally attract people with the same values who are excited to contribute to the direction of the business.
Make sure the messages that you use to attract your employees are an accurate description of what working with you is like; if you over promise and under deliver you will lose them and damage your reputation in the process.
Be clear on the ‘must-dos’ in every job role, even the less glamorous aspects.
Involve multiple people in the hiring process and encourage them to be open about the highs and lows of working here.
The bread and butter of hiring
Make sure that you get the basics right. Write clear job descriptions that are engaging and honest. Screen CVs to find people with the right experience and skills, on paper, for your role.
Encourage your existing employees and partners to refer candidates to you as they will be a great judge of who will be a good culture fit; consider rewarding successful referrals to encourage a steady pipeline of these and say thank you.
During the interview process, ask for detailed scenarios of when the candidate has demonstrated the specific values you are looking for, alongside their technical skills. People can develop skills over time, but a cultural fit is either present or it’s not.
Check on references and conduct appropriate background checks for the nature of the role that they will be performing.
Once you have taken on a new team member, you will quickly spot if you made a lousy recruitment decision. Consider signing contracts that include a probationary period with a shorter notice period.
Give your talent autonomy
Lee Iacocca of Ford said, “I hire people brighter than me, and then I get out of their way.” Once you have hired the best, you need to give them enough autonomy so they can bring their full value to the business.
Make sure your managers are not afraid to hire smart people who will drive the business forward, and help your leaders to avoid micromanaging. Make sure that each manager has incentives to develop and grow their team members and that they do not feel threatened by this process.
You could also consider giving your top talent additional access to mentors or special projects that will help them to develop even faster.
Retention through the right package
We are all individuals, with different wants and needs. However, as a rule, everyone wants to feel they are fairly rewarded financially for their efforts and that they are respected and valued at work.
Larger companies often offer flexible benefit packages that enable employees to pick the options that work best for them at their life stage.
Other attractive retention mechanisms include offering flexible working arrangements and personal and professional skills development programmes.
Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group, advises that leaders should “train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.”
Think broadly about talent
Full-time employees are not the only way to attract and retain talented people. You can also consider part-time employees, contractors, freelancers and external partners, depending on the nature of your project, its length and your budget.
Think carefully about what your core business is, and therefore what you should be doing internally versus outsourcing to a company that offers that activity as its core service.
For example, you may not need to recruit a Head of Payments if you can find a payments solutions provider that can offer all the payment solutions that your business needs over time. You will experience benefits from their expertise and technology that would be costly and perhaps impossible to replicate internally. Why hire a payments fraud team when you could work with an expert payment provider such as UTP Group who are backed by the fraud prevention processes of a significant bank, and on top of this, they offer a unique extra level of daily fraud checks.
Conclusion: find the right people and treat them well
Attracting and retaining the right people is critical to the future success of your business. The companies that do it well have an influential culture, they paint a realistic picture of what working life in the company is like, and they have rigorous hiring processes to find people with the right skills and who are the right cultural fit.
Retaining the right people comes down to treating them well, and in line with the experience you want them to deliver for your customers. Invest in your managers, so they know how to develop talent without feeling threatened.
Remember, hiring is not the only option; you can also work on a project basis with freelancers or have an ongoing relationship with a trusted external provider such as a payment solutions provider or an accountant.
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