How to attract and retain superstar employees when you’re just starting out in business?

If you’re a small business owner, you’re probably already familiar with the challenges of attracting and retaining good employees.
As a startup, you don’t have a lot to offer in terms of salary, benefits and perks. But you can offer something that many other companies can’t: the opportunity to work on something that is meaningful, important and exciting — and hopefully to be part of a team that will make an impact on the world.
The challenge for most startups is that they don’t have the resources to do this properly. They don’t have enough money for training or hiring consultants who can help them create an effective hiring process. And they often don’t have time to devote themselves fully to recruiting efforts because there’s so much else going on in their business.
So how do you attract top talent when your company is just starting out? Here are some tips:

1. Define your company’s values and culture.

The secret to recruiting superstar employees is to make sure that your company’s culture and values are aligned with the qualities you want in your team.
To recruit top talent, you need to know what kind of people you are looking for. You need to be clear about the kinds of skills, experiences and personalities that will help your business thrive.
You can’t just hire anyone who is talented or who seems like they would work well with others. You need to find people who fit into your company’s culture and values — and vice versa.

Here are some tips:
Define your company’s values and culture. These should be things that are important to everyone in your organization; they should be things that help employees feel like they belong in the company, not just a job description or list of skills required for the job. 
For instance, if you value teamwork, then it’s important that team members work together well. If you value innovation and creativity, then it’s important that ideas are shared freely among employees without judgment or censorship from management. If you value transparency and honesty, then it’s important that there is an open dialogue between managers and employees at all levels of the company about challenges facing the business as well as opportunities for success.
By defining your company values, you ensure that potential employees are a cultural fit yo your business, which will pay off immensely in the long run, and result in less churn (employee turnover).
Still not sure how to define your company culture? This article from Forbes magazine might help you. 
Company culture Iceberg Representation



2. Write a job description that will attract the right person.

The best employees are a business’s greatest assets. They’re the ones who make the company run smoothly and get things done on time.
But if you want to find and hire these employees, there are steps you need to take first. Here are five tips on how to recruit superstar employees:

Write a job description that will attract the right person. A job description that is too vague will lead to candidates who don’t have the skills or experience you need. Conversely, if it’s too specific, it may deter some qualified candidates from applying in the first place.

Ask applicants for their resumes and cover letters before interviewing them in person. This gives you an idea of their writing style and shows whether they’ve taken care of all the basics (e.g., proofreading) before submitting their application materials.
Make sure everyone understands what makes this role special — and why they should care about it!
The best way to do that is by clearly communicating why this role is important to the company’s overall mission and purpose (not just its bottom line). Even if it’s an entry-level position paying minimum wage.
The wrong person can be expensive in terms of time and money, so make sure your job description clearly outlines what you want from an applicant. 
The more specific your requirements, the better chance you have of attracting applicants who meet them. For example, if you’re looking for someone with experience in a particular field and they don’t have it yet, state that this isn’t essential but would be beneficial to them over time. If they’re not willing to invest in themselves by developing new skills, then they’re unlikely to be interested in working for your company anyway!
If you need some more guidance, check out this article by, a job board and HR consulting site.
You can write your job posting in Ubuntu SBS and have it automatically published to your recruitment portal, embedded on your website, or it can be copied to your favourite social media or job board, all from inside the system.
Job description sample

3. Use employee referrals as a source of new hires.

Recruiting is a competitive process, and if you’re trying to hire superstar employees, you need to be prepared to sift through the dirt to find the diamonds. 
Getting referrals from current or past employees may ease this process a little, as they already know the culture, the work environment, the work pace and the expectations, and typically will be wary of recommending someone that may make them look bad, filtering out the really rotten tomatoes from the get-go.
Employees love to refer friends and family for jobs, but it’s not always easy to take advantage of these opportunities.
Here are some tips for making employee referrals work for your company:
Make sure your employees know how to refer people. A lot of people think they can’t refer anyone because they don’t know anyone who’s looking for a job. But you can help them find someone by making it easy for them to share their network with you.
Include employee referrals in your marketing materials. Include a link to your referral program on your website and social media pages (and make sure it works!). Encourage employees to share this link using their personal accounts. 
Make the referral process easy by having a simple online form that employees can fill out once they’ve found someone they want to refer. You’ll probably see an increase in applications as soon as you start promoting this feature!
Make sure managers are on board with employee referrals. Managers need to understand the value of referrals and how they fit into the overall hiring plan for the company. When managers support them, employees will feel more comfortable referring friends and family members — which means happier employees and more successful hires!


