Staffing | 13 mins read

A Guide to Hiring and Retaining Efficient Staff

a guide to hiring and retaining efficient staff
Michelle Jaco

By Michelle Jaco

Hiring staff effectively is a challenging process because bringing on the wrong employees can be expensive, time-consuming, resource-intensive, and costly to the environment at your workplace.

On the other hand, staffing with the right of kind of people promotes profitability, enhanced employee productivity, and has an overall positive impact on the work environment as a whole.


So, how do you ensure that your staffing processes result in the latter?

The activities involved in staffing include-

  • Creating profiles for the vacant position
  • Selecting employees who best match the job profile
  • Setting performance standards
  • Evaluating employee performance
  • Training and development of new and old hires
Similar to those on the job search, business owners and management are looking for a staffing solution. They are responsible for offering staffing services and finding the best candidates based on their skills, expertise, experience, and merits to match them with the most fitting opportunities.
The following are critical phases of an effective staffing strategy for modern businesses-
  1. Reading the signs that it may be time to hire
  2. Developing a staffing plan
  3. Recruiting the best candidates
  4. Orientation and training of new employees
  5. Ensuring employee retention
  6. Conducting exit interviews

Signs that it May Be Time to Hire

As budding businesses continue to grow, owners often face several challenges that unexpectedly come their way. To keep the ship afloat, management will sometimes rely on their employees to take on roles and responsibilities that may fall outside of the job description.


Although some staff members may be up for the challenge, as a business owner, you must be fair in assessing the reality of the work environment, in that you may potentially be pushing your team to the brink of burnout.

In doing so, you inadvertently become the root cause behind your business failing to reach its full potential.

If you have witnessed any of these signs, it may be time to expand your team with a workforce solution-

  • High employee turnover rate
  • Unusual spikes in customer complaints
  • Increase in labor costs, like overtime
  • Consistently falling short of expectations
  • Inability to take on new projects due to lack of resources
  • Haven't taken time off in months

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Developing a Staffing Plan

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The staffing plan highlights what the job seeker may look for in a job search, including what positions need to be filled, which ones need to be created, and how hiring procedures will be handled during a given period.

Start by creating the first draft. Remember, there is no right answer if things don't go per plan make adjustments to the staffing plan as you go along.

The staffing plan also pinpoints the reporting authority and gives a general overview of the workflow for each new position.

Formal Means to Identify What to Include in the Staffing Plan

A concrete staffing strategy can be executed seamlessly without losing sight of what is essential meeting all goals. The milestones mentioned in the strategic plan provide guidance on the type of talent that is needed to get the job done.

To get started in creating a staffin solution, write down all of the tasks that must be completed each day and then begin grouping those tasks with those that are most similar to each other. Once completed, you will have a job description mapped out, as these groups are directed toward a specific role or position.

When collaborating to strategize a staffing plan, sit down with the rest of your team and consider past experiences, current needs, future expectations, and overall goals.


While creating a comprehensive staffing plan, businesses also often consider demographic trends, retirement ages of current employees, succession planning, and industry trends.

Preemptive Measures Seasonal Workforce at Your Disposal

No matter how big or small your business is, it functions in a dynamic environment challenges and changes in day-to-day operations are unpredictable, so you must be prepared for any sudden shifts in traffic.

For example, in the hospitability, food service, and retail industries, the labor turnover is 60% to 75% as compared to the average labor turnover of 15% in other sectors.

This is why you should always have a proactive strategy that ensures you are well equipped to handle issues that may impact your schedule this also means that the right number of employees should be available as and when needed.

For starters, you need to sign up with a staffing firm that fills contracts and temporary job positions.


It is important to note that more than 3 million contract and temporary employees work for staffing companies in America and these staffing companies hire 17 million temporary employees per annum.

The right staffing company can help you overcome any sudden and short-term shortages in staff.

