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10 Effective Ways to Train a New Employee

 

 

Training a new employee the right way matters in many more ways than just having them start to be productive. The costs of not training your employees can add up quickly; from poor morale to lack of production to employee turnover, not setting up your new employee (or newly promoted employee) for success has consequences.

You also will want to consider the costs and the time required to train your new employee. You will want your new employee to track their training time (and what tasks they spent what amount of time learning), as well as you will want to know how many hours it took away from a manager or team to train the new person. This kind of training data will be invaluable to you in order to grow your business, increase your employees’ production, and improve employee retention from continually improving your training programs.

We will discuss the following 10 ways to train a new employee:

  • Way #1: On the Job Training (aka OJT)
  • Way #2: Mentoring Program
  • Way #3: Employee Coaching
  • Way #4: Culture Training
  • Way #5: Job Shadowing
  • Way #6: Webinars & Online Resources
  • Way #7: Mobile Training Apps
  • Way #8: Third Party Training
  • Way #9: Gamification
  • Way #10: Use Social Media

Before we start, let’s also talk about the various ways and the commitment and amount of time they take in an easy table:

Let’s start with the most important way to train the vast majority of employees, from a waiter to a real estate agent to a lawyer:

Way #1: On The Job Training (OJT)

What It Is: OJT is a hands-on method of learning that uses existing equipment, tools, and resources to teach job specific duties and competencies. Training takes place within the job environment so that the employee can learn by seeing how the work is performed. This is especially important for roles that clock in and clock out; one of the first OJT training duties should be teaching your new employee how to clock in and clock out effectively and in alignment with company policy using your OnTheClock system. After all, this small function is where businesses lose thousands… to millions… of dollars!

Why It Works: OJT is considered to be one of the most effective training options because it is normally performed internally by those who already understand the job and the company’s values. It’s like having a real life training manual, where the current employee can also teach the new employee the idiosyncrasies of policies and systems, as well as caution them about company policies. On the other side, it is also time consuming and requires an actual person to be training the trainee.

How You Can Try It: Let’s take a quick look at how OJT works. A retail store cashier is an excellent example of a role where OJT is very relevant. Let’s take a step by step approach at Sam’s Hardware Shop and how OJT might be used for “New Hire Nelly” with long time “Employee Eric”.

Step 1: Nelly comes in for work on her first day. Eric is assigned to be her trainer (or sometimes, companies call this a “buddy” to promote camaraderie). Eric greets Nelly when she arrives and, once she fills out her paperwork (i.e. tax forms, etc… which Eric might do, or someone from HR might do), Eric brings Nelly onto the floor.

Step 2: Eric walks Nelly through a typical start of the day, where he shows her how to clock in, and shows her how to do it (as well as she should do it so she can be paid for today!).

Step 3: Eric then shows Nelly where his register is and starts the day. He counts down the drawer and ensures that it matches the night prior’s totals, and then asks her to try it.

Step 4: Eric then opens his register and lets Nelly watch him take care of actual transactions and customers while she takes notes. This should go on for an hour or two. Then, Eric could let Nelly try to do some transactions while he watches and provides feedback.

Step 5: Eric should then debrief with Nelly at the end of her day, help answer any questions, and help her to clock out.

The steps should then repeat until Nelly starts to be able to do all of the actions on her own. As Nelly becomes more functional, Eric’s time with her will decrease, likely each day, and eventually will likely be only for unique questions like a price check or a rebate.

Next, let’s look at mentoring, which can be a large component of On The Job Training.

Way #2: Mentoring Program

What It Is: Mentoring is a form of training that involves pairing a senior, experienced employee with a new, less experienced employee in order for the new hire to adapt quickly to their role. It is very similar to OJT, but usually takes the relationship to the next level (i.e. think of a senior level attorney being paired with a junior associate).

Tip: You might want to consider using a specific amount of mentoring each week, or even each month, for team members to get the most out of this time. 

Why It Works: Establishing a mentor relationship has been shown to enhance the speed that a new employee learns their new role and adapts to company culture because of the one on one interaction. It also has numerous other positive benefits such as increased positivity at the workplace and higher retention rates because it builds both social and professional bonds.

How You Can Try It: No need to reinvent the wheel: some of the top Fortune 500 companies and successful small businesses implement great mentoring programs. Here are a few of their stories:

General Electric

  • Newly hired graduates go into their Experienced Commercial Leadership Program where they will complete 8 months rotating within areas of their particular business.

Google

  • For the past 9 years, Google has offered a global program featuring stipends for student developers. Summer of Code pairs students with mentors to gain real-world software development experience and has boasted over 8,500 successful participants.

4 Point Consulting

  • 4 Point Consulting offers its associates and staff consultants the opportunity to trade ideas, request trainings and learn from senior management with monthly “Coffee n Convo” hours, dedicated entirely to the development of its employees. Group mentorship allows for camaraderie and the building of essential communication skills.

Caterpillar

  • Caterpillar devotes the first 2-3 years of a college graduate’s employment to professional development by implementing a rotation program wherein the new hire can gain exposure to all aspects of the business, from building basic technical skills to engaging with senior management.

Mentoring in a less formal sense, and when usually done by the direct manager of a new employee, is usually called:

Way #3: Employee Coaching

What It Is: Coaching is used to provide guidance to employees so they can work through challenges and strengthen their skills. Coaching is also usually somewhat less formal than mentoring, and can take less time (and thus cost less money, inhibit employee production less) than mentoring. However, both can have value when some structure is in place around them, and employee coaching can be formally structured (for example, in a weekly 1 on 1 with an employee’s manager).

Why It Works: Coaching is effective because it empowers employees to take their training into their own hands and encourages high performance in a setting and pace that helps personal and professional development. It also can serve as the basis for performance management and documentation of performance, which can be important in promotional and termination decisions, as well as in performance reviews.

How You Can Try It: This method can be effective when you have an employee who could benefit from performance improvement because it helps guide them towards solving problems and improving skills. It can also be great for management or senior employees to consult a business coach who can help provide guidance, focus, goal-setting, accountability, personal development, and business profitability.

Way #4: Culture Training

What It Is: Company Culture is the personality of an organization and it describes what values and goals a company has. Training new employees on company culture is equally important as training for skills because it puts emphasis on being part of the team.

