To reach its full potential every small business must find ways to beat the competition by being better at something that adds value to the customers.
One sure fire way to accomplish this is having the ability to find and retain great employees. This is easier said than done. Think of all the competition for workers facing today’s small business owners.
First, there is Corporate America. Even with all the recent news about corporate layoffs, large national firms are still considered the gold standard for individuals looking to land a job, especially college graduates. Big companies generally have a stronger compensation plan that comes with a variety of employee benefits like retirement, vacation, sick leave, and insurance. The vast majority of small businesses in Idaho are simply unable to compete in this regard. We also have people joining the military and going back to college. Phone centers that employ hundreds of people are popping up all across the country and the big box stores gobble up workers left and right.
So, how do you find people to work in your business? The oldest and most effective technique is through networking. Every relative, friend, neighbor, old high school buddy, club member, and people that attend your church need to be aware of your job openings. And then have them tell everyone they know. By using this approach, I rarely found the need to advertise a job opening in my business.
Another way to approach your staffing needs is through headhunting. When you come across a sharp, personable, energetic, customer service savvy individual working in another store strike up a conversation and see where it leads. This sounds subversive and predatory, but it happens every day. If the employee responds to your overtures it merely indicates the relationship with their current employer is lacking in some way. If not, their current employer is obviously satisfying their employment needs. I have another trick to replace the great employee that has just given you two weeks notice. Have them go out and find their replacement. I used to do this all the time in my business with amazing results. If you as an employer have been honest, fair, encouraging, and caring with your workers, they will jump at the chance to help you fill their position. Think about it. They know the job, the customers, the working conditions, and how you manage. Their personal recommendation of your business as a great place to work is invaluable. No discussion about how to find employees would be complete without mentioning the services offered by the Idaho Department of Labor. There are twenty-five offices around the state, and you will be amazed at what they can offer an employer. They know about interviewing, employee applications, reference checking, creating an employee manual, state labor laws, required posters, and Unemployment Insurance. The offices have consultants that will sit down with you to discuss your staffing needs. They can assist you by taking applications, testing applicants, and providing you with a place to conduct your interviews.
So don’t settle for average employees. There are great workers out there. When you are lucky enough to find them count your blessings and try like crazy to keep them.