The labor market has changed. People are re-thinking what they want to do, how they want to spend their time, and what they expect from the entrepreneurs they work for. Recently, I spoke with Charlie Bassett, entrepreneur and CEO of the luxury grocery chain Bassett’s Market, about attracting, hiring, and retaining great people. Charlie believes that hiring shouldn’t be about who’s got the bigger, brighter sign that says, “We need help.” It’s much deeper than that if entrepreneurs want to do it right.
Charlie has come up with a list of 10 things every entrepreneur should know about hiring to “hack” the labor shortage, build a great team, and grow their business.
Charlie’s 10 Hiring Tips for Entrepreneurs
#1: Don’t be a jerk.
This comes down to company culture and respect. Entrepreneurs shouldn’t be arbitrary in their behavior, lose their cool, or tolerate that from others in leadership. As an entrepreneur, be professional, fair, and consistent. Reflect on these three questions to self-assess what you know about hiring for your company:
- Is it a nice place to work?
- How are people treated?
- How are people paid?
#2: Come within 10% of advertised salaries.
Be competitive about pay and be in the range of advertised salaries for that position. Then, when you meet the person you know is a right fit, secure them as quickly as possible. If entrepreneurs “wow” them by going over their asking salary with a sign-on bonus, it’ll pay dividends down the line and make them feel valued instead of commoditized from the get-go. This is an important strategy to know about hiring as an entrepreneur as you open negotiations.
Remember, the right people are an investment, not a cost. Treat them accordingly.
#3: Take care of your existing team.
Review what people are making and adjust their salaries as necessary on a quarterly basis. Entrepreneurs may think they know everything there is to know about hiring, but then acquire new people only to see them leave again because they don’t run the business well, appreciate employees, or have good benefits. Oftentimes, especially when markets change, entrepreneurs focus on getting new talent by offering big salaries to new team members while overlooking their existing team. This causes resentment and discontent. Make sure your people stay happy.
#4: Sell the sizzle for your company.
Benefits are a big selling point for an entrepreneur’s company. Share your health, dental, vision, and life insurance benefits, vacation, holidays, disability benefits, stock ownership plans, 401k plans, etc. in a way that’s easy to understand so people can clearly understand all it is that you offer.
Think of it like marketing for talent.
Put time, love, creativity, and energy into the careers section of your website and your social media strategy so people get a clear picture of why they’d want to work at your entrepreneurial company. A simple “Now Hiring” sign just isn’t enough!
Get your team involved too. Sometimes, they’ll bring up benefits you’ve never thought of, since the value of these benefits is so subjective (like free soda or coffee!). Entrepreneurs can also enroll their team to help with the marketing of the benefits. After all, more people will make the whole team’s life easier as the business grows.
#5: Move with speed.
When it comes to what entrepreneurs should know about hiring in today’s world, moving quickly when you find a great candidate is key. Make them an offer right there, if possible, or draft something up and send it that night. Follow up quickly to show them that you’re an entrepreneur who means business and negotiate if necessary. Remember, there are great people out there, but it’s a finite number and they, too, want to work with a professional entrepreneur who means business.
#6: Be aware of other offers in the market.
Be aware of what giant corporations and smaller businesses are paying and know the benefits they offer so you can compare. You want to be informed and educated when talking to potential candidates.
#7: Offer incentives to your current team.
Incentivize your team to help you find great people who are a culture fit. They should know what you’re looking for, and they’ll naturally want to bring on people they want to work with. A financial incentive after the person has stayed on for a certain amount of time is a phenomenal recruiting tool.
#8: Have an online presence.
Try Zip Recruiter, Indeed, and Facebook. Entrepreneurs and their teams could even post something on personal and business LinkedIn and Facebook profiles. Always keep your eye out for great people in your online network and beyond. What entrepreneurs should know about hiring is that it requires multiple avenues and channels, even online.
#9: Leverage in-person avenues and word of mouth.
Entrepreneurs can attract people just by talking about what’s going on in your business and encouraging your team to do the same. And, if you’ve got a storefront, you’ll be surprised by how many people will come to you if they know what you have to offer and see that it’s a great workplace. And get creative! What entrepreneurs should know about hiring is that what worked in the past may not work now.
#10: Do a cost analysis of the impact to your business if you don’t hire the person.
What would happen (or not happen) if a candidate didn’t get hired? What would be the cost? Would there be a significant impact on the business or on you as an entrepreneur? If so, they’re worth the premium because inaction would be detrimental.
As you look for new team members, something you should know about hiring is that not everyone is going to be the right fit. As an entrepreneur, make sure values are aligned and understand that the skills and talents of others are required for your business to be successful. Give purpose to other people’s capabilities, and it’ll pay off for you, your team, your business, and your customers.
At Strategic Coach, we know what entrepreneurs should know about hiring and are aware of common entrepreneurial needs, trends, questions, and issues. We’ve helped entrepreneurs through their challenges for decades and have curated a resource center of our most valued content. Check it out here.