Yaneek Page, Contributor
I am in construction and civil engineering for a period of time now and I am opening my own office soon and need your advice on the following: recruiting staff, salary for staff, getting connected with the right bank, how to market my business effectively and connection with organisation that will benefit my young construction company.
BUSINESSWISE: Congratu-lations on taking the bold step of opening an office and for asking some important questions, particularly those related to staff. I can't answer all your questions in one column so I will address the first two now and the others in upcoming articles.
Recruiting staff is one of the most critical processes for a business as employees can literally make or break your company.
First, you should clearly define and document the purpose of the position and what the employee will be required to do. This includes duties and responsibilities, targets and objectives, persons with whom the employee will interact, experience, skills, knowledge, attitude and education required.
You should then use the information to craft a job description and an advertisement for the position. Be sure to develop a checklist of criteria that the prospective employee must meet.
How and where you advertise the position is important. I'm assuming you are planning to hire an office supervisor or customer service officer, in which case, you should advertise the position in the career section of the newspaper rather than the employment classifieds.
Since your business is new and relatively unknown, I suggest including the name of your company and a short descriptive statement about it - something like this, 'Gibbon Limited, an innovative construction & engineering company invites suitably qualified professionals to fill the post of customer service officer'.
Good job candidates will want to know the company to which they are applying and may be hesitant to respond to vague advertisements.
You will no doubt receive a flood of applications. Review them carefully and make a short list of candidates to be interviewed using the criteria developed earlier.
Create an application form and have applicants complete same prior to being interviewed. The form should include questions on career goals, expected salary, previous salary, former employers and references, etc.
In the interview, focus on accomplishments, attitude, and past performance rather than educational background, which can be verified later.
Also include an assessment component such as responding to a scenario or drafting a document, which enables you to assess the skills and capacity of the applicant.
After selecting the best candidate you must verify qualifications and professional references, especially from previous employers. You should also do a Google search of the individual to ensure he or she is the right fit for the company and to avoid any unpleasant surprises.
Since good employees are in high demand and many prefer to work for larger, well established companies than for smaller start-ups, it is important that you offer a competitive salary - particularly since you may not be able to offer the best health, uniform, leave and pension benefits.
You can benchmark your offer against industry standards.
The Jamaica Employers Federation produces an annual salary survey which captures average salaries for most jobs in all major industries. However, you must take note of the applicant's expected salary and potential value to the company.
Qualified, top-performing employees who earn less than their worth will constantly search for better opportunities outside your company.
Be sure to implement a performance evaluation system to help you assess job performance on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis.
Performance evaluations also force you to set specific targets and deliverables for employees which helps them focus on important objectives and holds them accountable for job performance.
Once you are ready to hire, prepare an employment contract outlining the terms and conditions of employment. Upon hiring, you should take new employees through an orientation process during which they tour the office, receive training, and learn about the company history, policies, procedures, values, and so on.
Recruiting and hiring staff requires a considerable amount of time, patience and skill, so you should carefully consider your capacity to do this.
Another option would be to hire a professional human resource company to do this for you. Just remember that hiring the wrong employee may be extremely expensive.
Lastly, employees have rights and being an employer comes with immense responsibility including occupational health and safety and statutory obligations.
Learn about Jamaica's labour laws by visiting the library of the Jamaica Employers Federation or reviewing www.hrmaj.org and www.jtug.info/labour-laws.html .
Yaneek Page is a trainer in entrepreneurship and workforce innovation. Send feedback to email@example.com and visit www.theinnovatorsbootcamp.com