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Ade Olabode: Small Business, Here’s How To Hire & Retain the Best Employees

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How do you hire and keep the best employees?

This was the big question from my last article, Small Business, Here Are Trends To Watch Out For In 2016, where a commenter noted that it was hard to ‘find good people who share in their vision’ and that ‘small businesses have the people problem to figure out’.

So why do small business owners find it difficult to get the right people in? Is it that good employees don’t exist anymore or just plain difficult to find? All fingers may be pointed to our education system but I guess any further rant on this aspect, will be a waste of space.

So let’s cut to the chase – How then do you recruit and retain good employees?

Have the right recruitment processes – At PrognoStore, we normally employ a three-way approach.

  1. Candidate Presentation: This relates to the candidates. How well have they presented themselves? As an employer you certainly want candidates who know what they are doing. It makes no sense to even shortlist a candidate who submits a CV from a forwarded email. Candidates need to take the extra effort to present a passable persona.
  2. Telephone Chat: It will save you a lot of stress if you can spend 10 minutes talking to prospective candidates on the phone. You should emulate this if you are a retail business and if recruiting for customer support roles. Chatting with the candidates over the phone will tell you if they can help you run the show or stop the show.
  3. Face to face interview: This is definitely essential during recruitment. You get to meet the candidates and it helps you to make your final assessment and judgement.

Training – Once you have recruited the right candidates you still need to train them. Training ensures that they understand the business and it also ensures they are not left stranded. Business processes are essentially the same across businesses but businesses differ. Hence the need to train your employees.

Regular training of existing employees is also critical. Employees require training on processes, systems, tools etc. You want employees who are up to date and current on modern business practices if you want to grow your business. A retail business should regularly train its customer-facing staff on how to provide the best customer service to customers.

The customer may be king but your customer support staff is the kingmaker.

You certainly want a business of kingmakers if looking for an edge over your competitors.

  • Provide them the right tools – A cutlass might not be adequate for a farmer, when a combined harvester is required. In the same way, a retail business will require an accounting system (Xero), a POS and Inventory system (PrognoStore), to mention just two. Reliance on papers/books and spreadsheet is not enough if you want efficiency.
  • Remuneration – Just do the right thing and provide a decent wage. End of story.
  • Job Satisfaction – This might not look like a top priority for obvious reason. But to stand any chance of keeping the best employees, you need to keep them satisfied on the job. Some employees are only happy when they work on different tasks while others are only happy to work on only one task. You have to find the right balance; but how do you get to know what your employees want?

Employee survey ensures you have an insight into what your employees want and expect from you as a business owner. A simple questionnaire may be sufficient for this purpose. Given the Nigerian workplace culture, it is essential to let your employees understand the underlying reasons behind every survey if you want to get the best response. Remember ‘a happy employee is an effective employee’!

In summary, while the cost of employee acquisition in Nigeria may be high, the onus still lies on all business owners to train their employees, equip them with the right tools and remunerate them adequately. This will ensure they deliver and help your business grow.

As a business owner what are your experiences with regards to employee-related issues? What are your challenges and how have you been able to overcome them? Let me know in the comment section below.

P.S Don’t forget that you can still get the free 60 days offer to PrognoStore. PrognoStore is Point-of-Sale software for small business which helps you sell your goods/services, track your inventory and gain insight to run your business. It’s all you need to run your small business. Simply go to www.prognostore.com/signup and enter Free4Bella for promo code to get 60 days free.

Startup Spotlight:
This section is new and it’s where I will share knowledge of startups that cater to small businesses. This week’s spotlight is on Pulse CV, who is my new favourite go-to portal for recruitment. We have recently used them and they didn’t disappoint. Check them out.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime 

Papa Olabode is an adviser to small business owners. He's the co-founder & CEO of PrognoStore (www.prognostore.com), the Point-of-Sale Software for small businesses. PrognoStore is a 3-in-1 solution as it combines point-of-Sale, Inventory and Analytics to be all you need to run your store. He's a chartered accountant and has previously worked at Deloitte, Credit Suisse and co-founded HGE Capital. Follow on Twitter @papaolabode

8 Comments

  1. Abby

    January 13, 2016 at 3:49 pm

    Thank you, Ade for this very timely piece. xx

  2. Rolake

    January 13, 2016 at 5:36 pm

    Well said, but what about employees who always think they’re too good for the job?They take the job and think they’re just passing time till they find something better. I mean there are of course good people, that really want to train and apply themselves but if you employ the ‘wrong’ person, I’m sorry, nothing you can do.

  3. Ojuolape Asekun

    January 13, 2016 at 5:48 pm

    Thank you Ade. Been following your posts. Been a blessing. Just what I need

    • Ade

      January 13, 2016 at 9:38 pm

      I see your point but that’s why you need a good recruitment process! In any case, one shouldn’t hesitate to let go employees that clearly don’t want to be there.

  4. Onyie

    January 13, 2016 at 6:35 pm

    Hello Ade,

    Great article as usual. I like that you mentioned training and your statement – “The customer may be king but your customer support staff is the kingmaker”. This is something most small businesses especially those in retail need to realize.

    I love Pulse CV also! We recently used them to recruit for me position that has been difficult to fill.
    Looking forward to net week’s article.

    • Ade

      January 13, 2016 at 9:35 pm

      Glad you liked it and more importantly, thanks for the thoughtful comments last week, which inspires the post.

      BTW, I can see you’re making the same mistake I made ?……its Push CV not Pulse CV. Nevertheless, they’re good!

  5. shawn

    January 13, 2016 at 9:34 pm

    i remember the guy in the picture of this post from uni of herfordshire, guess he is a model this days..lol

    • huh

      January 14, 2016 at 10:38 am

      so what’s the lol about it? redundant comment if i may say so

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