Why It Works: Studies show that employees who are in alignment with their company’s culture and mission are more dedicated to the success of the organization. Teaching your company’s culture and values can also drastically reduce the chances employees will inadvertently engage in discrimination or harassment. It also promotes increased communication and promotes positivity. Howard Stevenson, of Harvard Business School faculty, notes: “Maintaining an effective culture is so important that it, in fact, trumps even strategy.”

How You Can Try It: You can start by creating a list of core values for your company, decide what characteristics new hires will have to be successful in your culture, and continue ongoing training with existing employees. Perhaps employees can contribute to or vote on your list of values, if they are not already stated. If your mission, culture and values exist, make sure you’re living by them. Post your values where team members can regularly see them. Hold your management team and yourself accountable to fulfilling those values daily. If your organization has grown, pivoted, or has experienced a change in its strategy or goals, consider whether the values you put in place at the outset still ring true today. In order for culture and values to work, they have to be felt, so they have to be unique and applicable to your company and employees, specifically.

Next, similar to On The Job Training, there is job shadowing.

Way #5: Job Shadowing

What It Is: Job shadowing involves a new hire working directly with an employee to become immersed in the day by day requirements of the job. In fact, some people even use job shadowing as a part of the recruitment

Why It Works: This method works well because it allows new hires to see the nitty gritty details in real time, without having to figure it out along the way. Simply telling a new employee what to do is not as successful as showing them one on one.

How You Can Try It: Job shadowing works best for jobs that require a lot of detail or those that are heavily task-based. Even if the role would not benefit from solely job shadowing, most roles have some aspects that are well suited to this type of training. In some cases, it can be essential, such as for internships or promotions.

A great example in general is the food and beverage industry. It is fairly unique in its job shadowing (“stage”) concept. But allowing potential (or new) employees to immediately receive the opportunity to work hands-on, side-by-side with more tenured teammates for a whole day can give them a real glimpse into on-the-job realities and skills necessary. One of 4 Point Consulting’s clients, Hu Kitchen in NYC, actually does job shadowing (a “trail” they call it) in their recruitment process for all restaurant roles to make sure that their top candidates understand exactly what their new job would be.

Way #6: Webinars and Online Resources

What It Is: Webinars and Online Resources are both virtual training sessions, with the former being a live presentation, and the latter being pre-made virtual training materials that can be accessed at any time.

Why It Works: This method is extremely cost-effective and convenient, especially if you have employees in different locations. You can take away cost for commuting, venues, and food by utilizing online training. It can also increase employee engagement because people are less likely to be shy about asking questions online. It can also be useful to have resources available for later times because it allows employees to access online information around their busy schedules.

How You Can Try It: For effective execution, start by breaking down material into intuitive sections, incorporate lots of visuals and interactive media, take time to answer questions and encourage collaboration, and set aside time at the end for participant quizzes and feedback.

4 Point Consulting finds success in such trainings from new-hire on-boarding material to systems implementation by leading with agendas, keeping material strictly to the point, and leaving apt time for Q&A at the end of the webinar (so that participants can avoid disruptions and stay on mute throughout the training!). One 4 Point client, SAFEbuilt, was rolling out a new HRIS system in 2018. 4 Point Consulting hosted live webinars (which were also recorded) for employees to attend to learn functionality of the system in real time. We also held webinar Q&A sessions on a daily basis to make sure people felt heard and understood in a smaller group setting. It worked wonders and, better yet, people retained what they learned!

In a similar way, mobile training apps take the webinar concept to the mobile level.

Way #7: Mobile Training Apps

What It Is: Mobile apps designed specifically to provide training sessions and materials straight to an employee’s phone.

Why It Works: Millennials are a lot different from previous generations because they were raised on technology and the workforce in general has become more on the go and remote than ever before. Mobile learning allows employees to learn wherever or whenever and it can be delivered in smaller, more manageable-sized chunks.

How You Can Try It: Find an app service that works for your business, often apps will work with other HR software. Have your new hires gain access even before they begin their first day so that all necessary paperwork is completed in advance and energy levels are kept high from the very beginning. For some app recommendations, visit this article from SHRM.

Way #8: Third Party Training

What It Is: Using outside sources, such as vendors, to provide training to your internal employees.

Why It Works: This method is great when a company may not have the resources to efficiently train new hires or when specialized training is required such as OSHA (Occupational Health & Safety) and you do not have qualified team members available to teach. Other options are using vendor training for any software or apps you use. This can also be useful for training that happens to prevent liability to an employer, such as Diversity & Inclusion training, Sexual Harassment training, HIPPA training, or the like.

How You Can Try It: Determine the needs of your business and decide if it will be more efficient and cost-effective to outsource training.

Need help figuring out your training strategy or don’t have enough time to write your new policies out? Training & development is one of our core practice areas! Get in touch to find more about our hourly HR consulting services.

Way #9: Gamification

What It Is: This new buzzword involved turning training into something fun like a game where people are motivated to succeed through incentivizing the process with rewards.

Why It Works: It promotes friendly competition, gives a sense of achievement to participants, and engages and motivates learners to make behavioural changes.

How You Can Try It: Modify your existing training materials to include a gaming element such as changing format to be levels with winning one level being mandatory before reaching the next step. You can also include an awards system to motivate employees to succeed. More suggestions for implementing gamification techniques can be found here.

Doug Kirkpatrick, of Beyond Empowerment: The The Age of the Self-Managed Organization found that with his project, Morningstar, in which he was instructed to create a state of the art manufacturing plant for tomatoes, he was able to organize the team with a simple scorecard. The gaming element created collaboration, harmony and prosperity for the project: Morningstar produced 90 million pounds of tomato paste for the world market, changing the course of the industry.

Way #10: Use Social Media

What It Is: Using Social Media for training can be a great, easy way to share training materials with your employees because it is easily accessible.

Why It Works: It engages employees on platforms they are already familiar with and active on.

How You Can Try It: Try creating YouTube training videos to share with your new hires. You can also create a private Facebook group where employees can exchange information and materials directly with one another. Another great resource is an instant-messaging service, like Slack, that can be used amongst employees for easy collaboration and sharing.

In conclusion…

Investing in training for new employees helps attract AND retain great talent. Taking the time to coach a team member into the role demonstrates your organization’s commitment to their personal development, endearing them to the company in return.

Spending time with employees in training programs can help managers identify strengths and areas of development right off the bat, ensuring that each new hire can add their specific value to your company. Effective training programs improve overall employee engagement and translate into savings: employees with diversified skills can transition to projects, clients and varied workloads throughout the organization.

