Sheryl-Ann Mullings-Black, HR Consultant….

Even though you are a small business owner that is selling fast food, it does not mean you need to shape your hiring decisions to fit your product. According to Joel Peterson, Chairman of JetBlue Airways in a Recruiting & Hiring LinkedIn article: “Too often, managers under pressure settle for the “fast-food hire”. When you’re famished, the lines at that healthy salad joint always seem so long, but a burger, shake and fries are right around the corner. You figure you can work off the pounds — or deal with the stomach ache — later.” This is probably a common practice among South Florida-based Caribbean business owners. These entrepreneurs are pressed for time and quite anxious about getting their businesses off the ground to safe financial footing, so they may not readily consider the long term human resource implications of their “fast-food hiring” practices. See: http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20130530085254-11846967-top-10-hiring-mistakes-2-fast-food-hiring.

HR image 1Business owners should invest requisite time and resources in order to source the top talent for their businesses as well as consider seriously the potential ramifications of hiring a representative that is not the best fit. Providing tools for employee satisfaction should be a top priority, also there should also be tools for employee engagement. Herein lies the alignment of business strategy with HR strategy which includes effective recruiting and workforce planning.

Workforce planning should not only be limited to compensation and benefits either, but should also include workplace safety communication and not just those mandated by the state or federal government. The extra effort at communication will likely convey an element of corporate social responsibility and should not be too much for the “little man” to invest in because of anticipated positive returns. Such returns include overall employee engagement, which will in turn lead to greater employee commitment, then greater sales and hence greater profits.  According to an ADP Research Institute talent management article: Employee satisfaction is vital for a positive work environment but it may not necessarily lead to employee retention that will garner a competitive edge. See: http://www.adp.com/tools-and-resources/adp-research-institute/insights/insight-item-detail.aspx?id=EB182F99-8C56-43B7-9559-5E085238496E.

If businesses fail to incorporate some form of HR strategy with business strategy, then they are likely to have mediocre staff providing services and making products. It does not take much to invest in either. A small business owner can take the initiative to meet regularly with employees, solicit input regarding products and services, and implement these suggestions where possible, as well as show appreciation to said employees for their input.

Appreciation can take the form of monthly or bi-yearly employee recognition, extra personal days, or gift cards to name a few. A great tool for determining what employees would like as tokens of appreciation is a good old suggestion box. The key here is for the business owner to ensure that he/she actually uses all or at least some of the suggestions where feasible and if it is not, then communicate this to the employees with a promise to revisit in a specific timeline. Employees are more understanding than many may think and will react more favorably to this proactive approach, rather than be reactive to a non-communicative approach.

The result? A win-win for clients, employees, and owners.