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When it comes to keeping your staff happy and engaged, business owners need to provide everything from fundamental employee rights to a motivating company culture.

Employees are usually a business’s most valuable asset. Their knowledge, productivity, skills and creativity have a huge impact on your success, the pace of growth, and your overall company image. This is why it’s critical to set employees up for success from the outset — from offering benefits to keep them healthy (physically, mentally and financially), from providing fair compensation and a steady dose of positive motivation to keep them happy and engaged.

HGTV Canada’s Bryan and Sarah Baeumler have a staff of over 100 people and understand the value of strong and satisfied employees, and have a lot of experience when it comes to getting started when you’re ready to begin hiring. From recruiting to retaining, here are a few ways to set your employees on the path to growth and opportunity.

1. Understand the Table Stakes

Part of hiring employees is providing fundamentals: benefits, pay and protection. As your first step as “the boss,” you will need to be familiar with your business’s legal requirements, your employees’ rights, and your industry’s regulations before you can begin to build a healthy company culture.

“When you’re starting a business and starting to hire people, it can certainly seem confusing. But the good news is, it doesn’t have to be. There’s a lot of resources out there,” advises Bryan.

For instance, there are many online government resources — starting with the Government of Canada website — available to help you navigate employment standards, insurance, compensation and more, so that you can get the basics in place.

“Of course your professionals, your lawyer, your accountant, are going to be great resources for you as well, Bryan says. Sarah adds, “Ask as many questions as you can, and you will have different answers depending on the municipality in which you live, or even the province that you work in.”

2. Master the Art of Payroll and Taxes

Managing payroll — including income tax, EI, CPP, retirement plan contributions and more — can be complicated in Canada. Fortunately, managing it for your company doesn’t have to be … if you use the right tools. Depending on the size of your staff and complexity of your pay structure, you can choose a service to meet your business needs — from cloud-based software that lets you manage payroll from your smartphone, to an external payroll company that can take care of it all for you.

Your employees deserve to get paid on time, every time — the good news is, you don’t need to be up all night calculating every last deduction.

3. Cultivate an Engaged, Motivated Staff

Employees who feel invested in the success of the company they work for, who enjoy a collaborative work environment, and who feel they are a valued part of a team may stay with your business longer and deliver for you every day they come to work.

Achieving an overall sense of employee satisfaction and engagement isn’t always easy, but there are a few things you can do to make your employees feel good about where they work.

  • Clearly define the company vision: Make sure your employees know your plan for the business, where you want to take it, and how they fit into the big picture.
  • Offer ongoing training and support: An employee will feel valued if they feel you’ve provided the time and resources to help them get better at what they do.
  • Communicate: Ask questions, ask for input, share goals, and communicate even during the difficult times. Transparency can go a long way toward empowering employees and reducing any feelings of uncertainty.
  • Recognize good work: Whether it’s a kind word after a tough day or a public acknowledgement of a job well done, when employees know their hard work is appreciated, they feel happier and more motivated.
  • Create opportunities for growth: Recognize your employees have their own career goals — which may not involve staying with your company forever. By creating opportunities for personal development and learning, and encouraging growth, you’re helping workers to pave their own way toward job satisfaction.
  • 4. Consider Additional Compensation

    Incentive programs — such as annual bonuses or quarterly commissions — can drive teams to work together, to stretch and to excel. It’s best to create a program that’s clear, simple and realistic, so employees knows what they have to achieve in order to achieve the incentive. While non-monetary incentives may do a great deal to sustain morale among your staff, a financial incentive may offer the extra nudge employees need to reach performance targets.

    Childcare centre owner Cheryl asked HGTV Canada’s Bryan and Sarah Baeumler about employee rules and regulations when starting a business. Here’s the advice these long-time business owners have to offer.