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Finding and Keeping Good Employees
By Bill Willard

The Issue: You’ve always wanted your own business, and now you have it. Your business has a name, you have products, a location, a business plan, and (we hope) customers lining up—out front or online. What’s missing? Employees! The question of the week: How to find the right employees, and make sure the best ones stay on board?

What I Think: For starters, understand that among a business owner’s tools of the trade are recruiting, selection, training and supervision — and they’re all different parts of the same process. When you’re recruiting, you’re looking for people who fit your job requirements. When you’re selecting, job candidates are selling you on their qualifications. The better you are at recruiting and selection, the easier training and supervising new employees will be. Here are some tips for the doing the right things the right way.

  • Be able to share your company’s vision and mission. That is, its reason for being and what you’re trying to accomplish.
  • Look for people who will balance your strengths and weaknesses. If you’re a technical or creative wizard, but are clueless about organization, you need someone who can introduce some order to the proceedings.
  • Find out what candidates are looking for. Most will (or should) want more than a paycheck and employee benefits. If you’re offering things like good working conditions, rewards for accomplishments, the ability to buy into the business (figuratively or literally), and advancement potential, you and job candidates may be on the same page.
  • Don’t try changing people. Job candidates should bring good work histories, plenty of references, job knowledge and the ability to hit the ground running or to be quickly trained. Trying to change someone’s attitudes, attributes or work style is a non-starter. It can’t be done, so why try?
  • If you already have good employees and need more, ask for their help. Good employees should be able to find other talented people just like them, and if they do, be prepared to reward their efforts.
  • If your growth plans are more ambitious, consider contracting an outside recruiter. While classified and online ads, business networking and job fairs can also be effective, the key may be finding a recruiter who knows your industry and has plenty of contacts.
  • Consider independent contractors for short-term or seasonal jobs. Using someone who is paid by the job can be highly cost-effective, eliminating hiring costs and fringe benefits—especially if their job skills are not needed year around.
  • Keep your employees informed. Use regularly scheduled meetings and other forms of communication to raise key business issues—positive and negative. Ask employees for their feedback. Encouraging them to share and discuss ideas as well as complaints is good for morale and productivity.

And while you’re at it, don’t forget you need to keep your customers informed and happy, too! The more they know about you and your company, the more customers will appreciate doing business with you. Try regular email and telephone communications, and make good use of your business Website to keep a steady flow of information going out the people who want to know it.

What Do You Think? Your comments are welcome. Have you registered?
Bill Willard is a freelance writer in Clearwater FL. He has been a high-impact writer and editor for over 30 years. In addition to his byline pieces, Bill’s beat includes ghostwriting and editing for businesses of all types and sizes, professional practitioners and individuals, and is a Contributing Author. Visit his Website:
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2 Comment(s)

  1. Bill Sheridan | Jun 11, 2008 | Reply

    Good solid info, WW. Methinks that there are very few decisions made by an employer bigger than their choice of employees! You make an excellent case for getting the right people on the bus and in the right seats (as I steal from ‘Good to Great’). Keep challenging entrepreneurs to handle their business in a professional manner.

  2. JC | Jun 14, 2008 | Reply

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