Entrepreneurs Should Consider 3 Things When Hiring Their 1st Employee
Hiring your first employee marks an exciting step in the growth of your company. Savvy business owners recognize that building a successful team requires a commitment to keeping people engaged and satisfied. Beyond the job description, here are three things small business owners should consider when hiring their first employee.
The Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) defines workplace culture as, "the shared beliefs and values" which are established by the leader and continuously communicated and reinforced. To understand why workplace culture is essential, consider SHRM's annual survey of employee satisfaction and engagement. Each year, the report reflects people's general attitudes about their jobs, what matters to their willingness to stay with their current employer. Employees surveyed by SHRM reported that the most important factor to their job satisfaction was respectful treatment employees - even over compensation and benefits. When you're a team of one, it might be difficult to imagine where to start establishing a culture for other people. Creating a positive workplace culture includes:
● Establishing and communicating your businesses values so that new employees can decide if they buy into them. Right now, you might be working alone, but that doesn't mean your company shouldn't have communicated values and beliefs. Take time to think about what your company stands for and how you want customers and potential employees to feel about your business. Write those values down and make sure they take center stage in your workplace culture.
● Fostering employee engagement. It's up to you to make sure your employees are engaged. Take time to train sufficiently, make sure the workload is manageable, provide feedback, and acknowledge when people perform positively for your company.
● Creating empowered employees who enjoy the freedom to make decisions. Expansion signals business growth, and trying to hang onto every aspect of decision-making won't allow your company to flourish. Give clear directions and casting the vision for your employees, but allowing them to figure out exactly how to get there and resisting the urge to micromanage.
Investing in employee professional development is another crucial aspect of building a team. The relationship between employers and their employees shouldn't exist as one-sided. Today, more than ever, people expect companies to offer professional development opportunities; otherwise, they'll go elsewhere. As a small business owner, you want to hire people who love to learn and apply new knowledge to help your company. There are plenty of ways a small business can facilitate professional opportunities without having a large budget. Start by:
● Understanding your employees' strengths and weaknesses, then collaborate with them on a plan to shore up those areas that need attention.
● Look for low-cost ways to help your employees learn. Offer to pay for an online workshop or a community college adult enrichment course. Places like your local small business administration might also offer development workshops for free.
● Encourage them to participate in civic groups that focus on professional development, and offer to pay for their membership if there's a cost. Young professionals groups often include monthly meetings where development topics are covered, and expert speakers give excellent tips.
● Help them learn while on the job by giving them the chance to take on new challenges, work in a new department or perform a new task. They may discover a new passion and take time on their own to develop it while your company benefits.
Don't forget your own professional development, especially in the area of leadership. As an employer, you must understand the aspects of leadership that will inspire the best performance from your team. Start now by learning the best practices of business leaders, things like:
● Effective delegation
● Goal setting
● Building trust
● Listening and asking questions
● Supporting people through challenges without blaming them.
If you're not quite ready to make your first hire, you can still plan by learning what's needed to lead a successful team - for your business and your employees' future.
Written by: Peggy Barron
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