Employees are the lifeblood of any organization. For small businesses in particular, hiring and retaining the right team is essential to keeping operations moving seamlessly. Unlike large companies, small businesses usually don’t have an HR team dedicated to creating performance rewards or flexible working schemes. What small businesses lack in resources, however, they make up for in engagement. Having a smaller staff means owners know their staff on a more personal level. This way, they can really understand their day-to-day needs.
Despite these benefits, the fluctuating job market sometimes dictates the longevity of an employee’s tenure. Losing strong employees becomes a concern since it can mean lost productivity and expenses needed to recruit and train someone new.
Dawn Fay of staffing firm Robert Half explains, “At a small business, everyone is that much more important; you’re a bigger piece of the pie. There’s the cost of losing someone, but you also run the risk of losing other employees or burning people out as they carry a larger workload, which can affect your client service and product and ultimately impact your revenue.”
One company that has grown successfully while still remaining fairly small is Jorlee Holdings Ltd., a Toronto company that provides funding for construction and development projects. At any given time, Jorlee Holdings funds over 50 to 100 projects and is recognized as one of the top construction lenders in Ontario by its peers. Leading the business is founder and owner Sheldon Barris who says having a smaller staff allows for a higher quality of value to the company’s clients.
“I’ve purposely kept my staff small so we can continue to provide developers and builders with the kind of personal attention they’ve come to expect from us. It’s really about valuing quality over quantity, in my opinion. I hire people who are very good at what they do, and each person on staff is extremely knowledgeable in his or her area of expertise. We provide a high level of value to our clients,” says Sheldon Barris.
Barris also believes that it is important to motivate your staff by always keeping the lines of communication open and to treat each team member with respect.
“I give them support, coaching and autonomy and let them know that they can always talk with me, whether that’s to run an idea by me, seek counsel or simply discuss a project. Employees want to feel appreciated and know that they’re making valuable contributions toward the success of the business,” Sheldon Barris adds.
For businesses just getting established, it may be more economical to hire a small staff to handle some of the day-to-day operations. Founded by entrepreneur couple Hanna and Mark Lim, Lollaland, which produces infant/toddler goods that are functional and fun, got to the point where hiring someone to help became necessary. “We did the math and realized it would be much more economical by as much as 30% to rent our own warehouse and hire a warehouse manager/employee. Not only did this move save us money, but we were able to better service our smaller independent stores, whose orders were often quite unique,” explains the company owners.