When starting a traditional or online business, you have many things to take into consideration e.g. advertising, location, finances, software, accounting, maintenance, utilities, and et cetera. One of the biggest considerations when beginning a new business is the staffing of your business with people who are reliable, honest, competent, and valuable. Unfortunately, you cannot determine who the right employee is until they are past the honeymoon phase and feel secure that they have had enough invested in them that the company will be reluctant to letting them go.
How do I choose the right employee?
First, do not be desperate. This is hard not to do when you have shifts to cover, orders to fill, et cetera, but you must be prepared to do a careful search. Count on spending at least four hours per serious candidate, reviewing applications and resumes, conducting interviews, giving aptitude and psychological testing, checking personal and business references, and, if necessary for the position, conducting background checks. Try to find at least five qualified candidates for each position to be filled. If they are qualified enough to make your cut, then they will be valuable, so you need to be prepared to negotiate salary, hours, and benefits. You also need to be prepared for the fact that often your top choices for a position have been interviewing with other companies for other positions, so there will be competition for top employees.
What is the likelihood of their staying with you?
Another thing you must be prepared for is the eventuality that many employees quit during or shortly after the training phase. There is a significant cost of training new recruits for a new position. This must be incorporated into your budget. The best way to keep an employee is by paying them enough money, giving them enough benefits, and creating a pleasant work environment for them. It hardly seems fair that it is your business, your dream, your blood, sweat, and tears, but you are the one that has to cater to the staff. You also have to realize that the employees get paid first, whether the company is turning a profit or not. Most companies take years before they become profitable enough to adequately compensate the owners. Considering most new business start ups last less than two years, this is sobering news.
The ugly truth about hiring women.
I am a woman with children, so please do not think I intend to discriminate against women. But as a business owner of an industry that is dominated by women, I have to admit that there are issues.
When interviewing a woman, ask her out of the blue, no matter what size she is, “Are you pregnant?” Be sure to be looking in her eyes when you ask this, so you can gage her reaction. Many women will get jobs when they are pregnant, swearing to stay for the long haul and quit the minute she returns after her maternity leave. Even if she doesn’t leave, the physical state of pregnancy means restricted activity, limited standing, limited sitting, a need to be gone for appointments, et cetera.
Another question to ask a woman is, “How old are your children?” Assume that she has them. She will tell you if she does not. But based on her answer, you will know if they are the age where school closing days will be an issue or if a runny nose or a slight fever will have the day care center insisting on an immediate pick up. You also will know that that woman will probably need to be available to pick her kids up every day at 5:30 or 6:00 to pick up her kids regardless of a workload that might require overtime.
Another thing you have to deal with when hiring women is something you cannot determine until you are already committed to hiring them: the ability to create drama out of anything. Women are territorial people who were designed to be nurturers of their environment. You can’t get away from that. Because that need is not easily met in the work place, women often cause dissension among the staff. Again, remember that I am a woman writing this.
Is it really worth it?
Before starting your business, think hard and ask other business owners about the hassles of hiring, training, and firing employees. Evaluate your goals in starting a business, and then decide whether you should move forward. You might find that it would be more practical to meet financial goals through non-traditional businesses and meet personal goals with the wealth that venture could generate.