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Letting Go – Employee Termination Letter Template and How-To Guide

While terminations are unpleasant, they are sometimes inevitable or necessary for the betterment of the company. This article will walk you through how to know when termination is the right option, and how to then execute the  firing of an employee with the least amount of risk.

We’ll discuss:

  • How to Know If It’s Time to Fire Someone
  • The Laws Around Terminations
  • The 5 Steps of an Employee Termination

o   Step 1: Compiling Documentation

o   Step 2: Create a Termination Plan

o   Step 3: Prepare for the Termination Meeting

o   Step 4: Termination Meeting

o   Step 5: After the Meeting

Plus

  • The Top 10 Termination Tips
  • Free Downloadable Termination Letter Template

But first, let’s backtrack for a moment and decide if firing someone is what actually needs to be done.

How to Know If It’s Time to Fire Someone

Remember, firing or termination should be the last resort for any employee as it causes stress to a business and even risk, as well as of course the negative impacts on the team, the actual employee in question, and overall office morale. Techniques like progressive discipline, coaching, and a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) should be exhausted prior to termination, unless a particularly egregious offense has been committed (i.e. stealing, workplace violence or threats of it). These steps also can serve as documentation for the termination, which is crucial for mitigating risk and avoiding a lawsuit.

Prior to termination, ask yourself:

  • Have I exhausted all options for trying to get this employee to comply to policies, perform, behave better, etc…?
  • Have I tried coaching, feedback (both direct and indirect), and have I been absolutely clear that their behavior or performance is unacceptable?
  • Will this person be surprised at being terminated? (Hint: NO ONE should ever be surprised at being fired if you have exhausted all possible ways to keep them as an employee.)

Now, especially if you are moving forward with the termination of the employee, you need to make sure your actions are in compliance with your state’s laws.

The Laws Around Terminations

In the end, every state except Montana is subject to what’s calledat-will employment. In its most basic element, this means that an employer has the right to terminate someone with or without cause, as long as there is nothing else at play (i.e. discrimination, retaliation for a sexual harassment complaint). On the flip side, it does also mean that an employee can walk away from an employer without recourse. However, most people think of it for the employer’s right. Again, remember- it still does not make an illegal act like termination for discrimination, for whistle-blowing, or other retaliation legal.

We recommend you also look here for more detailed laws around termination in your state specifically.

The 5 Steps of an Employee Termination

Once you have made the decision that you will be moving forward with terminating an employee, here are the 5 steps you should take. If you find these steps hard to follow, there is a chance that you should consider a better documentation process of performance or behavior issues, or an implementation of a more formal feedback or performance system.

The 5 steps we will go through are:

o   Step 1: Compiling Documentation

o   Step 2: Create a Termination Plan

o   Step 3: Prepare for the Termination Meeting

o   Step 4: Termination Meeting

o   Step 5: After the Meeting

Need help creating a better performance management system? Send us a message.


Step 1: Before terminating, get your documents together.

First and foremost, compile documentation on performance and behavior for the employee. You may need to involve other team members in this process to collect information or documentation (i.e. an email exchange or something similar). Ensure that team members involved in this process understand the confidential nature of your request.

You’ll also want to compile any documentation you can regarding past actions your company has taken in an effort to rectify the employee’s performance or behavior issues, and consider writing out a timeline of events (especially if a number of verbal warnings or meetings were had). Include dates, times, and who was in attendance. Stick to the facts. 

Here’s a good vs. poor example of how to document employee issues:

GOOD:

“December 12th, 2018, 9 am- Sally was an hour late for her shift. Mark, the manager on shift at the time, had a meeting with her immediately about it in his office. He provided her with an additional copy of the employee time tracking policy, which includes tardiness procedures and outlining the policies of who and how to call in the event that you’re late.”

POOR:

“December 12th, 2018, 9 am- Sally was an hour late to her shift and showed up looking disheveled and looking like she was going to say that her kids made her late again. Mark, the manager, had a meeting with her and informed her that children are not a reason to be late to work.”

When you are creating your documentation, read it back to yourself as if you’re an outside 3rd party (like an attorney). Stick to the facts, and be straightforward with your language – eliminate opinions and hypotheticals.

Now that we have our documentation, let’s create a termination plan.

Noticing you don’t have very much to document the termination? Hint: you might want to wait until you do to avoid risk or other issues.

 

Step 2: Create a termination plan.

Your termination plan should read like a blueprint for the action:

Logistics: Who will be there? When? Where? You will want to answer all of these questions and write down the answers. Think about who else should be present — your attorney? Another of the employee’s supervisors? You should always have a 3rd person as a witness and for safety purposes (as silly as this may sound, it’s a good rule to follow). You may also need to have to provide them with their last paycheck at the end of the meeting. Make sure to check your local legal website to make sure you’re compliant. 

Who else needs to be involved? Make a plan for who needs to know about the termination prior to your meeting, how work will be covered (or shifts), and make sure that the management team is looped in. You will also need to loop in IT in order to cut off passwords, if relevant.

Meeting Agenda: You will need a termination letter, and potentially a separation agreement if you are using severance. which we’ll cover in the next section. 

Have a Termination Checklist: To make sure everything is covered, consider using a checklist.

 

Step 3: Consider all elements. 

Lastly, before the meeting  make should consider the “human” elements of termination. Is this a long-time employee who you might even consider a friend? Think of how you feel about this termination, and take time to consider how management, other team members, and, of course, the soon-to-be-terminated employee might feel about things.

Everyone’s adrenaline will be rushing, so you’ll want to be completely prepared and ready for anything.

To prepare for the termination meeting:

  • Check, and then double check, your termination checklist.
  • Make 2 copies of all documents. 1 for the employee, 1 for your company’s records.
  • Consider creating a script and practicing the meeting. If you have a trusted colleague who knows about the termination, consider some role play and test out three scenarios. The good (the person leaves peacefully), the bad (the person flies off the handle), and the ugly (the person resorts to violence or legal threats).
  • Create an exit plan. You or your witness will need to escort this person off premises for security reasons. Will the person first need to clear their desk, or could you box everything for them and ship it overnight to their home? Think of what’s best for everyone involved, even if it means a few hundred dollars in shipping charges.
  • Consider what else needs to occur, from IT password blocking to collection of company property like a cell phone, laptop, or door key/ FOB and company ID. Have your trusted colleague who is also going to be your witness go over items as well; s/he might think of something you haven’t.
  • You will want to make sure you get the employee’s personal email address and/or phone number if you don’t already have it in order to make sure you can reach them just in case (i.e. a returned W2).

