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.
While renovating a boutique resort hotel in the Bahamas, as seen on HGTV Canada’s Island of Bryan, Bryan and Sarah Baeumler faced the additional challenge of pulling together the right staff in a new country — one with a different culture and labour practices, and a new pool of talent to discover.
“Being in a new country, and specifically on a rural and remote island, there is a lot that we needed to learn when it came to establishing successful employment relationships,” says Sarah.
“As in any country, once we understood the process of hiring and finding local labour, we were able to narrow in on a key group of local labour that worked well together and have proven to be a successful crew. We were also lucky to be able to have some of our crew from Canada come down to join us. It was a collective effort, with lots of learning from both our Canadian, as well as our Bahamian crews!”
Whatever your business — and wherever you’re located — 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.
From recruiting to retaining, here are a few ways Bryan and Sarah Baeumler suggest for setting 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.
If your business growth takes you to a new country, it’s equally critical to become familiar with its labour rules and policies.
“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, province or country that you’re operating in.”
2. Master the Art of Payroll and Taxes
Managing payroll — including income tax, EI, CPP, retirement plan contributions and more — can be complicated. 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.
While the Baeumlers are busy with their adventure renovating a boutique resort hotel on South Andros Island in the Bahamas, here’s what they have to say about the importance of motivating talent and being a great boss, no matter what the size of your business.
This article is intended as general information only and is not to be relied upon as constituting legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. Information presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date but we do not guarantee its accuracy and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the authors as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or any of its affiliates.