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How to recruit and retain the best staff

The performance of your staff is vital to the growth of your company. Good employees will support and underpin your success, so it pays to employ the right staff for the right jobs and retain the talent that you already have - saving you time and money in recruitment.

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Keeping current employees

Retaining talent can be a serious problem for many small businesses that may not be able to offer the same training budgets and development opportunities of larger companies. As we enter another period of recession, you may find that your staff are demotivated or unsure of their futures. The best way to retain current employees is to keep them engaged with your company.

Make sure you:

  • Discuss career development opportunities with your staff.
  • Encourage them to discuss any concerns or problems they may have.
  • This way you may be able to spot the signs of dissatisfaction early and tackle the reasons behind it before it's too late.
  • Communicate your business plan and let all employees know how they can contribute to the success of the company.
  • Offer training – either in house or outsourced – that is inline with their aspirations and the company's objectives.
  • This will keep staff motivated and involved in their work.
  • Regularly ask for feedback, perhaps in the form of a survey.
  • Listen and react to the opinions expressed.
  • Try to adapt work around your employees' circumstances where possible and within reason.
  • Offer incentives such as health care schemes or training.

Hiring new employees

Small businesses spend an estimated £69 million* a year on advertising, interviewing, induction and training, only to end up with the wrong person for the job. If you're in the fortunate position of being able to take on new staff despite the tough economic trading conditions, you need to make sure that you employ the right person first time.

Follow our recruitment tips to find the best employees for your business. Include a clear job description and person specification in your job adverts so the applicant knows what is expected of them and what you can offer in return. Find out more by reading our tips for writing effective job adverts.

  • If you use an application form, regularly review it to make sure it is easy to use and don't include potentially discriminatory questions about age or medical history.
  • Use competency-based interview techniques to find out how candidates acted in a situation and why, to determine how they may act in a similar situation in future.
  • If the job you're recruiting for requires specific skills, test them as part of the interview.
  • This way you can tell if anyone was less than truthful in their application!
  • Make the offer in writing, subject to the signing and return of the contract of employment, plus receipt of satisfactory references.
  • Always follow up references as soon as an offer is made.
  • Always get two forms of identification from the successful candidate. If they require a permit to work in the UK, ensure that you obtain the correct written documentation to avoid criminal liability and a fine of up to £5,000 per illegal worker.

To ensure that you get your recruitment practices right, members of the Forum can download FREE recruitment templates including a job application form, interview and job offer/rejection templates.

Promote internally

Before spending money on recruitment, take a look at the skills and talents of the people you already employ. Is there anyone who is ready for promotion or has untapped skills just waiting to be developed?

This will not only re-energise your business, help retain talent and fulfil your staffing requirements, but also gives the employee another "string to their bow" and enhances their long-term career prospects.

For more information on recruitment, call our member helpline on 0845 130 1722. 

*Source: Jobsite

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