Step 4: Termination Meeting

The time for the meeting is here. Take a deep breath, and gather your preparations and trusted colleague/ witness. Invite the employee to the location, and get to it- deliver the message, provide real reasons (if it’s well documented and not a risk), and then ask the employee if s/he has any questions. Provide them their paperwork, and escort them off the premises (don’t forget to gather that company property!).

In most cases, employees who are terminated actually behave in a way we’d not expect… think of the tough guy you thought would scream at you start to cry. Be sensitive, and allow a person a minute to gather themselves, but continue to iterate that it’s time for them to get going off premises.

If emotions start to run high, invite the employee to leave and that you can answer questions once emotions have died down. If someone has severance, it is advised that they process things for a time period anyway (and if they are over 40, they have 21 days by law). Setting up a follow up meeting or conference call in a secure space with witnesses can be best for everyone once emotions have mellowed.

Once the employee has been safely escorted off premises, you will need to deal with the aftermath.


Step 5: After the Meeting

After the termination meeting, ensure that you:

  • First, inform the team of your actions either via a meeting or an email to the company. Don’t over-dramatize things or go into reasons — and don’t make light of it; this is a big decision that deserves a direct message and then an action plan to how this employee’s work and/or shifts are being covered.

Good Example: “Today we had to let go of Darryl from working at our company. We appreciate his service while here and we will be covering his Monday-Friday 9 am-5 pm shifts with a temp employee we hired from an agency. If you have any questions, please do ask your manager. We appreciate your support.”

Bad Example: “I am sure if comes to no surprise to anyone that we fired Darryl today. Hopefully, this will all help you guys to realize what we mean when we give warnings. We will have each of you pick up a shift of his this week to cover his time while we start to recruit for someone to replace him.”

  • Double check that you have suspended all IT access – email, office, passwords etc., as well as gathered all company property. If you forgot something, carefully consider if there is any risk (i.e. do you need to change a door lock?) or if it can be considered a loss.
  • Remember to terminate the employee on internal systems like payroll, benefits, etc.
  • Remove the employee from the website or marketing materials. You will also need to inform clients, if that’s a part of your business, and introduce them to their new account or company contact. We recommend doing this by email to keep things from being too over dramatic, but if you feel a call is warranted, go ahead and do so. Remember to stay succinct and direct about the events, just like in the company meeting/email.
  • Monitor review sites like Glassdoor or social media, just in case. It’s always good to keep an eye on your company reputation in any case.
  • Do the things you said you were going to do. Mail them their belongings and documents (if applicable) in a timely manner, clean up their desk or workspace so that it doesn’t feel like a “ghost” is around, and move forward with a new hire or temp.

Termination is an unpleasant, but sometimes necessary, experience/thing to do. With the steps above, hopefully you can come to a peaceful, albeit not easy, termination situation, and move everyone at the business forward.

Termination Letter Template

Company Header

Address

Full Date (Month/Day/Year)

[INSERT PREFIX] First and Last Name

Full Address

Dear Employee,

This letter confirms our discussion today that you are being terminated from your employment with Company effective immediately. [Optional: In thanks for your service, we are offering a severance of insert amount. Severance details are provided under separate cover in a longer severance agreement document.]

Your benefits packages will expire on full date.

You are required to return company property via source.

You will receive your final paycheck on date. This includes:

  • Bullet list items such as wages, PTO payout, etc..

You will need to keep the company informed of your contact information so that we are able to provide the information you may need in the future, such as your tax form.

Thank you for your service to the company.

Regards,

Name of Employee’s Superior or HR

Title


Top 10 Termination Tips

 

  1. Confirm and double check all documentation. Gather emails, dates of events and meetings, and physical documentation like paperwork should all be kept in 1 place (consider printing emails).
  2. Check your company policy and ensure everything is consistent and aligned with policy.
  3. Check your local and state laws, even if you are at-will. You will want to make sure you are completely prepared.
  4. Review if you have exhausted every option possible to prevent termination.
  5. Create and practice your termination script, especially if you have attachment to the employee or have not done many terminations before. You might be surprised that you have as much emotion as the person on the other side of the table.
  6. Consider a second opinion, be it another manager, a trusted colleague or fellow business owner, or even your attorney. It will help you to feel at ease with your decision and any risks that might be present.
  7. Always avoid a hasty termination; you never know how you might feel about things in 24 hours (especially if this is a performance termination). If policy is crystal clear (i.e. 5 tardies in 1 month = termination and you have documentation of the tardies), then you can move forward with less caution.
  8. Don’t be afraid to change your mind BEFORE the meeting. While you should never change your mind during the meeting or at the employee’s please (it creates risk and a potential legal situation), don’t be so bullish that you consider giving someone one more warning or coaching session to get them back on track.
  9. Trust your gut…within reason. If you’re gut instinct is sending you one way or the other, trust it… and then support it with documentation.
  10. Consider how to avoid this situation in the future. Is there something that could have been done with training? Management style? How you hired this person? Reflection is key to making your business better, and consider involving other people in this reflection process.
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Onboarding Tips to Engage New Hires

In a recent webinar about onboarding tips to engage new hires, 4 Point Consulting associates shared their wisdom in regards to instilling company culture from day one. Here are a few of the questions from the webinar, as well as answers from our HR and talent acquisition experts.

What are the key milestones in the onboarding sequence that matter? Are there any that HR tends to miss or forget?

Onboarding is commonly thought of to be a process that begins somewhere around an employee’s first day with a new company. However, to truly build retention from day one, an organization will need to change its onboarding timeline to begin as soon as a potential hire becomes aware of the company itself. What a business conveys about itself across social media, its website, etc. will all impact how that future employee will interact with the brand. These opinions will be there on the first day and every day after that.

What fun, innovative or interactive activities have you incorporated to make onboarding more enjoyable and reflective of your culture?

Integrating an experiential ‘human element’ to the on-boarding process is vital — think of the new employee as a ‘culture add,’ not a ‘culture fit.’ To make the new hire truly feel like part of the team, include as many employees as possible. (Even if it’s just a team lunch.) Consider adding a video or unique materials that capture the essence of the company to showcase how important the workforce is to overall success.

