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A smart business owner knows that a company is only as good as its employees. You need people who are right for the job and are committed to doing it well. Naturally, you need to find someone with the right skill set, but that’s just one thing you should look at when evaluating prospective employees. Before you make your next hire, remember that lower employee turnover means less time and money spent finding, interviewing and training new hires. In fact, according to AARP, replacing an experienced worker at any age can cost 50 percent or more of the individual’s annual salary in turnover-related costs ― with even higher costs for jobs requiring specialized skills, advanced training or extensive experience. This makes finding the right employee the first time around that much more critical.


What makes a great employee?

Consider these five factors when hiring your next employee:

  1. Attitude: As a business owner, you need to surround yourself with people who support your vision and goals. Look for people who exude a positive outlook and tenacity ― both traits that help an employee better respond to challenges when they arise.
  2. Communication skills: Being able to effectively communicate with others is essential ― and you need someone who has both excellent verbal and written communication skills. Look for a person who is able to communicate clearly in person, as well as over the phone and via email.
  3. Creativity: A person who can help you think of new ― and potentially better ― ways of doing things is someone you’ll want on your team. Thinking “outside the box” is also helpful if conflicts or problems arise. A person who is able to think creatively is more likely to embrace the challenge and find a solution that others may not have considered.
  4. Integrity: Business owners need to be able to trust that the people they employ will follow through on the things they say they will do. For example, if an employee promises a customer an answer within a certain time frame, he or she needs to follow through on that promise to maintain the integrity of the business.
    You might also consider running a background check on prospective employees to ensure they are trustworthy ― particularly if their job deals with the business finances or handling money. To learn more about the types of background checks you can and can’t conduct, consult the Small Business Administration’s Guide to Employee Background Checks.
  5. Personality: Although certain personality traits ― such as confidence, self-motivation and energy ― are a great fit with any type of job, you also need to make sure the person you hire is a good match for your company’s culture. For example, if your company is very casual and creative, someone who’s a little more buttoned up may have trouble fitting in. Do your best to find employees who will be comfortable in your work environment. After all, the happier they are at work, the more likely they’ll be to stick around.

It may be a bit of a cliché, but your employees really are your most valuable business resource. Taking the time to make the right hire will make your team that much stronger, and will save you money in the long run.

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