SCORE's Top Human Resources Tips
Are you the best boss you can be? Create a happy workforce with these tips.
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5 Tips on Building a Senior Management Team
- Start with part-timers. You may not be able to afford a full-time chief financial officer at first, but chances are you can find one who will gladly work part time.
- Look for volunteers. The SCORE Association is one place to start and may help you establish a volunteer advisory board. Also check with your local business schools.
- Consider outsourcing your management team. Check the Yellow Pages under Employment Agencies, Employee Leasing, Executive Search Consultants and Management Consultants.
- Check references and backgrounds, just as you would for a full-time employee. Look for a good fit.
- Treat part-time and volunteer executives just as you would full-time, paid senior managers. Make them a part of your team.
- Concentrate on what you and the employee can achieve together in the future. Don't use performance reviews just as a means of telling workers everything they're doing wrong.
- Strive for consistency and fairness. Apply performance criteria to all employees, not just a few.
- Encourage employees to evaluate themselves and to discuss their own strengths. Your view of an employee and the employee's view of himself should match fairly well. Otherwise, it's a warning signal.
- Be honest about poor performance, but not brutal. Document your observations in writing.
- If you're small enough that constant communication and feedback are taking place, you may be able to avoid performance reviews. But don't send the message that performance isn't critical.
- Employees are your most important assets, so hire the best, provide training and growth opportunities, and recognize good performance.
- Have a meaningful, concise and realistic job description for each employee. Make sure you review it with the employee and that it's understood.
- Be sure employees know what is expected of them. Establish high standards of performance ethics.
- Offer specialized training or skills enhancement to your current employees. Promoting from within encourages and motivates your greatest assets--your current workforce.
- Create a New Employee Referral Bonus Program. Describe your needs in title and duties and offer a reward for your "most wanted."
- Understand the benefits. Immigrants are often well-educated, intelligent, loyal and dedicated.
- Follow the law. Contact your Immigration and Naturalization Service field office for information and required forms. For locations, visit the INS website at www.ins.com .
- Keep things simple. Limit the number of languages spoken to reduce the need for interpreters.
- Expect a community to develop among those who speak the same language. It's OK. They can help and support each other and assist in interpretation.
- Encourage your employees to learn English. Send them to courses offered locally or provide classes on-site.
- Examine your own skills carefully. Know your own strengths and weaknesses and hire to complement your skills, not duplicate them.
- Assure yourself plenty of applicants by casting a broad net. Interview applicants in a structured way by asking all applicants for a job the same questions.
- Draw applicants to your website by placing the web address in all advertisements.
- Use an 800 phone or fax number as a toll-free way for applicants to contact you.
- Offer a signing bonus--anything from $25 to $2,500 could be an incentive to help bring on a fence-sitting applicant. This is a common practice for "super starts."
- Hire slowly. Be willing to invest time and energy in your hiring decisions.
- Be clear in your own mind what the job requires and measure candidates' qualifications against the requirements of the job.
- Consider how well a candidate will fit in with your corporate culture. Are her attitudes compatible? Is he cooperative?
- Narrow the pool to serious candidates. Ways of weeding out non-contenders include announcing that drug testing is required of all new employees or asking applicants to write a brief essay on why they want the job.
- Do brief phone interviews with 8 or 10 top candidates to reduce the pool further. Then do longer in-person interviews with two or three finalists.
- Get referrals from employees. Consider giving bonuses to employees whose referrals are hired.
- Ask your suppliers. They can recommend good salespeople who have called on them or competent technical people who have serviced their equipment.
- Approach retirees and other good people who have worked for you before.
- Post an ad on the internet. Some small business owners experience success in recruiting through such employment sites as CareerBuilder, Monster Board and Career Mosaic.
- Consider unconventional sources. People with disabilities often make excellent employees. One business owner turned to non-violent first offenders, who weren't sent to prison, but had graduated from a Marine-style boot camp program instead.
- Understand your advantage. In a small company, you're in a better position to know what people's abilities and interests are than in a large company.
- Develop a nose for hidden talent. Find out what skills people use when they're not at work and determine if those skills can be put to use in your company--in a higher position.
- Create career paths for employees. Your people need opportunities to grow.
- Consider the work you outsource. Can that work be brought inside, creating an advancement opportunity for one of your employees?
- If an employee needs outside training for a higher-level job, pay for it. That'll be cheaper than recruiting a new employee.
- Write and place "sizzling" help wanted ads. Write ads with a marketing perspective as to what will bring you prime prospects. Place them in trade journals and in professional association job banks and newspapers.
- Post job openings at colleges and trade schools. Let educational institutions know about your company and its hiring goals. Schedule personal visits as needed.
- Place magnetic signs on your car, truck or van. Take your advertising with you wherever you go. Showcase the phrase "Now Hiring" in large print with your phone number.
- Advertise on radio or cable television; rates can be very reasonable. Or sponsor a promotional event.
- Consider outdoor advertising or even bus bench ads. You can reach a wide audience.
- Hold an open house or an in-house job fair. Invite schools, county or state job developers, and others in the community to attend.
- Contact Urban League, Youth Employment Programs and Private Industry Council in your area. These are wonderful training organizations that offer free placement assistance.
- Go online and search the internet. Post your openings on free and fee-based bulletin boards such as Monster.com, Careerpath.com or pdqcareers.com.
- Contact local government job banks for free referrals. All states have aggressive welfare-reform goals and may be a source of employees.
- Call the Veterans Administration and Rehabilitation Agency. They can refer some very capable people.
Brought to you by SCORE , "Counselors to America's Small Business."
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