Another way to assist a new employee in getting acclimated to the team is to create a volunteer-based buddy or mentor/mentee system. This provides the person with a point of contact for questions that may seem small but can actually be a source of anxiety for a new hire. (“Are these coffee mugs for everyone?”) When assigning a mentor, keep these things in mind:

  1. Personality and communication style
  2. Department location (a mentor will ideally be located in a different department)
  3. Hierarchy (a manager should be mentored by another manager, an associate with another associate)
  4. Context and commonalities (pairing a well-established individual in the field with someone right out of college isn’t an ideal fit.)

How do you measure the effectiveness of cultural onboarding?

While this metric can be more difficult to obtain than traditional measurements, there key areas in which to pay attention. For new hires, continue to check in periodically to garner feedback on their experience. Ask what they liked about their orientation process and if it met their expectations. Look for observable behaviors and pay attention to how the individual talks about the company (e.g. using words like ‘we’ instead of ‘they.’) As an employee progresses in their tenure, periodic surveys can be used to gather valuable feedback. Consider even making these surveys anonymous to encourage more genuine answers.

A long-term method of measuring company culture is reviewing turnover and how the number of employees impacts revenue growth. For example, divide revenue from a profitable point in the company’s fiscal year by the number of employees during that period. Compare that number to more current calculations to gather a broad overview of how workforce size correlates with business growth.

How do you welcome new hires to the company and make them feel like part of the team from day one?

Welcoming an employee to the company is a fun and exciting time, but it can also be extremely overwhelming to the new hire. A welcome email and an onboarding booklet on their desk with answers to simple questions like how to contact the IT department is an ideal place to begin. Consider also adding swag like a coffee mug or water bottle with the company logo for a more branded experience.

To truly make a new hire feel like part of the team from day one, a company should consider abolishing the probation period. In doing so, all insurance and retirement savings plan would be rendered effective on the hire’s first day. In addition to being a cultural tool, this initiative would also act as a strong recruiting tool.

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4 Ways to Make the Application Process Better for Job Candidates

Like politicians, recruiters have a constituency – job applicants! That can be easy for many to forget at times. However, to successfully recruit, you need to find and attract quality candidates. This means making the job application process as easy and seamless as can be.

It’s important to always keep the applicant in mind. If you’re out of touch with how people search and apply for jobs today, it makes your job as a recruiter 10 times harder. Tailoring job applications to the needs of candidates is the only way to go. Here are four ways to make the application process better for job candidates.

1. STREAMLINE THE APPLICATION PROCESS

If you have a tedious job application, you’re going to lose out on qualified candidates. After all, top job candidates are busy people and fielding opportunities left and right. They may also already be working, and don’t have the extra time – or want to spend it – on a lengthy application.

A survey from Indeed found that the median time of a job application for all Fortune 500 companies was 13 minutes. The longest rang in at a whopping 52 minutes! They found that on average, a Fortune 500 company’s application included 63 screener questions. Who’s got the time for that? Nobody wants to wade through a complex job application that feels like an exam. Another recent study found that 30% of candidates will not spend longer than 15 minutes on a job application, and that applications with more than 45 screener questions will lose nearly 89% of applicants who quit before completing it.

When crafting your job applications, be sure they are short, sweet and to the point. Include only a few screener questions that collect absolutely the most important data that you need at the time to make an informed decision on a candidate. Save the rest of your questions for the interviewing process.

Simplify the process as much as you can for candidates. A clean user interface does wonders as it won’t distract applicants with a messy, confusing aesthetic. Test out your application experience as well. Make sure it can accept a variety of document types that a candidate’s resume, cover letter, etc. might come in. If a candidate navigates away from the application for a bit, ensure that their progress will be saved. Finally, asking candidates to create user accounts or provide lots of references and previous work samples will likely turn off many of them. Get around to those when necessary, not at the beginning of the process.

2. MAKE THE APPLICATION PROCESS MOBILE-FRIENDLY

Everything is coming up mobile, including job applications. Many companies have been slow to adopt mobile-friendly job applications despite the fact that 70% of applicants desire the ability to complete an application on their mobile devices. This is causing many companies and recruiters to lose out on qualified job candidates. 20% of applicants surveyed said they’d abandon an application that couldn’t be done on a mobile device. Meanwhile, a whopping 78% of applicants would apply for jobs more using mobile if the process were implemented and streamlined.

Ensure that your mobile job application web page is easy to view and navigate. Making the decision to go mobile with your job applications will attract top talent and reduce the burden of completion and effort on their end. It’s simple to modify a mobile application process so that applicants can quickly and easily apply for your job postings using their LinkedIn accounts. This no fuss application process is catnip for highly qualified candidates.

It’s also beneficial to you as well! Mobile job applications can help you automatically collect important documents, as well as establish more manageable applicant tracking metrics. This leaves recruiters and HR professionals with more time to actually do more pressing work. Why wouldn’t you want to introduce a timelier, more productive application process?

3. UPDATE YOUR APPLICANTS THROUGHOUT THE PROCESS

Don’t leave applicants hanging! Many job candidates are applying for multiple jobs, and they want to be kept in the loop about decisions made in your hiring process so they can manage their applications. It’s important to establish a helpful applicant experience so they feel acknowledged. This boils down to establishing effective communication.

Be sure to let candidates know when you’ve received their applications and what the next steps are in your hiring process. When a candidate advances to the next stage, have an automated message set up that thanks them for their time and details what’s coming next. You could also consider adopting an applicant portal that allows them to log in and track their progress. Even when you decide not to move on with a candidate, it’s important to reach out and let them know.

Constant communication with your applicants is the best way to keep them engaged and excited about the prospect of working for your company. Whether you use emails, calls or texts, just keeping them in the loop does wonders for creating a positive applicant experience. Maintain a human touch as well – simple things like catering your automated messages to include their name makes them feel like more than just cogs in the applicant machine.

4. WALK A MILE IN THE APPLICANT’S SHOES

Being an applicant isn’t easy. The stress of finding and applying for a new job is real, and any kind words you can provide will go a long way. Recruiters should always be empathetic towards job applicants. Understanding what an applicant goes through when they apply and how difficult the process can be will help you tailor your own to better suit candidates and simplify their experience. Establish a friendly, positive rapport with candidates so they feel validated.

