Preparing a small business to recruit new employees

So you’re about to start the daunting task of recruiting new employees; a crucial moment for any small business. Get it right, and your business will really start to come together.

Simon Dalley: BrightHR Brand Marketing Manager

Get it wrong and you could potentially jeopardise the stability and viability of your operation. Here are some tips to help you attract, retain and get the most from your new employees.

Create a workspace employees want to work in

Technologies such as the internet and smartphones have blurred the boundaries between home-life and work-life, and consequently our perceptions of work are changing. Employees are therefore looking for workspaces which compensate for this change.

But when you’re running a small business, unless you’ve got some serious backing, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to imitate the luxurious workspaces offered by the likes of Google. But every business can offer some fun work perks that make working for them that bit more pleasurable, whether it be free tea and coffee, a table tennis table, or bean bags in a corner to create a chill out zone. Remember you’re not just offering a salary, you’re offering a lifestyle and you’re competing against other employers in the area.

Get the package right

For the first time in history employees are able to view job roles anonymously through online job boards. They understand the demand for their skillsets, they know how much they’re worth and they know what kind of workplace cultures they can anticipate working in.

Always look at what your competitors are doing: if you want an employee base that’s stable it’s important that you’re putting together a better package than your competitors. We advocate paying the market rate (or even slightly more if you can) as ultimately this helps reduce employee churn.

We also advocate a fun working culture that’s based on trusting and empowering our employees to be great at their job. By encouraging employees to love your company you’ll find it easier to attain and retain a team.

Choosing employees on attitude

It’s essential that you select your employees based on how you think they’ll perform in your business, and their attitude has a lot to do with this. You might hire people based on their experience and skillsets, however not everyone will have the exact experience for the role. As long as you choose the right person and give them the opportunity to step up this often doesn’t matter, because people will naturally upskill themselves. And what they can’t do themselves be prepared to help them develop it (via internal training or online courses, for example). For a smaller business this often means just making sure that everyone is getting their tasks done as required and mentoring them if they’re struggling.

Understand and monitor your team (but not in a creepy way!)

It’s often said that if you don’t place enough value on something to review its performance, how will your employees know that this is an important part of their role or important for the future of the business?

In the fast-paced world of running a small business, it’s really easy for work not to be monitored or for this to get overlooked. It’s your responsibility as an employer to keep on top of what your team is working on, without being overbearing and micro-managing everything they do (otherwise you might as well do it yourself) and to ensure their output aligns with your business objectives.

Although they’re important, monitoring your employees’ output doesn’t have to be about stuffy monthly and quarterly one to ones. Get everyone to stand up in the morning to go through what they’re working on each day - we find these morning huddles invaluable and ensures everyone knows what each other is working to.

Also, in the hustle and bustle of running a small business it’s not always easy keeping track of absence management, and which employees are in or out on a particular day. Absence management software such as BrightHR can help here, offering peace of mind that you won’t miss those patterns in your team’s lateness, or absenteeism. Over time can have a dramatic impact on the productivity of a business and your ability to plan.

Using professional play

Here at BrightHR we have an ethos we call It Pays to Play, which is a central theme that runs through the culture of the business. We encourage our team to have fun, to take a break from their day to day roles when they need to and use that time to reset their brain with a fun activity, whether that be table tennis, board games, playing with scooters or NERF guns. We also believe that play can be used to inspire people to 'Think Brilliant', which means thinking about things in a different way, and using ‘pirate time’ to learn new skills

Over the course of the last year we’ve carried out several surveys of business owners and employees - and working with leading industry experts such as Professor Sir Cary Cooper, Professor Adrian Furnham, Professor Rob Briner and productivity consultant Graham Allcott - to determine the benefits of using play and fun perks to increase employee engagement, maximise retention, reduce absenteeism and increase productivity.

Trusting your employees to use fun in their day to day roles and creating a culture which empowers them to feel comfortable using play takes a great deal of leadership and discipline for a business owner, however there are huge benefits for both employer and employee.

Find out more

If you need to attract, retain and get the most from your new employees to continue to grow your business check out Play and Productivity, the new report we’ve created in conjunction with productivity expert Graham Allcott and which is based on research we carried out with 2,000 UK-based business owners.