Small businesses can compensate employees with much more than just an income
“Many small business owners often believe they do not have the time or resources to manage their company’s HR needs, and as a result, run into problems when hiring new staff or managing employees’ needs.”
However, said Gerschwyne van Wyk, Business Partners Namibia’s Country Manager, “if small and medium enterprise (SME) owners [want] to grow their businesses, they will eventually need to increase their staff complement and if this process is not managed effectively, it can become a serious burden to the business owner.” He emphasised the importance, even for small businesses, to have a good HR management system in place.
First and foremost, business owners need to find the right talent. “While this is easier said than done, there are various measures that business owners can put in place to assist with the recruitment process. Start with a clear job description and advertise this brief on all relevant platforms that are available to the business. When interviewing potential candidates, it is important to pose the same questions to all interviewees so that an accurate comparison can be made,” he said.
“The HR process does not end once a staff member is appointed to a particular position. Business owners need to pay attention to employees’ needs on an ongoing basis. At least two formal performance reviews should take place annually – both to determine if the employer is happy with the level and quality of work being performed, and whether the employee is satisfied with his or her working conditions, job description and role, as well as training and development opportunities,” he continued.
In terms of retaining good staff, van Wyk said that for many employees, reasons to stay in any particular job are not only limited to the amount of money deposited into their bank accounts at the end of each month. “Staff need more than a monthly salary – they need to feel valued for their contribution to their company and its bottom line.”
This he sees as one of the advantages smaller companies have over larger organisations. “While such organisations can perhaps offer larger salary packages which appear more attractive, a small business can craft and implement its own unique employee value proposition, both with tangible and non-tangible aspects,” he said.
Tangible aspects, he explained, typically entail monthly remuneration and bonuses. “Considerations when formulating the non-tangible aspects include the so-called ‘fringe benefits’ such as free parking, flexi-hours, training opportunities or the occasional lunch from the business.”
However, the biggest advantage that small businesses have is their ability to involve staff in a wider range of responsibilities, which is necessitated by the size of the business. “In larger organisations, one finds that the ability to be exposed to a wider range of duties is limited, as work is compartmentalised. Another big selling point for small businesses is their smaller team size, which can create a welcoming environment and close-knit culture,” he said.
If SMEs want to attract and retain good staff they need to understand fully what is important to their employees. “Methods of retention can come in many forms, from professional and personal development, time off, reward and recognition, to pay and working hours. Ultimately, retaining quality employees requires that periodical discussions are held, whereby the focus is on the employee’s engagement levels and what is important to them,” he concluded.