Reasons for Hiring a Seasonal Workforce
Here are some reasons and benefits of having a seasonal workforce-

  • When an employee is sick, quits, or cannot perform for any reason, you can fill the position on the very same day
  • It is cost-efficient as the staffing company tests workers to see if they are the right fit before they are sent over to you
  • You get to choose from a diverse pool of skill sets so you can find someone with the best profile
  • If the role in question requires specialized safety training, you do not have to invest much in training employees as seasonal staffing companies already provide basic safety training, especially for construction jobs, food handling, etc.
  • A flexible workforce that can be onboarded as needed is a vital asset during sudden influxes and peak seasons such as Christmas, New Year, etc.
  • The staffing company or agency can also help you with the onboarding process
  • If you ask current employees to give in more time, they will ask for overtime pay; on the contrary, hiring seasonal workers will help you get more done for a lot less

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Recruiting the Best Candidates

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Once a staffing plan has been formulated, use it to assess what role needs to be created and what capabilities and merits the ideal candidate should have.

Then, get the word out that you are accepting CVs'. Here are some steps you can take-

  • Use professional websites to find potential leads
  • Create a post on your website's career page
  • Advertise on university career and alumni services websites and portals
  • Advertise on local and national websites
  • Advertise on newspaper websites
  • Publish an ad in your local newspaper's classified section
  • Get help from a recruitment firm to find the perfect candidate
  • Consider offering the role to someone from within the organization, etc.

Interviewing Candidates

Once you have chosen the best resumes that meet all requirements, schedule interviews. Send them a confirmation email with directions to your office and the job description

If the open position is a managerial role, it will be best to conduct a panel interview so everyone across the board can figure out if the candidate is the right fit.

Remember to follow these points when conducting an interview-

  • Take notes, so you can refer to them while deciding who stood out the most
  • Ask the same questions from all candidates
  • Ask open-ended questions
  • Assess if they will be able to carry out all the duties and responsibilities efficiently
  • Talk less, and let them take charge of most of the conversation, etc.

Employee Screening

When the right candidate has been picked out, carry out a rigorous background check before giving out the good news-

  • Ensure that all past experiences are real
  • Make sure their degree is valid
  • Check if they have a criminal record, etc.

Benefits of Expanding Your Team

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Growing your team should be an exciting venture, as you are now opening the door to new opportunities for your business both in terms of revenue and brand recognition.

Here are the added benefits that come along with growing your team-

  • Upgrading your business A single employee has much to offer in providing specific skillsets that your company may have been previously lacking.
  • More free time Because you will now have more help, you have more time to focus on other key objectives, like increasing profitability, marketing initiatives, etc.
  • Finding inspiration and gaining a new perspective New employees bring new opportunities and new ideas to the table.

Importance of Hiring Suitable Employees Right from the Start

It's no secret that there is a vast gap of talent in the market, which makes it ever so challenging to find the best employee from possibly thousands of candidates.


In fact, 72.8% of employers face difficulties in finding capable and skilled employees.


Employers are right to be worried because choosing the right employee is integral for current and future success they have the innate capability of becoming subject matter experts and they can swiftly fill the shoes of those who left.

Advantages of Recruiting the Right People at the Start
Here are some benefits of finding the right fit-

1. Efficient Training
Typically, a recruit will take a year or two of training to become fully-productive.
Those with talent grasp what is taught quickly and make it part of their routine; they might even require less training.

On the contrary, despite the training a weak fit candidate will be disengaged, will not be as productive, and all in all, will slow down the workflow.


2. Money Well Spent
Get this- companies spend a minimal of $1,886 per person per annum to train employees. The right person in the correct position with the proper training can make this investment worthwhile, and one wrong employee can turn it into sunk costs that weight heavily on business finances.

Quality employees feel humbled by the company's efforts to teach and train them they don't want to lay waste to the time and money put towards their training and development.


On the other hand, an employee who's a lousy fit can feel underwhelmed and overworked as soon as they get hired. They might have trouble grasping the training material, and despite the training, they won't deliver up to your expectations.


This is why it is essential to invest in the right people the more years they put into your company, the less likely they'll be to switch, and your training will be worth your while.

3. Build Exemplary Teams
All job functions within an organization work towards the overall goals of the business thus, it is essential to adhere to them to ensure efficient operations and workflow.


