Staffing Your Small Business
Posted by Sarah B. on May 31, 2016 in Retail Focus

Dealing with staffing issues may be one of the most difficult problems a business owner can face. A good business owner knows there is no business without people, and having a good staff will create loyal customers who generate repeat business. Many aspects of your business rely on the people you hire, so it is important to make sure you are retaining and hiring the right people.


At the Midwest FoodService Expo in Milwaukee, March 7 through March 9, a popular topic was staffing and working in the business of people. Chef Pat Weber, owner of Mise en Place, a hospitality consulting firm out of Minneapolis, spoke on staffing in restaurants. He explained, in order to compete in the industry, you need to have a positive work environment, which will reduce employee turnover. A work-life balance is extremely important and conducting “stay” interviews with employees to determine what makes them want to stay should be part of this process.


Chef Weber’s guidance on initial interviewing was also constructive advice. Evaluating hard skills, such as experience and education, and soft skills, such as optimism, desire to grow, work ethic, empathy, and integrity, can help you decide if the person is right for the job. An interview doesn’t always have to take a long time—it should only take 15 minutes to tell if a person is a good fit. Harvard University, the Carnegie Foundation, and Stanford Research Center have conducted research that shows 85 percent of all job successes come “from having well-developed soft and people skills, and only 15 percent of job successes come from technical skills and knowledge (hard skills).” Chef Weber identified five soft-skill questions to ask in interviews:


  • What is one thing you would change about your last job and why?
  • Why do you want to work for our company?
  • What are you passionate about?
  • What is your proudest professional accomplishment?
  • What do you do for fun?


There are many excellent practices for hiring employees and retaining them. This is just one method. What are your best practices?       

Sarah B. is our Retail guru
Sarah B. came to Acuity this year with a background in retail. She studied Interior Architecture in college and completed an online business education program through Harvard Business School. She also has a wide range of commercial insurance experience and has earned her Associate in General Insurance (AINS), Associate in Insurance Services (AIS), and Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designations. This made her the perfect addition to the Acuity Mercantile team. If she could travel anywhere in the world, she would return to Italy. She spent three weeks there during college studying architecture and design and has wanted to go back ever since.

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