At SBS Accounting & Advisors, we are big believers that hiring and retaining top talent is the heartbeat of the small business owner. You can be the smartest person in the room, and have a great product or service, but your business’ growth and success hinges on your team and its customers.
Now, more than a decade into launching and developing SBS, I can truly say that I wouldn’t be here without my team and my clients (you!). I am so blessed for everyone’s hard work, dedication, loyalty and trust. And, while it’s constantly a learning process, I’ve picked up on some strategies and advice I’d love to share with you.
There are many factors that define a successful business, and hiring and retaining top talent is at the top of the list, especially given the impact of COVID-19 and today’s competitive landscape. So, here are some of our top tips for hiring and retaining top talent.
Hiring – Get it Right the First Time
From 2010 to 2018, employees have increasingly quit their jobs each year, voluntarily, with the number in 2010 being 22 million, and a whopping 40 million in 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This illustrates the importance of making the right hiring decisions from the get-go, and while that’s obvious, there are strategies you can take to do so.
Being honest and transparent in your job interviews is very important. Sugarcoating parts of their job will only lead to confusion and frustration. Setting clear expectations from the start, and getting a pulse on the potential employee’s attitude and response to those expectations, will go a long way toward making the right hire the first time. Getting them to perform as your top talent, and retaining them for the long haul, will depend on how you handle everything after their hire.
Be seen as a Leader, not a Boss
When your team sees you as a great leader, and not their boss, they’ll be much more willing to care about your message and mission, and strive to perform at their best. But, what are the ingredients of a great leader, and what tactics and strategies can you take to become a great leader?
Here is some advice on ways to become a great leader:
Practice what you preach. As a small business owner looking to be a great leader, you must lead by example. If you expect your team to put in their time every day and be present, you must, too! If you expect your team to always be on time, and be approachable for your customers, you should do the same. Not only does this encourage team togetherness and unity, but it also shows your ever-present dedication and helps your team have faith in you. It’s truly a two-way street where you must also prove to them that you will put in the work and care for them.
Inspire and motivate. When employees feel confident enough to make decisions and perform well, the sky is the limit for your business. Make sure they know how much you care and value their time and hard work by rewarding them with a raise, paid time off, or even simple praise and reassurance. You’d be surprised how much a simple gesture of kindness can mean to your team members, which can inspire and motivate. It’s the little things in life!
Train and meet regularly. You may think that you need to hire the most intelligent or experienced people out there. At SBS, we’ve found that constantly training, and meeting on a regular basis, allows us to develop our team into high-level performers and top talent. You simply can’t expect your team to perform without the proper training – an ongoing process. And, with COVID-19 and more and more staff working remotely/virtually, meeting regularly is even more important.
Meeting regularly and providing a platform where employees feel welcome to share allows for better collaboration, communication and respect. When you do meet, get to know your staff and ask about their personal lives. When we are grinding out deadlines and growing our businesses, it’s easy to forget to show genuine interest and care in each team member. Neglecting them will distance you from the team and potentially lose them to competitors down the road.
Meet the challenges and be willing to delegate. When challenges arise, leaders must meet them head-on, turn to the One who has all wisdom, and learn from any road bumps or mistakes. One mistake is thinking you can do everything yourself. You simply can’t be everywhere at once, and do everything at once. Therefore, it’s important to delegate tasks and challenges to your team. This allows for more to get done, while also instilling confidence and trust in your staff.
Money Means Something, but it’s not Everything
There’s no doubt that income, and increased profit, is important and motivating to your team members, but it’s not everything. Things like career advancement, health care and insurance, and vacation days and paid time off are just a few examples of what staff cares about.
To retain your top talent, it’s key to discover the different pain points of each team member, and act accordingly. Perhaps, work/life balance is a pain point. When our work seems to consume our lives and takes away our time with our loved ones and living life, we tend to become discouraged and perform at a lower level.
Consider implementing staff surveys, gathering direct feedback and staying on top of industry trends to find, and iron out, what’s meaningful to your team and their pain points. Sometimes, things can seem like they’re going smoothly on the surface, but in actuality, your team members may be struggling and feeling negatively. It’s best to work these things out together so that you don’t lose them from your team.
Moving Forward – Find the Best Talent, and Don’t Let Them Go!
As small business owners, it’s no secret that hiring and retaining great team members is vital to our growth and success. But, if we don’t have the proper systems and strategies in place, we won’t accomplish this challenge.
We hope some of these tips and experiences we’ve gathered over the years resonate with you and kick-start your hiring and retention efforts moving forward. If you’d like to discuss your current situation and find solutions, or tell us what has worked for you, contact us today. We always love hearing about your personal journeys, and helping you grow and succeed!