4. Be open to hiring people with different backgrounds and levels of experience.

The first thing you should do when hiring new employees is open up your hiring process as much as possible. 
For example, if you’re looking for someone with experience in marketing, don’t just target candidates who’ve worked at large companies like SAB or PWC. Instead, look for applicants who spent time at smaller companies like local engineering works or other small to mid-sized companies and ask them about how they helped grow their businesses, their responsibilities and deficiencies. You will sometimes find that these employees are better suited to the small business environment, as they are not as rigidly fixed to a specific job description, and typically not scared of rolling up their sleeves and jumping in.
If you want someone with experience working with certain technologies or software programs, don’t just look for people who’ve used those technologies before — ask them about how they learned them and what resources they used to learn more about topics that interest them personally. This will give you a better idea of whether they’ll enjoy working at your company long term and how long it might take before they become proficient with any new skills
Be open to hiring people with different backgrounds and levels of experience. If you’re looking for an experienced engineer, with experience in Autodesk Revit,  and only consider applicants with this background, you may be missing out on someone who’s just as capable but doesn’t have the same background or experience level. If you’re open to hiring developers with less experience but similar skills, you may find that person has other qualities that make them a better fit for your company. For example, maybe they have more energy and enthusiasm than someone who has been working in tech longer or knows more about the ins and outs of Revit, and may be able to pick up the skill easier due to exposure to similar platforms. It’s all about finding the right balance..
Be open-minded about what constitutes a “good” background or level of experience. Hiring managers often say they want employees with years of experience in their industry or specialty, but what if you could hire someone who has skills that align with your needs but doesn’t yet have years of experience? You’d still be able to train that person on the rest of what you expect from your team members — and that could in turn help you to develop an employee that perfectly aligns with your business needs.
You can delve deeper into this subject by looking at this article, by YouTeam.


5. Use an application form everyone is required to complete (including you).
The first step in recruiting superstar employees is to make sure you’re a rock star employer.

That means you need to have an employer brand — and a recruitment process — that attracts the kind of people you want to hire.

Use an application form everyone is required to complete (including you).

Make sure every candidate has a clear idea of what the job entails from day one.
If you want someone who can hit the ground running, say so up front. Don’t be afraid to ask candidates how they would approach key tasks if they were hired.
Be upfront about your culture — it’s much better for them to know what to expect before they start work than for them to find out after the fact.
Make it simple and easy to understand. Use simple language and easy-to-read fonts so that applicants aren’t overwhelmed with technical jargon or complicated instructions. Remember that this form will likely be filled out by people who may not be native English speakers or computer savvy.
Include all necessary information for the job being applied for, including education requirements, licenses/certifications required and work history related to the position being applied for. You may also want to ask for references from past employers who can verify their work experience and references from previous customers if applicable.
Create a section where applicants can describe why they would be good fits for the job and what makes them unique compared to other candidates (this can be part of their resume or cover letter).
You don’t want to hire just anyone. You want someone who’s going to be a good fit for your team, who will contribute to your company culture, who will be an asset and not a liability. And let’s face it: You want someone with all the skills you need and none of the ones you don’t.
With Ubuntu SBS you can create Application forms, that is linked to the built-in job board, the internal HR Module, and it can be embedded into your website, or a link posted to your social media pages, or other job boards. The sky is the limit.

