For small business owners today, it seems harder than ever to find young employees with a solid work ethic who know how to deal with customers.

I hear from my clients that the employees they hire are frequently unmotivated or incapable. Business owners have told me on several occasions, “Teenagers don’t want to work” -- or, better yet, if they do, they want to start in management.

But there are foolproof ways to steer clear of hiring snares. Here are four ways to find and retain the best employees.

1. Start with your own employees. Ask your staff to refer their friends for open positions, and provide a cash reward for anyone who is subsequently hired and stays with the company for more than 90 days. 

Related: 3 Lessons Learned From Hiring the Wrong Person

2. Make it easy. Hiring expert Mel Kleiman says, “To hire the best, you’ve got to make it easy for the best people to apply.” If you only accept phone calls, résumés and applications during normal business hours, for instance, you’re discouraging the very people you should be trying to recruit.

3. Train and retain. Make retaining your present employees a top priority. Provide the kind of training that will make them more valuable both to the company and to themselves.

4. Cultivate a caring environment. Make sure your organizational values, company mission statement and employee orientation program support an environment that demonstrates how valuable employees are to your company.

One way to do this is to make it a point to remember your employees’ birthdays and host mini celebrations on a regular basis. Remember, for most people, the workplace is like a second family. Create an environment that feels like one.

Related: 7 Training Tips to Get Your Cleaning Service Employees on the Right Track