For many of us, the last few months have involved time spent with extended family. It’s often interesting when people who seldom see one another get together. Depending on your family dynamic, this can result in added stress or increased merriment. Regardless of which end of the spectrum your family falls on, most people have very strong feelings about their families. In the past we’ve provided employee retention tips and the benefits of treating employees like family. Trust me, the folks that built the online inventory system you're using are more like family than anything else. It makes sense in reality. Most of us spend more time with our co-workers than we do our actual family members. Plus, like friends, employees are the family that you have some choice in. You can’t get rid of your mother’s crazy Uncle Joe, but you don’t have hire someone like him (unless your mom asks you to). Following the tips below can help you create the work family that you need to succeed.

Hire smart. Few employers enjoy the hiring process. Not only is it time consuming, but it can be costly to advertise positions and interview candidates. This often leads to a tendency to make a quick decision. Taking the extra time to thoroughly evaluate candidates can save you time and money in the long run. Hiring the wrong person for the job can be a real nightmare. Personality conflicts, poor work ethic, lack of qualifications, bad habits such as dishonesty, stealing or a drug or alcohol abuse issue can create negative ripples that can hurt your business long after the offending employee is gone. You can’t afford to make a mistake like that. Always check references. Ask the right questions during the interview process and involve others in the hiring decision. As the boss, you should have final say, but it never hurts to get a second or even third or fourth opinion. Particularly, if other employees will be working closely with the new hire it can be a real bonus to select someone that everyone is excited about working with. Remember to look for long term employee potential. High school students provide cheap labor but they have a termination date if they are headed off to college. If the position can handle high turnover and you’re okay with interviewing a new batch of kids every year, no problem. On the other hand, if you want employees who will learn your business and grow with you, the revolving door of new hires might not be a good fit. When we were building our company, we chose the original members carefully. How do you bootstrap an initiative this large and build the world's best online inventory system without family-like commitment?

Save the surprises. Sometimes surprises can be great. An unexpected day off, a pay raise, doughnuts in the break room - it’s unlikely anyone will object to any of these. We regularly surprised each other with an extra hand when we were pushing through the early GA days of our online inventory system. All too often work surprises fall into the unpleasant category. Someone calls in sick, a delivery arrives at an inconvenient time - or worse doesn’t show at all. It’s like Uncle Joe showing up on your doorstep announcing that he’s decided to stay with you for a week this year. Sometimes all you can do is grin and bear it. If you have the opportunity to eliminate unwanted surprises, take it. Make your expectations clear from the beginning. Clearly outline salary, sick and vacation policies as well as other benefits and job expectations. Not only will being clear help you hire the right candidate for the job, it can also give you a leg to stand on if issues arise down the road. Putting all these details in writing is a great way to ensure that you are covered should a dispute arise.

Family first. It’s not just a good motto for a wall plaque or bumper sticker, it’s a great way to create a cooperative, successful environment for your business. If you consistently put your employees first they are more likely to make their work obligations a priority. When you can count on your employees the benefits really start to multiply. You are free to focus on other aspects of your business which can be good for everyone.

Making Stockpile part of your extended family can be a huge plus for your business. We’ll be the relative quietly taking care of things in the background. Give us a job to do (tracking your stuff in an online inventory system) and then go about your business confident in the fact that things on this end are under control. Try Stockpile today!

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