Recruitment Tips for Small Businesses

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How to recruit employees is always an important issue for any small business that needs them. Employees are getting older and older, change professions or for one reason or another are no longer able to continue in their position. And now economists are warning that future demographic trends will contribute to a shortage of highly qualified employees - and jobs in small businesses will go begging. According to some experts, the working population is shrinking as more and more baby boomers leave the labor market and birth rates are falling.

What can a small entrepreneur looking for highly qualified employees do? Here are some tips for recruiting that will increase your chances of attracting (and retaining) the people you need.

How do you recruit employees for small businesses?

Find out what the current rate for the position is and adjust it


A common mistake small businesses make when creating a position is to base salary on their budget rather than market conditions. This only makes it more difficult to recruit staff at all, let alone attract top talent. If the starting salary for a retail salesperson in your area is usually $10 per hour, why would anyone want to take your job for $8.75 per hour?

Offer an employee stock option plan


Employees see a benefit program as a necessity rather than an advantage, and positions that offer advantages will always trump those that do not. In addition, if you want to attract highly qualified employees, your company must provide quality benefits - and that means providing at least life-long medical and dental coverage to employees. If your small business does not have an employee benefit program, talk to your insurance company about setting one up.

One of the advantages of belonging to business organizations, such as the Chamber of Commerce, is that they offer more affordable insurance, including social security programs for employees. So first check with the organizations to which you belong to see if you are getting the best possible deal so that you can pass it on to your employees. (See also: Definition of taxable benefits in Canada and employee gifts as tax deductions in Canada).

Make lifestyle part of your employee recruitment offer


Many employees are as concerned about the quality of life a job offers as they are about the amount of money it will generate. If you're lucky enough to be in an area with great skiing, beaches, extensive hiking / biking trails, excellent golf courses or other attractive facilities, make sure to play them up when hiring employees.

However, you should be careful to promote a really good work-life balance for all your employees. Not only will you create a great working environment, but your employees will also want to come to work when they are allowed time off or do not have to bring work home with them. Another benefit is that it increases productivity while reducing costs associated with absenteeism and poor work habits.

Emphasize the advantages that your small business offers


Make your company more attractive to potential employees by offering things like flexible working hours and home-working options.

Some of the more unusual benefits that some small businesses offer include the ability to bring a pet to work, babysitting and childcare services, and the ability for employees to take a power nap during the day.

Be creative with perks


As a small business you may not be able to offer the perks that large (corporate) companies can offer their employees, but you can offer a reasonable facsimile. For example, many large companies offer local health facilities, such as a fully equipped gym. Chances are that you, as a small company, will not be able to add such a facility to your premises, but you could offer your employees vouchers for use of local fitness or spa facilities.

Some companies also offer discounts for employees of neighboring facilities. Talk to your neighbors, suppliers, and retailers to learn how to implement discount programs for your employees.

Not only will you put money back into your local economy, but you will also help other small businesses in the region. And your employees will probably appreciate saving a few extra dollars.

Offer your employees a way to the top


Most employees are not looking for jobs where they will do the same for the next thirty years. They are looking for jobs that offer opportunities for advancement.

What will the job you offer promise a new employee? The chance to develop new skills? A stepping stone to a position with more responsibility? More money after a certain time on the job? Whatever it is, be sure to put future opportunities on the table when you try to hire someone.

Create an employee share ownership program


Employee incentive programs not only reward good employee performance, but give potential employees something to look forward to when they work for you.

Whether it's an annual company-paid retreat or a program where employees earn points that they can exchange for cash, employee incentive programs can increase your chances of attracting the people you want to hire.

Introduce a profit sharing program


There is no better way for employees to share in the success of a company. For companies where it looks like they are making a difference, profit-sharing programs can be a strong incentive for employees to work for you and not for someone else.

Even though it may not apply to every company, you can still find ways to let your employees share in the company's profits - and feel like a valuable part of the team. After all, your employees share in the success of your company, so why not let them share in it?

Something you should consider before trying to set up a program is who sets it up, you or someone else. Once you know that, you should design a plan, set up a trust, set up a recording system, and make sure you have a written plan that you can offer to employees.

The National Federation of Independent Business has a plan for setting up a profit-sharing scheme for small businesses, which can take the form of regular bonuses. Be sure to check with a lawyer or expert to see if there is a way to get started.

Sweeten the pot


When competition for employees is fierce, a simple old signature bonus may be what is needed to attract the highly qualified employee you want and keep them from entering the competition.

If you decide to do so, you should keep two important things in mind. The Sign-Up Bonus must be large enough to be meaningful and the Sign-Up Bonus must be conditional on a certain length of employment. Otherwise, you will be running a revolving door when people sign up, take the money and run away.

Expand the reach of your advertising


It is no longer enough to place an ad in your local newspaper. Your chances of getting the people you want are much better if you expand your ad.

For example, place ads on job sites and on campus boards of colleges/universities. Advertise in other cities or communities. Go to social media and advertise on Facebook and Twitter.

And if you have other employees, don't forget to include them in your search for employees. For example, you can offer signing bonuses to those who successfully place a new employee.

Make your employees an offer they cannot refuse


There are qualified people who can do what you need to do - you just need to recruit them for the positions your small business offers. If you develop an employee recruitment policy based on the above tips, you will have a better chance of recruiting the highly qualified people you are looking for.

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