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To get the most from employees, you will have to give them what they want.

Just like with your customers, your relationship with your employees is based on an exchange. Sometimes, this exchange is just about money, but more often than not it’s about so much more.

We have to ask ourselves why someone wants to work for us and if we can offer them what they are looking for. We also have to ask what we want from them and if they are capable of delivering that.

Different employees have different needs

Some people may want to attend their kid’s football matches, while others are willing to work through the night.

To get the most out of your employees, you will have to give them what they want, whether it’s flexibility, money or career opportunities.

You could have an MBA student looking for a part-time job to pay for his studies. He may not be looking to dedicate his life to your company and is planning to work for a top consultancy firm when he graduates.

Instead of wanting him to be what he is not, you can see him for the value he can add. You can offer him the opportunity to work part-time on a 2-year contract which is what he wants, and in exchange, you will get a highly qualified almost MBA for a fraction of the price.

You will attract the employees which depending on your offering

Just like having a candy store will attract those with a sweet tooth and deter the health-conscious, your employees will be drawn to your offering if it meets their taste.

If you offer flexible working hours, you may find that you have access to a talent pool that otherwise wouldn’t work due to family commitments. Though, you may miss out on star employees that want to dedicate their lives to the business.

If you only bring in new talent at the bottom and fill all senior vacancies internally, you will attract those looking to spend years moving up the ladder in your business. Though, you might miss out on talent that gained their experience elsewhere and lose out on outside perspectives.

Markets are always competitive, and resources are limited

You have to decide what you are looking for in a team and what you can afford to pay them in return.

Suppose you hire a bunch of ambitious MBA graduates and only have one management position to offer them at the end of the year. You will either have a bunch of disengaged talent or lots of resignations.

Neither will help your business grow.

Top talent will always have options.

In a competitive market place, you’ll be competing for talent with others offering the same thing.

When another company offers faster career progression, more money or remote working to trump your flexible office hours, you may be out of luck.

Trying to be everything to everyone will not work. Sometimes you will have to pass on the best talent because they may not fit your business.

You will have to decide what to offer depending on what type of talent you are looking to attract.

Hiring a small business team

Tailoring benefits are always tricky

You might find that one of your employees, Nancy, signed up to work as many hours as possible and earn as much as she can. You decide to offer her a nice paycheck knowing that she plans to work more hours than anyone else.

Joe, on the other hand, is a family-first kind of guy. You offer him flexible hours and lots of days off to attend all his kid’s events. Of course, you can’t pay him anywhere as much as you pay Nancy.

At some point, Nancy might realize that Joe is never around, and she has to keep rescheduling meetings when he’s required. This may lead her to get annoyed and even think twice about how hard she works when she sees that others aren’t pulling their weight.

Joe, on the other hand, overhears Nancy on the phone with her financial advisor and soon figures out that she makes way more than him. Even though he doesn’t actually know what she earns, he still feels cheated. When he gets another bill from his kid’s private school, he begins to wonder if he should find a job where they value him.

You will have to decide what type of employees you want

Just like with your product or service, you will have to decide who your target market is and how to attract them.

Trying to be everything to everyone will leave you being nothing to anyone. It is most likely impractical and unaffordable to offer all the financial and non-financial perks to your employees.

You don’t need to hire only people that act and talk alike but hiring people with very different values when it comes to work can create unintended conflict.

You will have to pass on some of the best talent in exchange for those that are a good fit for your business.

You will have to decide what kind of employees you want to attract and what your value proposition to them will be.

Don’t rush the process

Employees are acting in your place when it comes to your business. They will be the key to your success.

As your business grows, you will become more disconnected from your clients and your employees will determine the relationship you have with them.

Employees will take over more and more functions, and you will need to ensure they are the right fit early on.

Hiring the wrong person can be much more costly than not hiring anyone at all.

Clients do not come firstEmployees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.”

Richard Branson