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HR Practices for Hiring and Managing Your Small Food Business's Team

Your team is the heart of your food services business. Without managers, cooks, chefs, bartenders, and servers, even the best-conceived business plan wouldn't have the manpower to get off the ground.

But hiring and managing a team can be tricky. For instance, you want to employ people who believe in your vision and have the talent to make it a reality. You want a staff that exemplifies your company's culture. And all the while, you must comply with ever-changing employment laws and regulations.

So what's a small-business owner to do? Fortunately, a little common sense and planning can go a long way toward helping your build and manage your dream team.

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HR Tips for Small Businesses

HR Tips for Small Businesses

Let's take a look at some basic HR practices that can help you hire and retain your best and brightest employees:

Learn how to interview job candidates.

Interviewing can help you assess how a candidate will fit in with your company and which valuable skills they bring to the table. However, conducting a successful interview requires that you ask…

  • Behavioral questions.
  • Open ended questions.
  • Questions based on work experience.

Remember that it is illegal to ask an employee about their nationality, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, or about their health. There are countless resources online that can help you hone your interviewing skills and structure your questions. For starters, read the SBA's article, "4 Interview Questions That Get to the Heart of a Candidate's Potential."

Compete with larger employers for top talent.

When your business is in its earliest stages, you likely won't have the extra financial resources to recruit potential staff members. So keep track of potential leaders and talented folks when you meet them. For example, if someone impresses you with their service, friendliness, or culinary skill, ask them for their contact information. Even if they aren't available immediately, you never know what the connection could lead to in the future.

And while you may not be able to compete monetarily with corporate companies in the food industry, you can leverage the appeal of working for a small startup to win over candidates. For example, you can offer perks that your corporate competitors may not be able to match, such as…

  • Contributing to a health club membership.
  • Offering free shift meals.
  • Letting your employees take PTO for their immediate family members' birthdays.

Get creative and consider what extras might win you over if you were on the other side of the job application.

Create an "About Us" section on your website.

We've already discussed the importance of creating a website for your food business for your marketing efforts. You can make the site work for your HR needs, by including…

  • A "Career Opportunities" page.
  • An "About Our Company" page.

These sections will be one of the first places people look when trying to learn more about your business. Use these pages to showcase your company culture so you can better appeal to the type of candidates you'd like working for your business. Include pictures of your leaders and spell out your company's values. Visitors should leave with a strong impression of what makes your business tick.

Become a better boss.

A good boss is one of the primary incentives for employees to give their best and to invest themselves in your business's success. A good leader…

  • Knows when to give constructive criticism.
  • Rewards good work.
  • Offers consistent feedback.
  • Mentors and coaches employees.
  • Makes informed decisions.
  • Communicates clearly.
  • Has a fine-tuned sense of empathy.

Clearly define expectations.

In a perfect world, the ideal job candidate may indeed by a mind reader. But chances are such a person does not exist (or at the very least, they wouldn't have to work since they'd probably use their powers to select winning lottery numbers).

In addition to strong and supportive leadership, organizational clarity is a must if you want to retain the talent you've hired. You can do this by…

  • Creating employee handbooks that define company procedures and employee obligations.
  • Designing employee orientation to introduce the many facets of your business, how these facets work together, and the resources available to help your employees perform their jobs well.
  • Clearly defining business goals, philosophies, rules, language, and culture, and explaining the importance of each.

As with all aspects of running a business, consistency is key. If you want to change a policy, put it in writing and introduce the change to your employees formally.

Small Business Insurance: Protecting Your Employees

Small Business Insurance: Protecting Your Employees

When you hire employees, small business insurance may be mandatory for your business, depending on where you live. For example, most states require employers to carry Workers' Compensation Insurance in case an employee is injured while performing their work. To learn what your state's laws require, talk to one of our licensed insurance agents today.

More HR Resources for Food Services Business Owners

More HR Resources for Food Services Business Owners

Read these articles for more tips on hiring and managing practice for your small food business:

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