The Art of Hiring, Training, and Managing Small Business Teams

No doubt you’ve heard that the most valuable asset a company has is its employees. As cliché as that is, the fact is that it’s actually true! Having a strong team with a variety of skills and backgrounds is like the secret sauce for growing and thriving in business.

Running a small business team comes with its own unique challenges that larger businesses often don’t have to face. For example, small businesses may struggle more in attracting and keeping top talent due to limited resources for competitive salaries and benefits.

That’s why it’s essential for small businesses to develop a solid hiring, training, and leadership development strategy. Even if you’re not looking to expand your business beyond a handful of employees, you still will want to bring in high-quality workers. 

Let’s take a closer look at some of the core elements needed for a comprehensive strategy to build the best business team possible. 

Hire the right people

Building an amazing team, of course, starts with the people you hire. But before you even put out your first ad, take some time to figure out exactly what you need and the roles that will meet those needs. This involves identifying the necessary skills, desired level of experience, and what type of person will be a good cultural fit. Consider the level of seniority required and research average salary ranges both nationally and for your specific area. 

Once you’ve defined the roles you need to fill, it’s time to start recruiting. While posting on job boards is a good idea (and essential), you might get flooded with resumes, making it hard to find the right fit. So, try other methods like networking at industry events, asking current employees for referrals, or using recruiting agencies. Just remember: The more targeted you are, the more likely you’ll find top-notch candidates.

Once you’ve whittled down the applicant pile to a handful of potential candidates, it’s time to conduct the interview. Clearly, the goal here is to find the best candidates, but to do that you need to ask truly insightful questions to make sure the person is a good fit both from a skills and cultural standpoint. 

Be sure to ask insightful questions that can give you a glimpse into the person’s abilities and values. To that end, you may want to avoid some of the more traditional questions, such as “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” Instead, focus on questions that get the candidates talking about their experiences and accomplishments, as well as some questions on how they handle challenges and feedback. 

Finally, once you think you’ve found the right person, it’s time to make an offer. But before you do, be sure to run any background or reference checks, just to make sure there aren’t any red flags that they may have hidden (intentionally or unintentionally) during the interview process. 

When you’re confident you found the right person, it’s time to extend an offer. At this point, you may have to negotiate on the salary, so remember to maintain as much transparency and flexibility as possible. Be prepared to be open to discussion of other benefits and forms of compensation, especially if your budget doesn’t have a lot of wiggle room. 

Naturally, you need the right tools for posting jobs, making offers, and bringing new hires onboard smoothly. Homebase has all these features and more in the employee hiring and onboarding software

labor law compliance

Get them up and running: Effective onboarding and training

So you’ve found a candidate who’s a perfect fit, offered them a job, and they’ve accepted. Congrats! Now you want to ensure that they get started off on the right foot and get integrated into your organization as quickly and seamlessly as possible. 

And that means conducting an onboarding. A well-done onboarding will tackle all the administrative stuff new employees need to do, including filling out paperwork like tax forms and getting set up on any software systems you use. 

But a good onboarding also works to introduce and acclimate new hires to your company culture. That might include introducing them to their teammates and other people in your business and reviewing the employee handbook. Be sure to go over any policies that are required to follow, such as how to request paid time off. 

Lastly, it’s a good idea to spend some time training them on any specific skills or procedures they need to do their job. This might involve shadowing a peer, but it might require classroom learning sessions or other types of training. Whatever the case may be for your business, focus on providing the base level they need to perform and then offering continuing educational opportunities as they develop in their role. 

If you’re new to developing an onboarding program, check out “Essential HR and Onboarding Tips for Seamless Small Business Hiring,” for advice on creating a powerful onboarding experience that gets new hires up and running quickly and effectively.

How to lead and manage high performance teams

We’ve mostly focused on how to find, hire, and train great employees to your team, but it’s also essential to remember that every team needs an effective leader in order to achieve success. 

Leading and managing a team in a small business environment involves fostering communication and collaboration among team members. This includes bringing together team members to work together towards common goals, providing regular feedback and performance reviews, and being open to receiving feedback as well. 

Of course, everyone needs a little motivation from time to time, and you should work to incentivize both collaboration and individual performance. Recognition is a good start—both in private with individuals as well as with the entire team, but also consider awarding financial perks to encourage performance. 

Another important element to help your team perform is to encourage a healthy work-life balance. By respecting personal time, promoting regular breaks, and offering flexible work hours when you can, you can boost team morale and loyalty.

Also, it’s crucial to provide opportunities for your employees to grow in their careers. This can be challenging at a small business, but savvy entrepreneurs will understand how to increase a person’s responsibilities and give them a clear path to grow as a professional. 

Finally, being proactive in handling conflicts can help keep team productivity in high gear. Address issues right away, listen to everyone involved, figure out what’s causing the problem, and find a solution that works for everyone. Sometimes, you might need to use mediation to help people talk things out and come to an agreement.

teamwork photo

Now watch your company flourish 

The more you cultivate an effective team, the more you’ll see your business succeed. From increased productivity to increased profitability, there are benefits of putting together the best team possible. 

But don’t stop there! Continuous improvement is key to this process, with regular feedback, ongoing training, and an openness to change all playing crucial roles. Remember, having the right team in place is a powerful driver of growth. The collective skills, dedication, and synergy will propel your company forward, paving the way for sustained growth and success!


What qualities make a top candidate for hire?

While this will vary greatly from industry to industry, company to company, and role to role, there are a few characteristics that you will want to look for, including:

  • Self-motivation
  • Problem solving skills
  • Good communication

Most importantly, make sure they are a good cultural fit! 

How do you train employees effectively?

There are a number of ways to train employees effectively, but core to all of them will be providing clear and comprehensive training materials, as well as taking the time to review them with hands-on learning opportunities. Be sure to offer regular feedback sessions as well as support to answer any questions they have along the way.

How do you keep a team motivated?

Recognition can go a long way to keep a team motivated, but this isn’t the only approach—nor should it be. Be sure to provide incentives—financial or otherwise—for reaching milestones, but also remember to provide opportunities for team members to have fun and get to know each other. Strive to foster a positive work environment where everyone feels valued and heard.

What issues most commonly lead to team conflict?

Conflict can derail a team from achieving what it needs to. Some more common causes include unclear roles and responsibilities, communication breakdowns, differing values or perspectives, and unbalanced workloads.

Related posts

How To Improve Employee Productivity: A Primer For Small Businesses

Companies of all sizes need productive teams. But when you’re running a small business with tight margins, it can mean…

Read article

Time Logs: Definition, Benefits, and Steps to Keep One in Your Business

It can be wasted, spent, lost, even killed, but never stopped. Time is a priceless, limited resource and, like other…

Read article

7 Best Ways to Prevent Employee Attrition for Small Businesses

Every team member plays an important role in a small business — and people leaving can make a big impact. When valued…

Read article

2-2-3 and 2-3-2 Work Schedules: Everything You Need to Know

As a small business owner, providing consistent service with limited staff can feel impossible.  Shift work is key for 24/7…

Read article

Unlocking Productivity: The Most Popular Time Management Techniques

Remember in school when you looked at your homework and thought: Or maybe you’ve felt daunted by the prospect of…

Read article

5 Steps to Supercharge Productivity With Timeboxing 

You know that you need to inject more focus into your day to get things done for your small business,…

Read article
Effortlessly schedule and track your team's time with Homebase.
Try our basic plan free, forever.
Try Homebase for free