In creating a great candidate experience, you’ll be able to build up the reputation of your brand and company. Potential candidates will be more likely to apply if your applicant process has a reputation of being positive and welcoming. This will help you retain a pool of top talent and will drive your recruiting efforts towards greater success in the future.

People talk, especially online. Poor candidate experiences will travel by word of mouth and prevent potential candidates from applying. They can also negatively impact your company as a whole. A survey by CareerBuilder found that 44% of applicants had a worse opinion of a company after applying and not receiving a response, while 32% were less likely to buy products from a company that refused to reply. Bottom line: treat your candidates well. It’s common courtesy and the right thing to do.

CONCLUSION

Implementing these four strategies will ensure that your application process becomes better for all of your job candidates. This will lead to more qualified applicants coming your way, and can help relieve some of the burdens on your recruiting process as well. Want some help making your application process better for job candidates? Contact 4 Point Consulting and schedule a free hour long consultation today!

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Why You Should Embrace Technology in the Hiring Process

In a world where we can order self-driving car services, it boggles the mind how some industries have refused to integrate technological advances into their practices. Human resources and recruiting departments — consider the finger pointed in your direction!

As job candidates continue to become more savvy with the way they search, network and apply for jobs, recruiters can need to be light years ahead when it comes to the use of newfound technology. Outdated, inefficient practices are stifling many recruiting and HR departments, and many of these problems have simple technological fixes practically begging to be used. The future of hiring is here, and it’s time to embrace the technology that is driving it.

NOTEWORTHY RECRUITING TECH TRENDS

It’s important to understand why leveraging technology is essential for recruiters. Below are some trends and statistics that prove those who embrace technology in the hiring process are reaping huge benefits.

So, what lessons can HR professionals and recruiters learn from these statistics? For starters, to remain competitive for top talent, staying plugged into social media is crucial. Additionally, adopting mobile-friendly processes for things like job applications is a much faster and more effective way to attract and connect with a more savvy applicant pool. Leveraging these simple technologies that are easy to adopt and require little in the way of work can speed up any hiring process and make great strides in the way of efficiency and convenience.

Secondly, a more comprehensive hiring system can drastically cut down on inefficiencies that plague the hiring process. Automation is a key component of this, and there are many hiring automation tools and software available that can completely overhaul a bloated and ineffective hiring protocol.

HIRING AUTOMATION TOOLS

To fully embrace technology in the hiring process, you must adopt tools and software that will automate menial tasks and improve the hiring process ten-fold. That’s where hiring automation tools come into play. A comprehensive and tech-fueled hiring solution will enable recruiters to better track applicants and their position in the hiring process. Not only will a hiring automation platform streamline and simplify the hiring process, it will lessen the workload for recruiters and HR departments, siphon administrative costs and help save money in the long run.

TECHNOLOGY IMPROVES THE APPLICANT EXPERIENCE

Hiring is a two-way street — the process and system a company sets up needs to be efficient, effective and inexpensive while attracting the best possible talent around. On the flip side, to get the cream of the crop, recruiters need to keep the applicant experience in mind. Technology can streamline many tedious systems to make a more user-friendly and desirable process for applicants.

Candidate job portals, automatic tools on job boards, employee onboarding portals and referral networks are all great tech solutions to revamp and redefine the hiring process for applicants so it’s not such a time-consuming drag. As a bonus, many of these integrated and automated tools make for a more collaborative hiring experience on both ends that translates into a more cost-effective strategy.

TECH SOLUTIONS TO CONSIDER

  • Justworks: Justworks is the recommended PEO by 4 Point Consulting. Not only is it easy to work with and completely affordable with great customer service, but it also offers great affordable benefits for your employees. What more could you possibly want in a co-employer and PEO as a solution for your HR department needs?
  • BambooHR: BambooHR is a great HR software system that comes highly recommended. BambooHR focuses on everything employees – from performance management to recruiting to onboarding new employees. While they don’t provide benefits or payroll services, they do seamlessly integrate with many of those providers, making it an easy add-on for businesses ready to take their HR efforts to the next level.
  • Harvest: Harvest time-tracking is a fantastic software system for small business owners and HR departments. If you have employees in various locations, Harvest can help you track their time by client and/or by project and create invoices for your services. It also gives you reports on their work in real-time while ensuring you pay them accurately.
  • ApplicantPro: ApplicantPro is an applicant tracking system that creates a custom careers page for your business. This ATS embodies customer service. When it comes to helping you get your recruitment applicant tracking up and running effectively, there’s no better system to have in your corner.
  • DeepTalent: DeepTalent is the recommended performance management and performance review system of 4 Point Consulting. Why? Because it’s reasonably priced, incredibly easy to use and scalable. That means a startup or small business that’s growing can use it without breaking the bank. You’ll be hard pressed to find an easier tech solution for setting up performance reviews and cycles, taking that huge paperwork burden off of your HR department.

CONCLUSION

Whether it’s streamlining an outdated hiring process, more effectively utilizing hiring personnel, shortening the hiring cycle, attracting better quality candidates or decreasing administrative costs, the solutions can almost always be found in technology! There’s no shortage of tech tools and solutions for recruiters and HR professionals when it comes to revolutionizing and improving how hiring gets executed. Don’t you think it’s about time you embrace technology in your hiring and HR processes?
Ask us how! 4 Point Consulting does cost/benefit analyses of software systems, PEOs, benefit providers, and other software systems, as well as implement them, for clients to streamline their processes without any hassle.

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5 Tips for Running an Efficient HR Department

When done well, an HR department can become the nucleus of any company. Much burden is placed on an HR department – it not only has to work towards the growth of the company and help it achieve its goals, but also maintain the culture of the company and protect the wellbeing of each and every employee. That’s a lot to juggle, which means an effective HR department has to be efficient in order to satisfy these lofty duties. Whether you’re a one-person HR machine or have a highly skilled team in place, there are some simple steps you can take that will right the path of any HR department.

Here are five great tips on running an efficient HR department:

TIP #1: BRAINSTORM A STRATEGY

This may sound like a no-brainer, but diving head first into all the duties human resources requires with no solid plan in place will cause you to sink rather than swim. Take some time to devise a strategic plan that hits on how you will implement and achieve goals around everything from recruitment and retention to employee engagement and development. Another great option is to formulate an HR mission statement that will govern your department’s work and tactics. This will put you on the right track to running an efficient HR department

Laying out this sort of strategy will also help you determine the HR department’s role in the overall scheme of the company, and how your department will be able to assist with the growth and success of the company. Once you have a strategic plan in place and have established the goals you need to hit, set up a management process that details how you will go about achieving these goals and monitors your progress.

