Retail sales are up for the first time since the beginning of the year. This is definitely good news, but are you ready? So many small business owners have had to downsize operations during the Recession, letting go of valued positions and employees. Finally seeing a brighter future, it may be time to review of your current employees and plan for growth, including adding new employees to the team.
With a large pool of applicants, it seems like it should be easy to cherry pick the perfect employee, but if you are not looking at your business as a team you may not make the best choice. Take stock of the employees you already have, assessing their strength and weaknesses. Be sure to include yourself in the evaluation of employee strengths and weaknesses because surrounding yourself with people that fill in where your own expertise is lacking can help make your business stronger.
After evaluating your current team, don’t be afraid to make changes at an organizational level. Small business staff often grow as a result of immediate need, and job descriptions and organizational charts can get complicated. If you are having your administrative assistant mange your email campaigns, and your sales representative managing social media, perhaps it’s time to hire a marketing manager instead of another sales person. This is especially important when you have current employees working in an area where they have little experience or have no interest in.
Taking a step back before hiring and establishing clear roles and responsibilities will make hiring a new team member more successful on the long run, assuring you have hired a competent person for a role that is clearly needed.
If you find that you have several positions to fill, focus on your higher level hires first. Your managers are a key role to your success, and an asset when hiring lower level positions. Often team leaders have a distinct management style and will gravitate towards hiring people they know they can work well with. Their input will help you assemble a team that works well together, and avoid hiring competent but incompatible employees.
When searching for the right people, don’t be afraid to headhunt. With the advent of social media, you can effectively recruit the right kind of employee using posts on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. You may be surprised at how many applicants you can attract by simply getting the word out there using the channels you already employ. With LinkedIn, you can also reach out to people with proven track records in your industry and garner referrals of potential employees, alleviating the need to wade through thousands of resumes from complete strangers.
Even if you are not quite ready to expand, doing the legwork before the immediate need arises will help prepare to hire the perfect candidates. Shifting your focus from an individual hire to a team hire will plug the holes that can be so detrimental to small businesses.
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