The right people are aware of each other's strong-suits, and they depend on each other for their expertise. They are also great team players, helping others in their unit enhance productivity and deliver stellar results.

Tips For Recruiting The Right Employee

Follow these best practices to find the best employee-

  • Choose a candidate who displays a strong commitment to career development and growth
  • Hire people with strong merits and an exceptional skill set.
  • Know that often textbook knowledge doesn't adequately translate into skills, make sure they have the right degrees but also an aptitude for applying what they've learned into real-life situations
  • Analyze if the employee will be a team player and work well with the rest of the employees; a one-person show is not always the right fit for efficient operations
  • Learn from the past revisit and amend your hiring process with promising practices that have worked
  • Hire interns and offer permanent contracts to those who stand out
  • Screen your potential employee's social media profiles and activities, etc.

Orientation and Training of New Employees

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After the many interviews, you have finally hired an employee who checks all the boxes and shows real promise as a prospective employee. Now comes the time to onboard them. Employees should be welcomed and provided with all the necessary resources to excel in their roles.

Remember, when the onboarding experience is poor, new hires are twice as likely to leave a company, as opposed to people who had a positive onboarding experience.

Best Practices to Onboard New Employees

  • Send a welcome letter along with employee handbook
  • Have an honest conversation on what is expected from them, also provide advice on how to become better in their line of work
  • Meet them on their very first day provide them with essential documents, make them meet their co-workers, and ask them to fulfill any onboarding formalities such as filing tax forms. Also, provide them with materials that highlight the organization's performance thus far, and explain to them what the overall mission and vision is
  • Schedule a tour for them of the facility. This is very important for large organizations with big offices and factories
  • Meet them often, and give feedback on their performance, if they are not doing well, guide them on how to become better, etc.

Training

Formal
Some specialized roles need formal training to help employees better understand and fulfill their responsibilities. The employee may have outstanding merits and many experiences to share, but for optimal performance, it is best to get them trained.


However, formal training can be a costly endeavor that your business must endure because if you want long-term results, it is best for your employees to broaden their horizons and skillsets.

Informal Training
An employee may be introduced to new concepts and techniques just by observing co-workers and managers.

Ensuring Employee Retention

Once an employee is onboard, a lot goes into preparing them to perform at their maximum capacity. If they leave you for a better offer or a better work environment, not only will you lose a trained worker, but you will also have to fill the vacant post quickly.

Did you know, in the coming year 55% of employees are highly likely to quit their job because 18% feel that their employers do not care about them, and 32% are more likely to feel dissatisfied with their current position?

How to Retain Employees
To retain employees follow these steps-

  • Empower them let them know you trust their judgment
  • Provide them with educational opportunities to become better at what they do
  • Make it a point to focus on internal hiring first; if there is no appropriate candidate, then advertise the career opportunity
  • Appreciate them and show respect
  • Share profits with them; this will also motivate them to do better the more profit the company makes, the more significant share the employee will get
  • Provide recognition where it is due praising employees in front of their colleagues boost their morale
  • Do not overwork them - allow them to have ample time to relax. Do not call them in on their off-days, or contact them about anything work-related

Exit Interviews

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Employees resign because they are either offered a better job, they don't like the current work environment, they feel over-worked, or they do not get enough time to spend with the family, etc.

Remember, head-hunters are always on the look for talented individuals; maybe your employee got approached by one.

However, you always need to end professional relationships on a good note to ensure that there are no hard feelings. You can even evade potential lawsuits.

It is best to conduct an exit interview once the employee has handed in his or her resignation.


What Questions You Should Ask in an Exit Interview
This interview can help you understand issues faced by that person, and what areas you need to work on that such instances don't happen again.


Some questions you can ask are-

  • Why did you start looking for other job opportunities?
  • What made you accept the new offer?
  • Do you feel we equipped you well enough to perform in the future?
  • Briefly describe our company's culture?
  • What could have been done to keep you from leaving this job?
  • Did anyone in our organization know that you may be resigning?
  • If given a chance, what would you have changed in your role?
  • Was your manager always there to assist you?
  • Did you have a clear understanding of what was expected from you?
  • Would you ever consider coming back to our organization?

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