Not sure where to start? Contact us at hello@4pointconsulting.com and contact us for a free consultation! We implement HR software systems and help companies hire their first HR professional (and we can help you in the interim).

TIP #2: PUT ON A HAPPY FACE

As the human resources department, you’re the welcoming area for new employees into the wild, wonderful world of the company they are about to join. The first impressions new employees will form about a given company are formed based off of their experiences with HR. An HR department that runs efficiently goes a long way towards inspiring confidence in new hires about the company they’re joining, as well as keep the current team churning and burning at a high level.

To ensure that employees have a positive first impression, an HR department should go out of their way to ensure an employee’s initial satisfaction and offer assistance to any and all needs a new employee may have. One way to get ahead of this and show that you’ve really got your stuff together is to develop a straightforward and useful employee handbook that addresses everything from company culture, etiquette, dress and attendance policies, expense procedures and more. Take some time to go over this with new employees and let them know that if they have any questions or concerns, your doors are always open.

We create employee handbooks for a reasonable project-based fee. You can customize your handbook with our handbook “menu”. Contact 4 Point at hello@4pointconsulting.com for more details and, if you cite this blog, we will deduct 20% off our estimated price for you.

TIP #3: ENCOURAGE EMPLOYEE FEEDBACK

Employee feedback and engagement is a crucial component in human resources. If you don’t create an open, welcoming environment where employees fill they can come to discuss any problems or concerns freely, it can stifle productivity, disrupt a harmonious company culture and lead to poor employee retention. All of these will make your job much harder in the long run. To avoid these problems and keep your department running smooth and efficient, set up a system that provides employees with real-time feedback.

By keeping this instant line of communication open, you’re not only giving employees the peace of mind to express their opinions, but you’re also bestowing upon them a more frequent delivery of performance feedback that will undoubtedly yield higher quality results and ensure their long-term happiness and success. Just like that, your employee retention rate is rock solid. Rather than hold monthly, quarterly or even yearly performance reviews and feedback meetings, an open, available system will reduce the burden on the HR department, save time and resources and will allow you to correct issues before things get too out of hand.

TIP #4: EMBRACE TECHNOLOGY

Technology is your friend! This cannot be overstated enough when it comes to running an efficient HR department. There are so many free or low cost tech tools out there that specialize in streamlining and automating the HR workflow. These include hiring automation software like BambooHR, electronic applicant systems like ApplicantPro, Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs) like JustWorks, electronic documentation signing and much more. Not only will these technological wonders save you time and money, they will drastically improve the efficiency and communication within your HR department and leave you more accessible and open to taking care of your employees (like Tip #3 suggests).

Technology isn’t just good for HR administrative duties or recruitment efforts. Once you use all of these handy, convenient tools to recruit and hire employees more efficiently, you can also use some of them to manage and help you retain them as well. Talent management software like DeepTalent is a great way to track, develop and retain your employees without placing too much manual burden on your HR department. You can do everything from performance assessments to rewarding your top employees through these systems, saving you even more time and money and ensuring that the people you hire stick around because they’re growing and thriving.

TIP #5: GO PAPERLESS

Arguably the biggest key to running an efficient HR department is organization. If your department looks like a tornado ran through it with papers everywhere and no discernible organizational structure, you’re going to be wasting a lot of valuable time simply rummaging around. In fact, more than $1.5 trillion a year is spent on dealing with the hassle of organizing, reformatting and uploading paperwork. There’s a simple solution to all of this that is also eco-friendly: going paperless!

Yes, going paperless can take considerable time and effort, but those short-term hurdles end up paying off in spades in the long run. Going paperless will drastically reduce the time you spend searching for documents, plus electronic storage of documents is also a much more secure and reliable means of accessing and remaining compliant with important employee information like healthcare. Boost your efficiency and organization and save your time, money and the planet by going paperless.

Need help going paperless? Try BambooHR. They can store all of your documents and get e-signatures right in the software.

These five tips will greatly bolster your running an efficient HR department. Here’s a sixth tip on the house: 4 Point Consulting is also available to help you get your HR department running smooth and efficient. An hour long consultation is free – simply contact us through the form on our website or email us at hello and we will get back to you within 24-48 hours!

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How to Ensure You Hire the Right Employee

So, you’ve decided you need to fill out your ranks and bring a new team member(s) on board to help your company achieve greater success – fantastic! However, don’t let that enthusiasm make you too trigger-happy when it comes to finding that special somebody for the position. After all, hiring the right employee is a big undertaking, one that can quite literally cause your business to thrive or die.

Hiring the wrong person for the job is not only a waste of an HR department’s valuable time and resources, it’s a costly endeavor that can have negative ramifications for your company’s work environment.

Hiring the right employee, however, will reap many benefits. Not only will you be confident in your choice that this person can execute the job like a champ, but you’ll have hired someone who is a boon to employee productivity, gels well with your existing workforce and becomes a profitable asset.

So, let’s dive into it and talk about how to ensure you hire the right employee for your business:

Figure Out Your Hiring Needs

Before you even begin your search and start in on all of that recruiting, you need to have a clear idea of what your staffing needs are. Simply filling a position with someone before you know the full structure and scope of the value they’ll add to your team and how they can contribute to your business is a huge error.

Defining the position, knowing what qualifications and experience you want someone to bring, establishing the positive impact such a position will have on your company – then, and only then, are you ready to dip your toes into the talent pool.

Hint – you probably need a create a job description. Feel free to ask us at 4 Point for help on that so you can be confident that you’ll hire the right employee!

Streamline Your Hiring Process

Once you know exactly who it is you’re looking for in terms of the capabilities, education, skills and knowledge of potential candidates, make the recruiting and hiring process easy on yourself. This means maximizing your time and minimizing your hiring costs. A candidate may look good on paper, but a resume doesn’t tell you the whole story. That’s why it’s important to pre-screen candidates to save valuable time during the interview process.

A prescreening questionnaire or quick 5-10 minute phone interview will bridge the gap between paper and person, letting you know for sure whether an individual might be the best fit for the job. When it comes time to get to the actual interviews, it all comes down to asking the right questions in order to hire the right employee. Tailoring the questions specifically to the position will help you weed out the duds from the winners.

