Ben Bierman
JOHANNESBURG - Attracting and retaining experienced and high-performing employees can be challenging for business. A Business Partners Limited SME Index survey conducted during the second quarter of 2017 found that small businesses had an average confidence level of only 58 percentage points in finding and retaining staff with the right skillset and expertise. 

SME owners often believe that they don’t have the time or resources available to manage the business’s human resources needs. As a result, SME owners find themselves clueless when the need arises to hire new staff or manage employees’ needs.

The key to effective human resources and talent management for businesses is the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) and Labour Relations Act (LRA), as they stipulate the dos and don’ts for employees and employers, such as the particulars of employment, remuneration and leave regulations. 

Here are five ways that business owners can ensure they attract and retain the best employees possible:

1. Get it right. 
Businesses need to ensure they find the right talent from the get-go There are various measures that can be put in place to assist with the recruitment process such as a clear job description and advertise this brief on all relevant platforms that are available and affordable 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.

2. Monitor progress
Human resources management does not end once a staff member is appointed. Businesses need to pay attention to employees’ needs on an ongoing basis. At least two formal performance reviews should take place annually. This will help in ascertaining whether the employer is happy with the level and quality of work being performed, satisfied with his or her working conditions, job description and role and further training and development opportunities.

3. Appreciation
For many employees, reasons to stay in a particular job are not only limited to the salary. Staff need to feel valued for their contribution. A big selling point for small businesses is their  smaller size team, which can create a welcoming environment and close knit culture.

4. Non-tangible benefits
This is where small businesses have the upper hand on larger organisations. While bigger
organisations may be in a position to offer a larger salary and more attractive benefits, a small
business can craft and implement their own unique employee value proposition, both with tangible and non-tangible aspects. The tangible benefits entail monthly remuneration and bonuses. Considerations for these include flexible working hours, training opportunities or the occasional informal team social activity.

5. Professional growth and development
Possibly 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 and allows for added professional experience. In larger organisations, however, one finds that the prospect of being exposed to a wider range of duties is limited, as work is often compartmentalized, which can leave employees feeling like there is little room for professional growth.

At the end of the day, human resources management is a key business function that must be given adequate attention should a business want to grow and attract the best employees.If businesses want to attract and retain the right type of individual, they need to fully understand what is important to their employees. 

Ben Bierman is the Managing Director at Business Partners Limited