Job application example


6. If you have time, conduct multiple interviews.

Make sure candidates know all about the job opening before they come in for an interview — including salary range and benefits packages — so they aren’t caught off guard when they get asked about money during an interview or at the point where you are ready to hire them, turn around stating that they aren’t satisfied with the salary and benefits package.
Take the time. If you have time, conduct multiple interviews. Ask different people in different departments to meet with the candidate so that they have a chance to talk about what it would be like to work together.
Don’t rush the process — it’s better to wait for the right candidate than hire someone who isn’t right for your company or team.
With Ubuntu SBS you can easily track your interview schedule, to make sure that you don’t overbook yourself.
Interview calender sample

7. Follow up with each candidate, no matter what the outcome.

Despite your best efforts, not every candidate will be a good fit. However, you can still build your business by following up with each candidate, no matter what the outcome.
Follow up with each candidate to thank them for their time and ask what they think of the position.
If they don’t get the job, this gives you an opportunity to pitch for more positions in your company. It also allows you to learn more about what they found good and bad about the interview process This can help you if you’re working on improving the interview process or building your culture.
If they do get the job, follow up with them after their first week to check in with them and express any additional support that may be needed from HR or management.
This article by Indeed gives some tips for good follow-up.
feedback puzzle pieces in a hand

8. When making a job offer, focus on the benefits of working for you.

When you’re just starting out in business, you may not have the resources to offer the same benefits and perks that larger companies can. However, if you want to attract and retain superstar employees, there are things you can do to make your company stand out.
Focus on the benefits of working for you. When making a job offer, focus on the benefits of working for your company rather than what is offered by other employers. For example, instead of saying “we offer great health insurance,” say “you’ll get to work in an office full of creative people who love what they do.”
Offer flexibility. Offer flexible schedules so employees can balance work with family obligations or other interests. Flexible schedules can also help attract job candidates who might otherwise be reluctant to relocate or take a position requiring travel or long hours.
Offer opportunities for growth and advancement. Many new businesses start off as one-person operations but grow quickly once they’ve established themselves in their market niche. If this is the case at your company, let new hires know that there is room for advancement within the organization — even if it means working outside their current job description.
Show people how their work fits into the big picture. If employees understand how their contributions contribute to the overall success of your organization, they’ll feel more invested in their jobs and take pride in their work — even if it doesn’t seem glamorous at first glance.
You can send out job offers directly from within Ubuntu SBS, and capture all the new hire’s information, ready to be converted to an employee.

9. Take the time to onboard your new hires properly, a well onboarded employee will always perform better than someone thrown into the deep end.

The onboarding process is one of the most important things that you can do for your new hires as a business owner. It’s also one of the easiest things — if you have time available, at least — to improve.
Onboarding is an ongoing process that starts from day one with a new hire and continues until they have been fully integrated into the company culture and their role within it. It’s about getting them up-to-speed on company policies and procedures, including what’s expected from them at work and how their work fits into the bigger picture of making your company successful.
It’s also about providing them with everything they need in order to start contributing right away — access accounts, equipment, training materials and more. This can be as simple as setting up email accounts or as involved as training new hires on how to do specific tasks within their department.
Make sure they understand what your company stands for and what its values are, if they don’t believe in them then neither will their customers or clients!
The fact is, it’s hard enough to hire great people in the first place, but keeping them around is even harder. If you want to build a successful business, then it’s essential that you keep your best people happy.

10. Invest in your new hire’s training and development.

One of the best ways to attract top talent is through training and development opportunities that show potential hires that you’re serious about investing in them as an employee.

Your new employee may be an outstanding performer, but there are always areas where they can improve. Take advantage of their enthusiasm by offering them opportunities to learn more about their role and how they can help your company grow.
Offer ongoing training sessions on topics such as sales techniques or customer service skills. This will help you retain top talent while also improving their performance on the job.
This can be accomplished through classroom or online classes, certification programs or conferences where new hires can network with peers who have been in their roles for several years already.
It’s also important for managers to take on some of this training themselves so that they can better understand what it takes to grow within the company over time (and be able to explain those opportunities clearly).
The best way to recruit superstar employees is to understand what they value and what motivates them, and give that to them. Luckily you can manage all of this inside Ubuntu SBS too




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