Keep Your Company’s Culture in Mind

You’ve already got an existing workforce that hopefully works like a well-oiled machine. You’ve no doubt established a specific working environment that works best for your company and those it employs. It’s important to keep this in mind in order to hire the right employee. You want to find someone who can fit in seamlessly, not someone who might struggle with or disrupt your company’s culture.

Ascertaining a candidate’s social skills and asking them about previous working environments and relationships is a great way of discerning if they might be compatible for your company. One of the best ways to get an inside peek at the more personal and social aspects of a candidate is to go to the heart of the matter – their social media presence. You can discover a lot of helpful information about a candidate based on their social media profiles, granting you valuable insights on who they are and what makes them tick.

Commitment Is Key

One of the most overlooked aspects when it comes to vetting candidates is how committed they are to their careers, and how loyal they have been to their past employers. A candidate who has bounced around from job to job without setting up roots is probably someone who lacks loyalty to an employer or cause, and is instead looking to solely climb the corporate ladder. If you see a candidate who looks like a skills fit, but has jumped around – ask them about it! Gauge their response – was it bad luck or do they lack commitment?

Pay close to attention to the duration of each of their previous positions – this can tell you a lot about the candidate’s professionalism and devotion to their career. The best candidates will possess an unbridled willingness to work with you and your company.

Consult Your Coworkers

Ensuring you hire the right employee for your company isn’t a solo endeavor. Rather, you should include your coworkers in the interviewing and evaluation process. Sure, this may lead to a flood of different opinions, but it usually results in better overall hires.

Just make sure everyone is on the same page about the position’s needs. This can be achieved through simple recruitment planning meetings so you can establish a firm strategy that governs the process. You’ll want to know the impression a candidate leaves on others to get a better overall picture of who they are – after all, you won’t be the only person working with them.

The End-All

Hiring the right employee will help your company accomplish their goals, bolster your workforce, increase employee morale and set your company on a path towards greater success. These simple considerations above can make all the difference when it comes to picking the right person for the job.
If you need help on any of the steps, don’t hesitate to reach out to 4 Point Consulting for help. An hour long consultation is free – simply contact us through the form on our website and we will get back to you within 24-48 hours!

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Paternity Leave Policy- Best Practices & How to Administer a Policy

Paternity leave, and family leave in general, is a hot topic these days as work/life balance, work/life integration, and other buzzwords float around that try to support Americans in their quest for both work and a family.

Check out Christy’s full advice here in her work with Fit Small Business on everything you need to know about paternity policies as a small business owner or HR manager- from a policy template to how to administer one and what other business owners are doing.

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Top 5 Free Recruiting Strategies

The process of hiring new employees can be quite expensive, with the recruiting process being the most expensive aspect. With recruiting, there are both internal (i.e. internal cost of paying internal recruiters) and external (i.e. background checks, drug screens, etc.) cost associated.  Well, below we have listed the top 5 FREE recruiting strategies.

Free Recruiting Strategy 1: Employee Referral Program

Companies can easily recruit for great candidates through their current workers. It’s no secret that companies gauge employee satisfaction through their willingness to refer others to work there, so why not actually allow them the opportunity to do so. With the development of an employee referral program, companies can relieve their talent acquisition department the hassle of recruiting and allow their employees the chance to recruit while making money. Not to mention the current workers are more likely to recommend workers with similar work ethics, which could improve employee retention (assuming that they have a great work ethic of course). Creating an Employee Referral Program could definitely be a cost effective win-win for both the employees and the company! #Winning

Free Recruiting Strategy 2: Using Your Own Network

Using your own network is a simple, yet effective recruiting tool. It’s as simple as asking some of your colleagues and/or closest friends. It can also be a simple as posting on any form of social media as well. LinkedIn has become a great online platform for finding candidates. Companies can actually post the job in the job section or simply make a post online. Also, companies can use their own social media pages, such as Facebook and Twitter, to advertise their open positions. Considering how much people are on social media, it could actually generate a quicker response rate than the usual recruiting tactics.

Free Recruiting Strategy 3: Free Job Posting Sites

There are also some websites that will allow you to post jobs for free as well. One of the most popular and most obvious ones is Indeed.com. Indeed, the world’s largest job search engine, allows free job posting with pay-per-click options and the ability to create a budget for the role. Indeed also has a free resume database that can be used to for searching and messaging candidates. Another website option for free job postings is Wisestep. Wisestep allows companies to post as many jobs and search as many candidates as they would like. An additional advantage to using Wisestep is that it syncs through social media and email to send the job links out to your current network. There are more free job posting websites, which can be found in this article that Christy wrote.

Free Recruiting Strategy 4: Keep Track of Old Applicants

Another free recruiting strategy would be simply keeping track of old applicants, which can be done through an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). Through the applicant tracking systems, the company can easily build a network of potential candidates who may still be interested in opportunities. There are a variety of Applicant Tracking Systems available. However, there are three (Workable, BreezyHR, and ApplicantPro) that we have reviewed and found to be quite beneficial to small businesses. All three of the Applicant Tracking Systems offer free trials, are reasonably priced and easy to setup. Feel free to check out our full review of those Applicant Tracking Systems from our work with Fit Small Business.

Free Recruiting Strategy 5: Community Work

As mentioned before, a person’s own personal network can be a great place to look for candidates. An area of their personal network that would be beneficial would be their affiliations with any local community organizations. Involvement in local charities or any community events naturally expands one’s network, which could be a great way to meet potential candidates for your business. Volunteering and/or being involved in the community takes initiative and shows that the person is dedicated and passionate about the work that they are doing with the organization, which are all qualities that companies look for in a great worker. (Hints as to why this would be a great place to look!)

Overall, these five recruiting strategies are very simple, FREE ways to recruit great talent for your business. Considering how time consuming, expensive and stressful recruiting can be, it is important that smaller business find options that work best for them while still managing to help them pool great candidates. Happy hunting!

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Creative Ways to Find Employees

Sometimes posting on jobs boards isn’t enough to help you find new employees. And then, paying to get your posting “upgraded” or sponsored on those boards can be cost prohibitive (and bring limited results in my experience).

Never fear- through my work with Fit Small Business, we spoke to tons of resources who are small business owners like you and came up with 29 ways to find employees and compiled them here in this article.