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Ready. Aim. Hire! Add to ...

The job market may be slack in many sectors of the economy these days, but entrepreneurs shouldn't get lulled into a false sense of security.

The economy will recover, and competition to hire and retain top employees will increase. The exodus of baby boomers from the labour market in the coming years will turn up the heat on business owners even more.

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Here are seven tried-and-true tips for recruiting and retaining the cream of the crop and remaining an employer of choice.

  1. Actively market your company and build presence in the community. Spend more time on your public image and gain visibility through online advertising, trade shows and recruitment fairs. If your company is eco-friendly, for example, be sure that potential employees know that.
  2. Use social networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Posting recruitment messages on group profiles, for instance, can give you a much broader geographic reach and attract a wider pool of candidates.
  3. Make sure your employee orientation efforts make a good impression on new hires. Avoid overwhelming workers with a deluge of presentations. Be sure new employees meet your senior management team, and spread orientation activities over a period of several months to create a lasting impact.
  4. Put training on the top of your priority list and develop employees from within your organization. Assess the core skills you already have in-house and be sure you're building on them, especially with top performers. Employees who feel they have a career path in your organization are more likely to stick around.
  5. Give your employees feedback and make sure you have a means to assess their performance regularly. Employees who feel they have a positive impact on a company's performance are more likely to feel motivated to do their best.
  6. Be innovative with compensation and rewards. Give loyal and productive employees an incentive to stay, such as extended vacations or other job perks. Consider profit-sharing programs. And find ways to reward employees who refer candidates your organization later hires.
  7. Focus on providing employees with work/life balance. Give them more flexible work arrangements, such as telecommuting, and special leaves of absence for family time or education. Help your employees deal with stress by providing, for example, gym memberships and money for team-building celebrations.

Content in this section is provided in partnership with the Business Development Bank of Canada. BDC provides entrepreneurs with financing, venture capital and consulting services. To find out more go to BDC.ca.

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