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Community Futures Beaver River

Box 2678, 106 - 1st Street East, Meadow Lake, SK - Phone: (306) 236-4422

Image Credit: Tourism Saskatchewan/Paul Austringr

August Newsletter 2015

  • August 4, 2015
  • Written by Beaver River Admin

12 Tips for Hiring and Retaining Good Employees

One of the hardest things about running a small business is building a good team of people. And, even if you do manage to pull together a good team how do you keep them?

The four key things you need to do to grow a business are: i) increase revenue ii) hire the right people iii) improve performance and iv) increase profit. Of these, number two is the most important because if you don't hire the right people then it will be difficult to achieve the other three.

Here are 12 things to consider when hiring staff and building a solid team for your company.

Build a reputation as a great place to work. If your existing employees love working for you then word will spread and good people will want to work for you. Check out Canada's 100 top employers and see what makes them so good to work for (
Pay a little better than your competitors, or above your industry average.
Draw up a thorough job description. You need to know exactly what your expectations are for the position. What are the deliverables? Once you have this you will know what skills and experience you are looking for in a hire, and what personality type would fit best in the position and with the rest of people they will be working with.
When you post the job, issue a challenge with it. Ask candidates to consider a particular situation related to the job and your specific business and how they would deal with it. This will help prevent resume spam and ensure people think about your company and what sort of fit they might be.
Ask for referrals from staff, friends and business colleagues. Often a referral can be better than someone out of the blue.
Once you have applications, check the individuals on Facebook and LinkedIn and other social media sites. You can learn a lot about someone from how they portray their social life.
Interview at least twice. Carry out the first interview by phone, it will save you a great deal of time and allow you to weed out unsuitable candidates quickly.
During the interview be open about your company's core values, vision, goals and objectives and get feedback from the candidate. Make them part of the plan.
Create a panel to carry out the interviews. This will allow a wider breadth of questions and opinions. It will also help prevent a common HR mistake, which is hiring someone you personally connect with in spite of obvious issues with their overall suitability.
Once hired, ensure the person gets sufficient orientation and training. Give them every chance to be successful and fit into the team.
Create a pleasant workplace with good morale and provide positive feedback to your team individually and as a group - recognition is a powerful morale booster. Lead the team - don't let it find its own way.
Provide group benefits. Many smaller companies feel they can't afford to set up their own group plan but your local Chamber of Commerce will offer member companies a cost-effective method of offering group benefits to their employees.
There are many other ways to improve your chances of making good hires and keeping your team together but the dozen above will get you on the right track. Hiring is something that should not be rushed; getting the right person in the right job is key to your overall profitability.

7 Ways To Get More from Your Team
How good is your team? Do they always pull together? Are they willing to go the extra yard for you? Do you trust them implicitly? Or are they a little fragmented? Do some people do more than others and carry the rest of the team? Do you have all the right skills in the right positions? How many are currently looking for another job?

If you're not sure of the answers to any of the questions above then perhaps you might want to spend a little time improving your team's morale and reignite their passion for your company and the work they do.

Here are a few ways to ensure your team is fully onside and committed to your goals and objectives.

Bring your team together and explain your vision, goals, and objectives for the company. And, what part they individually and as a team play in achieving success. If you have already done this recently, revisit it and get feedback from your team on their progress. Also ask them what roadblocks they think might be on the horizon. Involving your team, will let you see how committed each individual is.
Empower individuals within set parameters. This demonstrates you have trust and allows people to take initiative. When team members feel a sense of ownership in a project they will give more.
Build profit-sharing into projects, or company performance. Again, this gives employees a sense of ownership, of all pulling in the same direction for the same goals.
Give praise and recognition of good work, and the reaching of objectives. Ensure you have key performance indicators in place. These are business metrics used to evaluate factors that are crucial to the success of an organization (or a project). Being able to recognize steps toward individual and team goals is important to motivation.
Offer flexible working conditions; this can relate to hours, days, working from home - whatever is important to an individual. For some it may be being able to come in a little later so they can drop a child off to daycare, or working an extra hour every day so that they can have Friday off every other week so they get a long weekend. Discover what is important to each member of the team - being flexible is more important to most people than a raise in pay.
Ensure working conditions are conducive to the team and individuals. Some people like to work in a quiet environment, others like the hustle and bustle of a busy office. Try to accommodate all members of the team. For instance, create a quiet room for people to go and think - this could be a soundproofed room the size of a sauna with comfortable bench seats. Have comfortable communal space where your team can hang out - this could be a lunch room, or a conference room - whatever it is it needs to be a creative space, with a white board, pens, and whatever people need to be creative.
One simple, but highly effective way of boosting morale is to give people a day off on their birthday. Make this an additional 'free' day, not part of their holiday allocation. The cost of a lost day of production will be more than made up by the increased commitment and the fact that good people are far less likely to leave the company.
As you can see, paying more does not feature much in the tips above. Money is no doubt a big motivator, but not the most powerful. People will work for less money for a whole bunch of reasons such as job security, job satisfaction, and feeling they are part of something bigger.

Creating a positive, vibrant, environment for your team, and making them integral to the success of your company will do wonders for your bottom line.

7 Tips to Ensure Computer Health

Computers are our lifelines, whether we work from home, or in a corporate office. Too often though we fail to do even the basics to keep our computer environment healthy. Here are a few simple things you can to do to ensure your computer will continue to boot up every morning eager and willing to do all the important stuff you need it to do.

Never eat, or drink near your computer. This seems obvious but people do and then wonder why their keyboard no longer works or why their laptop dies just because it got a little coffee on it.
Do have an antivirus program, even if you have a Mac computer. Yes, hackers do know about Mac's - they're not a secret! Although 98% of malware is written for PC's that still leaves 2% waiting to infect your Mac.
Keep your antivirus software up to date. Don't think it's a really big problem? According to CNN Money, "More than 317 million new pieces of malware -- computer viruses or other malicious software -- were created last year. That means nearly one million new threats were released each day." The likelihood is that your computer is already compromised - check it now!
Here's an easy one. When you turn your computer off close all programs first and safely disconnect peripheral devices - that is don't just yank them out!
The great debate is whether to turn off your computer every night. Check out online the pros and cons of leaving your computer permanently on and make your own informed choice. People talk about power surges when turning the computer on and off reducing the lifespan of the components, but then leaving them on permanently could also shorten their life. Here's a compromise - leave your computer on all day, but turn it off at night. Two primary reason for this are 1) power consumption 2) leaving it on is just leaving the gate open for hackers.
Get a technician to 'clean' your computer once a quarter. You take your car in for a regular service don't you, then why not your computer?
Secure your wireless router - simply give it a password. After all you don't leave a key in the lock of your front door do you? Hackers like burglars love free and easy access!
Computers hold so much information on our lives and our businesses, it's surprisingly how little we actually care for them. Then, when they crash we scream and shout as if they are out to get us when it may not have happened if we had simply given them a little tender loving care.