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SCORE's Top Human Resources Tips

Are you the best boss you can be? Create a happy workforce with these tips.

5 Tips on Building a Senior Team

  1. 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.
  2. 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 schools.
  3. Consider your management team. Check the Yellow Pages under Agencies, Employee Leasing, Executive Search Consultants and Management Consultants.
  4. Check references and backgrounds, just as you would for a full-time employee. Look for a good fit.
  5. Treat part-time and volunteer executives just as you would full-time, paid senior managers. Make them a part of your team.

5 Tips on Employee Performance Reviews

  1. 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.
  2. Strive for consistency and fairness. Apply performance criteria to all employees, not just a few.
  3. 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.
  4. Be honest about poor performance, but not brutal. Document your observations in writing.
  5. 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.

5 Tips on Helping Employees Take Pride in Their Work

  1. Employees are your most important assets, so hire the best, provide training and growth opportunities, and recognize good performance.
  2. Have a meaningful, concise and realistic job description for each employee. Make sure you review it with the employee and that it's understood.
  3. Be sure employees know what is expected of them. Establish high standards of performance ethics.
  4. Offer specialized training or skills enhancement to your current employees. Promoting from within encourages and motivates your greatest assets--your current workforce.
  5. Create a New Employee Referral Bonus Program. Describe your needs in title and duties and offer a reward for your "most wanted."

5 Tips on Hiring Immigrants

  1. Understand the benefits. Immigrants are often well-educated, intelligent, loyal and dedicated.
  2. Follow the law. Contact your Immigration and Naturalization Service field office for information and required forms. For locations, visit the INS website at .
  3. Keep things simple. Limit the number of languages spoken to reduce the need for interpreters.
  4. 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.
  5. Encourage your employees to learn English. Send them to courses offered locally or provide classes on-site.

5 Tips on Hiring Quality and Reliable People

  1. Examine your own skills carefully. Know your own strengths and weaknesses and hire to complement your skills, not duplicate them.
  2. 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.
  3. Draw applicants to your website by placing the web address in all advertisements.
  4. Use an 800 phone or fax number as a toll-free way for applicants to contact you.
  5. 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."

5 Tips on Hiring Smart

  1. Hire slowly. Be willing to invest time and energy in your hiring decisions.
  2. Be clear in your own mind what the job requires and measure candidates' qualifications against the requirements of the job.
  3. Consider how well a candidate will fit in with your corporate . Are her attitudes compatible? Is he cooperative?
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

5 Tips on Recruiting Workers in a Tough Labor Market

  1. Get referrals from employees. Consider giving bonuses to employees whose referrals are hired.
  2. Ask your suppliers. They can recommend good salespeople who have called on them or competent technical people who have serviced their equipment.
  3. Approach retirees and other good people who have worked for you before.
  4. Post an ad on the . Some owners experience success in recruiting through such employment sites as CareerBuilder, Monster Board and Career Mosaic.
  5. 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.

5 Tips on Promoting From Within

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Create career paths for employees. Your people need opportunities to grow.
  4. Consider the work you outsource. Can that work be brought inside, creating an advancement opportunity for one of your employees?
  5. If an employee needs outside training for a higher-level job, pay for it. That'll be cheaper than recruiting a new employee.

5 Tips on Where to Publicize for New Hires

  1. 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.
  2. Post job openings at colleges and trade schools. Let educational institutions know about your company and its hiring goals. Schedule personal visits as needed.
  3. Place magnetic signs on your car, truck or van. Take your with you wherever you go. Showcase the phrase "Now Hiring" in large print with your phone number.
  4. Advertise on radio or cable television; rates can be very reasonable. Or sponsor a promotional event.
  5. Consider outdoor advertising or even bus bench ads. You can reach a wide audience.

5 Tips on Where to Go to Gain Referrals

  1. Hold an open house or an in-house job fair. Invite schools, county or state job developers, and others in the community to attend.
  2. Contact Urban League, Youth Employment Programs and Private Industry Council in your area. These are wonderful training organizations that offer free placement assistance.
  3. Go online and search the internet. Post your openings on free and fee-based bulletin boards such as, or
  4. Contact local government job banks for free referrals. All states have aggressive welfare-reform goals and may be a source of employees.
  5. Call the Veterans Administration and Rehabilitation Agency. They can refer some very capable people.

Brought to you by SCORE , "Counselors to 's Small Business."

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