How to hire and retain great employees

A 3-minute read

When it comes to challenges being faced by small and medium-sized businesses, the hiring and retention of great employees is one of the biggest. According to feedback from a business summit held in the U.S. in 2018, a staggering 70% of attendees reported having a hard time finding and keeping good employees. Sound familiar?

The inability to find and retain the right people can prevent a good business from competing and growing.

So, why is this happening?

The most commonly cited reasons include a severe shortage of skilled people, a shift from a Baby Boomer’s work approach to a Millennial’s mindset, and technology advancing so quickly that it is outstripping the reasonable capabilities of “run of the mill” employees. If this is all sounding familiar, you’re not alone.

The job market is changing. To stay competitive, you need to examine your current way of hiring and retaining people to make sure you can compete for the people who are right for your business.

Keys to success

So, with limited resources, what can a contracting business like yours do to compete for great employees? The good news is, there are a number of things. The even better news is, they won’t break the bank. Here are some ideas worth considering:

1 Consider your business image
Make your company a place where people want to work … a place where employees are eager to tell their friends they work. The job market is changing and people looking for work now have choices. Make them choose your company by creating an attractive work environment. Flex hours, staff events and a more relaxed environment are just a few ways to convey this. Look at other company job ads, inside and outside this sector, to see what others are doing.

2 Have a clear company business mission
Having a clear vision for the company can help foster employee loyalty and attract potential employees. The mission statement should explain where the company is going, and how important employees are to its long-term growth and success of the company.

When developing your mission, find out why your current employees like working for you and use that information when developing that statement piece.

Also aim to work with your employees to create a company “culture” where employees are important parts of the business. Get their feedback. Get their ideas. And thank them for being part of running the business. Reinforce this every day and in every communication with employees and customers.

One key thing to remember though; to be effective, the company has to live the cultural principals, from the owner through to the receptionist.

3 Provide paths for growth and advancement
If opportunities for advancement are not evident and are not promoted by the company, you are reducing your chances of attracting high calibre people.

Take the time to develop clear career development paths and make them known to everyone, both current and potential employees. This is an easy way to boost morale and productivity, as well as assist with hiring new employees.

4 It’s not just about compensation
Attraction to a particular job can come down to the benefits offered by a given company. More so than ever, this is a very competitive concern faced by both large and small companies.

Benefits are a very visual indicator of how much you care about the people you employ, and they are not limited to health plans. Look into what your competitors are offering, and get creative with incentive programs, flexible work schedules, fun team-building events and even the occasional “freebie” for the staff.

5 Recruitment and retention are ongoing processes
Contracting businesses need a defined process for recruiting, and a strategy for employee retention.

It will take an ongoing effort, but it is worth taking the time to:

  • Formalize job descriptions;
  • Stay informed of current compensation ranges; what are others paying?
  • Adapt how you connect with potential hires; ask employees where their friends look for work and go there to scout out your next great hire;
  • Don’t forget to showcase your company’s culture and benefits when advertising job openings;
  • Filter candidates to find the best fit;
  • Set up a formal evaluation and hiring process for new recruits (Tip: google “onboarding new employees”); and
  • As outlined above, develop an ongoing employee retention strategy; train all management staff in its use and make sure they use it.