Hiring the right help can be one of the hardest things for any small business owner.
You need to find people who will work harder for your business and with more heart than they would at a corporate job – and with less cushy stability. But at the same time, you are offering them a chance to make good money while making a difference in the small company, along with having direct input in the growth of their career.
At times, managing teams can feel a little Glengarry Glen Ross coming down on performance management; other times it can feel like Rudy being carried across the field. A lot can soar or suffer based on the team you have. Your time can be spent dealing with HR issues or dealing with running your business. And the fact of the matter is, you have to figure out a way to deal with it because people are what makes the world go ‘round.
One of the best things you can do is to try to identify people with the same values. I always say I can teach someone how to curl hair but I can’t teach them how to be a good person. It’s about integrity, about doing the right thing whether you’re being watched or not. It’s easy to illustrate that thought with a notion from the wedding industry: there’s a napkin laying on the floor and there are certain types of people who will pick it up, and certain types of people who will look at it and walk on by.
I’m only really interested in the people who would pick up the napkin. Because at the end of the day, what we do is 90% customer service and 10% delivering services. Doing great makeup, hairstyling, and/or photography is a given – talent cannot be skimped on. I’m saying that how people are treated and what their experience was while receiving their services is what makes all the difference to whether or not it was of value. And every single person who represents you and your brand is doing so through their actions and attitudes.
In small business, we really need to avoid sinking costs into training and onboarding, especially if it involves skilling up and not simply going through the employee handbook about your model of policies and procedures. It can be devastating to invest in the wrong-fit people. You need people who can do their jobs accurately and efficiently while being a positive team player.
Think about creative ways to go through the interview process to make sure the candidate’s values and goals align with yours. Have benchmarks, check-ins, and probation periods where you are able to see if they are a good fit before making major commitments to one another. Follow your gut. But remember – if the person is truly the right fit, give them no reason to leave. The keys are generosity in compensation, flexibility, and genuinely caring about them.