5 creative ways to staff your small business

5 creative ways to staff your small business

Smart staffing is more than just finding someone to fill a vacancy.  It’s about growing your business, mitigating risk, maximising productivity and increasing profitability.  More and more, clever SMEs are taking the time to staff differently using varied resourcing models to achieve these results without the usual overheads or staff turnover.

Flexible work practices

Staffing differently is all about flexibility for your business, as well as for your employees.  Once upon a time, flexible work practices meant the option to work from home or job sharing.  These days, flexibility can mean almost anything, providing you stay within the confines of the law.

Types of employment

Traditionally, employing someone meant making a decision between permanent and fixed term, part-time, casual and contract arrangements.

Depending on the nature of your business, you might tap into the apprentice system to gain entry level staff and access to incentives. Alternatively, you might opt to rely on employment agency staff to fill short-term needs.  But have you considered other options?

Other options for your business

  • Job sharing:  Two heads are better than one.  A study by emerging HR company Gemini3 shows that 86 per cent of millennials in Australia are interested in job sharing.  People want lifestyle choices and you want employees who’ll stay, are easy to backfill if they get sick, or who can take on extra work when you are busy.  Allowing to staff member to share a role gives you all of this and more.

  • The Gig Economy:  Mixing freelancers with permanent staff, and making them part of the team is increasingly common.  A 2016 study of over 600+ companies found that 93 per cent of companies employed freelancers or contractors.  Engaging freelancers, particularly for set projects, can be a great way of ensuring you have access to the skills you need without leave liabilities and other staffing overheads.

  • Casualisation of the workforce:  Good or bad, casual positions make sense for many SMEs.  Be conscious that for your employees’ casual contracts come without security which does impact on employee reliability and turnover.  The upside is that you can adjust casual hours to match your needs.

  • Contractors:  Ideal for specialist positions like bookkeepers, contract positions reduce overheads. Typically, these professionals are responsible for their own professional development and accreditations.  This is another cost saving for you.

  • Work from home:  Reduce your floor space in the office by allowing staff to work from home

  • Flexible hours:  increase your opening hours by rostering early and late shifts.

Manage the risks

Plan your staffing approach.  Too often, SMEs make staffing decisions when they are under the pump, and make the costly discovery later that they opted for the wrong model.  Many forget about hidden costs like induction and training, or fail to check liability coverage for work their employees carry out, or make sure they have the right workers compensation cover for people they’re employing.  

Be creative

Coral Arnold—the part-time trainer employed by the Swim & Survival Academy in Ballarat, Victoria, to streamline on-boarding for new staff—works for a small business that is on top of hidden costs.

“The majority of our employees are casual.  Recruiting, training and then retaining staff is a massive cost to our business,” Coral says.

“Where we can, we use self-paced online training platforms for our induction and initial training.

“This way we save on trainer time, and automate some of our reporting needs, while weeding out those staff who aren’t in it for the long haul.”

Do it differently

Now more than ever, you can staff differently using flexible work practices and varied employment contracts. Make sure your new staff work for you by taking the time to really think about your needs before you employ them,  and consider the different types of employment available to you.  Get creative about managing associated costs, and explore coverage for any risks.