What small businesses should consider when hiring staff
A hire that goes wrong can cost you time, money and clients but a successful employee can truly benefit and help grow your business. Here’s what to consider when looking for new recruits.
Know what you need and what you can offer
Before you begin the recruitment process it’s important to have a clear understanding of the role you are hiring for – particularly if it’s a newly created one. For example, if you’re a shop owner, are you looking for an assistant manager with business experience or a weekend casual who is good with people?
Identify what skills, experience and qualifications are key to fulfilling the role and create a job description that reflects this, even if it’s brief. Don’t forget to include what makes your business unique and appealing to work for so you can convince potential employees to come and work with you.
When it comes to money do some research and see what the industry standard pay is for similar roles. Consider what you can afford to pay (alongside any other benefits you can offer) and factor this into the hiring process. Read up on the Australian Government’s pay rate requirements and National Employment Standards (NES) to better understand your obligations as an employer.
Choose the right channels
Established job sites, such as SEEK and CareerOne, general classifieds sites like Gumtree, and the local newspaper, are a great place to advertise for new staff but look beyond this. Ask your current staff and even your friends if there is anyone they know that would suit the role, talent that comes highly recommended by others is often the best way to find great people. Post the job on your business’s social media platforms, such as Facebook, and in your shop window. This may attract potential employees that are familiar with or frequent your business.
The right fit
While some candidates may tick all the boxes when it comes to academic qualifications and experience, it will help both parties if they complement and are compatible with your business culture. Ask a few questions that help you work out what type of personality they have so you can see if they will fit in. For example, if your team are sticklers for structure and processes, an employee who is seeking flexible work arrangements and a relaxed environment may not be the right fit.
The same goes for employees that may not like to muck in and help out with general tasks, which is often a big part of working within smaller businesses like hospitality or retail. Share the qualities and traits you and your team value with potential staff and explain the role these play to the business and its culture.
Are you looking for a long-term employee? If so, review the resumes of strong candidates and, during the interview, ask them questions about their work history. Get them to talk you through their jobs to date and ask them about the role you are filling. What attracted them to it? What are their expectations? What are their future aspirations? This can help you identify if they hope to grow with the company or if they will move on to the next opportunity after they gain core skills and experience, leaving you looking for someone new to spend time training and developing.
The fine print
Whether your new staff member is full-time, casual or contract, always communicate the type of employment and terms of the agreement to them in person and in writing. Probation periods and performance reviews in the early stages of employment may help provide opportunities for discussion and feedback between you and your employee. Ideally any warnings or reviews you give should be both written and verbal. Aim to keep records of any discussions relating to staff performance and employment.
Should the employment arrangement lead to a dismissal, make sure it is fair and meets the Small Business Fair Dismissal Code (for businesses that employ less than 15 people). It’s worth noting that employees (full-time, part-time or regular casuals) have to have worked with your small business for at least 12 months before they can apply for unfair dismissal.
The right person can be an asset to your business and help you grow into the future. The wrong hire can cost you time, money and a lot of heartache. Invest your time upfront and hire people who will treat you and your business the way you do – with respect, trust and plans for a bright future.
Three small business owners share their advice on how to reach new customers, expand revenue streams and build business resilience by productising services.View more
When customers want their dresses or scented candles, they want them now. Here’s how two businesses are winning at last-mile delivery.View more
Mary Read, founder of Reads in Sydney’s Woollahra, has experienced the highs and lows of Australia’s fashion retail industry up close.View more
Subscribe to the Prospa Blog
Be inspired! Sign up to Prospa’s newsletter to receive tips, tools and small business success stories straight to your inbox.