Best practices in hiring great employees for small businesses

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Hiring great employees is the key to success in business

A business’s life force is its employees. For a small business to grow quickly and efficiently, it needs to be good at hiring great employees. They need dedicated and hardworking people, who are not only good at their job but have a genuine interest in the company’s success.

The trick to success is attracting top talent, training them and keeping them loyal.

But in a tight labor market, combing through thousands of applicants and finding the right match is not easy. Prospective employees have much more negotiating power, which has pulled major companies to respond by being more creative in recruiting and the way they organize their workforce.

Good help is hard to find

There are multiple reasons as to why companies still struggle to find good talent in a sea of unemployed, qualified individuals. For starters, birth rates have significantly dropped, and a significant portion of the baby boomer generation is starting to retire, leaving a lot of vacant positions with not enough skilled workers to replace them.
Companies are responding by changing conventional ways of finding talent. Historically companies screened people with 10-20 years of experience for a certain position before hiring them. But now projections show that people switch careers multiple times; 5-7 career changes within the working span of an adult.

Searching for new hires means narrowing down what skill set you require for the vacant position, and being creative about where you might find them. The job market is changing much too quickly for you to find a person with ten years of experience under the exact title you’re looking for, and doing what you expect them to do. You’d have better chances of finding good talent if you remove old-fashioned paradigms around recruiting.

Changing of the Corporate Ladder

Originally there was a “corporate ladder” where you’d start at one company and take the time to work your way up, and eventually hoped to achieve a management position at the top of the ladder. Once you’d secured a manager position after years of dedication and work, your journey to rise ends and you’re done.

There was also a dual corporate (or career) ladder for people not interested in management. In that the ambitious aim to be the top person for what kind of work they do, like the top technician in manufacturing, IT or any other industry.

But what we see now is a career matrix. People want to go up, down, and even sideways, depending on where they are in their life and career. The workforce nowadays is demanding much more flexibility in their careers. Companies that want to attract and retain the best talent have no other choice than to be flexible.

Hiring great employees by successful firms

Millennials now lead as the largest generation constituting the US labor force, holding fresh and promising talent. But with their abilities come their demands of flexibility in telecommunicating, work-life balance, etc.

Modern organizations have responded by adopting “mass career customization” for hiring great employees – company job boards are filled with a set of skills they need in the organization, but which is crafted around the job and the employee’s interests (keeping in mind that interests evolve).

A 23-year old, for example, will have a whole set of needs to maintain work-personal balance at that stage in their life, but when they get to their thirties, their interests may change to buying a house and being more responsible. Jobs crafted for a person need to change as the person changes. It’s a lot more work for employers, but the results pay off.

How small businesses can attract talent

In a shortage of good talent, big companies attract and retain the best of them with packages that smaller businesses cannot compete with. While they can’t offer more money and benefits, smaller businesses can customize the job around the person. In a time where employees value flexibility over compensation, that’s quite an incentive.

They can also manage people around their top performers – in other words: have a lack of tolerance for those who simply don’t care. Some organizations amplify this rule in their interview process and make an effort to keep the workplace peaceful and agreeable. Often, employees will quit their jobs if they have to work with someone difficult and makes them miserable. People like to work with friends. The more the work environment can seem as though you are going to work with a group of friends, the more likely an employee is to stay. Talent management has shifted from finding people who can do the job regardless of their behavior, to someone who has great people skills and gets along with others while doing their job.

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