Five ways to find and keep the best employees

Two professionals shaking hands at a job interview

Be clear about what you want

Stitches-to-Style owner Liz Roadley says the perfect person for the job is out there, but you need to know what you’re looking for to find them. ‘Whether you’re after a skill, knowledge base or experience, you need to be sure,’ she says.

The next step is to prepare a job description that offers potential staff something beyond a financial reward and standard conditions, so highlight an attractive workspace, flexible hours, training opportunities or other incentives.

‘Our retail space is light and airy and a colourful, comfortable place to work in. Our systems are up-to-date and we enjoy a close relationship with clients’, says Liz.

Advertise strategically

As well as targeting potential candidates, consider people in your own network who could spread the word for you. ‘One of my best successes has been employing the sister of one of my employees.’

Don’t forget that potential staff are judging you too, so it’s important to act professionally. It sends a signal that you know what you are doing and are serious about your brand. ‘You need to think about how you would like to be treated as a potential staff member and as a person,’ says Liz.

Keep in touch

Always be on the lookout for valuable people in your daily interactions – customers, suppliers, colleagues, friends. Keep in touch with people you think would fit into your business in the future. When you are ready to hire, somebody in this network of “pre-qualified” people could fulfil your need.

‘There are some people I meet and just click with. I know these are the first people I would call on to work with if I had a need.’

Shoulders-down image of two professionals at a business meeting or job interview

Keep in touch

Always be on the lookout for valuable people in your daily interactions – customers, suppliers, colleagues, friends. Keep in touch with people you think would fit into your business in the future. When you are ready to hire, somebody in this network of “pre-qualified” people could fulfil your need.

‘There are some people I meet and just click with. I know these are the first people I would call on to work with if I had a need.’

Try something new

Break your tasks down and think laterally about how to achieve them.

Consider contracting people with different skills for specific tasks, offer a student placement, up-skill an existing staff member, offer short-term project opportunities, or find expertise through online market places such as Upwork and DesignCrowd.  These options can also be a good way of “trying before buying”, since you get an insight into how different people perform.

Learn to reroute

Despite your best efforts, sometimes you just can’t fill a role.

If you are prepared to compromise, taking on someone with less skills and knowledge (which can be built through training) is better than hiring someone who has the experience but doesn’t have an attitude that suits your business.

‘If it doesn’t feel right, sometimes it is better to rethink your strategy rather than make a costly mistake.’