North Wales Management School - Wrexham University

Building a successful workforce as a small business owner

Posted on: August 24, 2019
Building a successful workforce as a small business owner

One of the biggest problems any company faces is finding great employees. Whilst building a hardworking and dedicated team can accelerate company growth, taking on staff who aren’t up to the job, or don’t fit with the company culture, can be a big drag on a small business.

How to recruit and grow your team effectively and with as few mistakes as possible? Here are five pointers for starters:

Find the right people

Before starting the recruitment process, make a list of attributes that your ideal candidate should have. Rather than obsessing over qualifications, decide which characteristics are required for the role. Think about the ‘brand’ you’re trying to create and write down what you want your company’s culture, values and ways of working to be. Do staff need to be bright, friendly, enthusiastic, hardworking or able to work well under pressure? Don’t dismiss those returning from career breaks either; they may have lots of experience and transferrable skills that could be ideal for the job. Who better to deal with an irate customer than someone who’s spent the past year reasoning with a difficult toddler?

Get it in writing

Once you’ve found the right person for the job, get the paperwork right. Both employee and employer are vulnerable if there isn’t a written agreement in place that clearly states what the employer wants from the employee, and what the employee can expect from the employer in terms of pay, working hours, holiday entitlement and benefits, amongst other things. A contract protects employers just as much as it does employees. The government website,, provides essential information.

Ensure you have the right insurance

Part of taking care of employees is making sure they’re safe at work through regular health and safety assessments. Also, every company needs to have employers’ liability insurance as soon as it makes its first hire, just in case it needs to pay for compensation claims resulting from workplace injury. Having the right insurance provides employers with peace of mind so that as the business grows, health and safety risks are also under control.

Give feedback – and encouragement

It’s important to be clear with employees with regards to what is expected of them. If someone’s doing a great job then make sure the rest of the team know, so they can become a role model for them. Equally, if a worker isn’t living up to expectations then employers shouldn’t just ignore it and hope they’ll improve. If an employee isn’t realising their full potential, then neither is the business.

Think about retention

If a company has a high employee churn it could have a tangible impact on the businesses revenues and profits. Most small businesses won’t be able to offer the same salary or career prospects as a larger company, so they need to be more creative in how they attract and retain the right people. Offering your best workers something that means a lot to them, like a family ticket to a theme park or a spa day, could provide an alternative to performance-based bonuses that are out of reach to smaller businesses. Other benefits that don’t cost the earth, such as flexible working arrangements or a birthday day off, can also help workers feel that their employer cares. Creating the right culture also has a huge impact on retention, and in small businesses it’s often easier to curate a great one. With fewer people and less bureaucracy it’s easier to both establish relationships and the right working environment.

Food for thought? Wrexham University offer a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) Human Resource Management degree with a focus on the key skills required of successful HR professionals. Covering talent development, reward management, resourcing and strategic HR frameworks, in addition to key business disciplines including finance, strategy and marketing – developing practical and theoretical business leadership skills. This completely online MBA, industry-led and career-focused MBA is designed to enable you to fast track your career. You’ll study at your own pace, on your own terms, whenever you are ready, and there are flexible pay-per-module payment options, plus postgraduate government loans to cover the full programme cost, for those that are eligible.

For more information, or to enrol, visit