Your business would be nothing without your staff. Whether you run an online store from your home office or you manage a multinational distribution company, finding the very best talent for your business is critical. Not only do you need to find people that you can trust, but you need to know that they’re equipped with the skills and experiences you need to maximise your success.

Below, I’ve put together some of my top strategies for hiring and retaining key staff within your business, helping you make informed decisions and build a team that can conquer the world.

Understand what you’re looking for

All too often, I see businesses send out a vague job specification that doesn’t really detail what they are looking for. Still, they enter the recruitment process and interview candidates, and more often than not settle for someone who is perhaps not right for their business. So, the first thing you should do when hiring new employees is to understand your exacting needs. Think about what the new hire will be doing on a day-to-day basis, what sort of skills and qualifications you’d like them to have, and what expectations and targets you’d need them to meet and hit. Not only does this ensure you’re finding the very best candidate, but it reduces the time it takes to recruit, as you won’t have to interview people who don’t have the necessary skills and experience.

Craft a clear, concise job description and promote it across online jobs websites and speak with a local recruitment agency who will be able to distribute it further. You should also make the effort to overhaul the jobs page on your company website – the truth is that today’s top talent will be able to pick and choose between the companies they’d like to work for, so if you’re not selling yourself to the best of your ability, they may not be interested in working for your organisation.

Make it easy for people to apply

One of the biggest challenges facing recruitment is communication, with so many applications going unread and left without a response. One of the best ways to overcome this is to build an in-house applicant tracking tool, which makes it easy for them to apply and track their progress. You can let them know when you have received their application and send out automated thank you messages to those who were unsuccessful. The truth is that every person who applies for your role is a potential customer – and if you leave a bad taste in their mouth, they’ll tell people.

You could even consider an employee referral program, which not only lowers the cost per hire but makes your existing employees feel like they’re part of your journey. Indeed, many choose to offer your staff a bounty when they ‘refer a friend’ to a job, or give them more responsibility to make decisions and manage a new hire. However, new recruits should always go through the same application, interviewing and training processes to ensure fairness and equality.

Focus on the interview process

When was the last time you sat back and looked at your interview process? Whether you want to employ your 100th member of staff or you’re starting a new business in a new country, try to analyse your interview process and see where improvements can be made. And don’t fall into the trap of thinking that an interview is just for your benefit – you should be doing everything in your power to sell your brand to your candidates, and help them decide whether they want to work for you. Of course, the interview process will depend on the company and role, but the chances are that you’ll conduct a phone interview, an onsite interview, go through reference checks, and then make the offer. It’s important that you find a good mutual fit, so thinking about ways to answer candidates’ questions, giving them time between interviews, and keeping them in the loop throughout the entire process is important. Again, communication is so important throughout this stage, so consider sending weekly email updates or calling them to let them know where you’re at and why you’re taking so long to make a decision for your new hire.

Deliver a great working experience

Now that you’ve hired the right candidate for the role, the next step is to keep them! Common reasons why people choose to leave their job include a lack of clarity on the role, a lack of clarity on their earnings potential, and a failure to hold meetings, give feedback on performance, and provide a framework where employees can succeed and ‘climb the ranks’, so to speak. It’s also important that you provide your employees with a platform in which they can speak freely about their role and the organisation, so consider weekly or monthly catch-ups with their manager.

Let employees use their skills

One of the reasons why my business hires and retains key staff is that we let our employees work to their own skills and abilities, and give them the freedom to do so. As an entrepreneur managing hundreds of employees, it can be tempting to standardise your business practices and make your employees work in the way you want them to, but sometimes giving them free rein to do what they know best makes sense. Learn your employees’ skills and talents, and tap into it to get the best results for your business and increase their job satisfaction. That includes giving your talent the right tools for the job, and adequate training and career development opportunities. Consider commission-based working or a clear 5-year-plan career path.

Make them feel special

Finally, you should make sure employees feel valued and appreciated within your organisation. Monetary rewards like bonuses, gifts and commissions will go a long way, but you must also show them trust and respect and give them opportunities to progress. Top talent will only stick around if they know that they’re going to be looked after, so don’t let them fall through the net.

Hiring and retaining key staff can be hard, but with the right strategy, you can do it. Good luck!