Staffing a Small Business: Overcoming Challenges

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Staffing a small business is no easy task: far more complex and personal that staffing issues that larger companies face, the owner or hiring manager at a small business has to learn now to constantly reassess the staffing issues at their company. Since small businesses face more fluctuation in their hiring needs than do most larger companies, it can be difficult to navigate the issues of staffing without spending too much time in the hiring process, or investing too much money within the process of hiring individuals. And small businesses can face larger crises should problems occur: unlike bigger companies with large and well-trained human resources departments, small businesses often must rely on a few employees with varying experience levels. With a great attention to detail and proper hiring practices it is possible to successfully overcome the challenges associated with staffing a small business.

Constantly Reassess Your Needs

Paying attention to the needs of your company is incredibly important in terms of managing the hiring and staffing procedures. No matter how much you like or value another member of your company, all hiring must be strategic for company success and growth, not simply a way to boost office morale or appease the personal politics involved in the office. Efficiency is key. Having said this, it is important to also constantly reassess the needs of the individuals you employ. Some of the biggest staffing issues come into play not because of the need to change staffing, but because of a lack of clear communication.

Consider performing weekly short surveys of your team that can be shared with the manager of your offices, to learn about the small problems that your employees are facing both from employment and personal standpoints. It might offer critical insights as to whether an increase in staff is needed to handle big issues in the office, or whether it might be best to offer training or new technology upgrades instead to allow the current employees to handle the issues that they face. Empowering and investing in current employees is far better in the long run than bringing on additional hands who have to start working for your company from scratch.

Keep it on Paper: Creating Strong Documentation and Contracts

One common mistake to avoid as a business owner and manager is to deal with things “under the table” or unofficially, instead of making sure all matters of hiring, firing, and staffing issues are clearly documented on paper. Not only does this protect you and your business, but it also ensures the safety and security of your staff as well. It is worth hiring an outside legal team – even for a short term contract to allow you to design the basics of your working contracts – in order to make sure all your documentation is clear, legal, and free of potential errors or loopholes.

Employment contracts should be full in that they clearly define matters regarding vacation time, overtime, and benefits that go alongside salary. These contracts can be changed in terms of salary, wages, and other benefits, but it is helpful to have this outlined in writing so that responsibilities, rights, and obligations are clear for all parties involved.

Taking Time: Avoiding Rushed Decisions

In the small business world, it seems that things constantly change overnight. However, constant changes in circumstances do not always necessitate immediate action. Consider the practice of getting back to staffing requests – such as vacation days, raises, and benefit changes – after a week of review or you should turn to a staffing specialist company, such as the Cognitive Group. Of course it is important to be fair to employees, and sometimes true emergencies make an immediate discussion a necessity. However, tell your staff to expect you to take the time necessary to ensure that the business stays stable and strong, and request that they submit any requirements or requests with a full week of notice whenever possible. When making these changes after time has passed, be sure that all decisions are presented in writing and not just by word of mouth.