Biggins explained that hiring the wrong staff is an all-too-common mistake made by startups. He said: “If your business is just starting to take off, it’s understandable to want to bring employees on board as soon as possible. However, you should be careful – taking on the wrong staff can be damaging to your business. It’s vital that you invest in the right people to ensure that your small business will grow.”
All too often SME owners don’t look to the long-term, said Biggins. “The chances are that you’ll want to expand as a company in the future, so the most important thing you can do is have a game plan. When it comes to hiring staff to help you do this, the key fact to consider is that as your company grows and changes, so will job roles.”
When you embark on the recruitment process and begin screening and interviewing candidates be sure to bear this in mind, he said. If you’re recruiting for a position, think about what the job might entail in the future and ensure that you’re bringing in staff who can adapt easily within the working environment, who are motivated, have potential to learn on the job and who have the right skills for the role.
“This should put you on the right tracks to building a team that can help to drive your business’ growth in coming years,” he said. “The last thing you want is to hire a candidate who is perfect for a current role, but is unable to adjust and develop alongside your company. Ultimately, you’ll be left with two problems to solve – it’s worth investing the time and getting it right from the outset.”
Again, looking further ahead to the horizon, bosses should also ensure that staff grow with the company. An easy way to do this is by offering training and development programmes – something that SMEs need to do more of according to Biggins.
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“When interviewing applicants, ask how they feel about training courses – those who want career progression are likely to be more interested,” he said. “Not only does this indicate a proactive attitude, but those who are seeking job progression are more likely to stay loyal to your company as it grows. While it may take some time to differentiate between candidates, it’s well worth it in the long run.”
A business in its initial stages will, very likely, employ a small workforce. That doesn’t mean, however, that the owner of a startup or small company shouldn’t be looking for talent that can eventually fill more advanced roles.
“By keeping an eye out for these skills, or the potential for these skills to be developed as your company expands, you’ll be ensuring that you’re bringing in the right calibre of employees,” he said. “Members of staff who can ensure that your business is running efficiently will be vital assets to your startup, even if you don’t utilise those skills in the beginning.”
SMEs are often anxious about offering higher salaries but there are often other ways to attract the best and brightest talent, Biggins argued. “While it can be difficult to offer sky-high salaries when your start-up is just getting off the ground, its important that you make your company as appealing as possible. Getting applicants excited about working for you, and making them feel valued and important should help to boost staff morale, which will fundamentally result in increased productivity.”
A happy, hard-working workforce is key when it comes to driving growth within a smaller company with big ambitions. “If your workers don’t care about their job, they’re unlikely to care about your company as a whole. A carefully-selected, highly-skilled team can take time to find, but it’s important to make the investment and make sure that you are on-boarding people who can complement and develop your startup.”
Ultimately, you shouldn’t invest time and energy into creating your start-up if you’re not willing to do the same when it comes to staffing it, claimed Biggins. “The right employees will make all the difference – focused, talented workers will be worth their weight in gold when it comes to driving growth and innovation within your business, however, employees that have been hired in haste and are a bad fit for the company as a result, can cause untold damage and even cause your venture to fail.”
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