Small business employees differ from those at large firms and need different qualities. Your new employee needs to be prepared for change, ready to muck in and have the right type of attitude.

The majority of small business firms don’t have the budget for HR departments or even HR employees and this is actually a good thing. You need to use your personal initiative, trust your gut instinct and learn to spot talent amongst your applicants. You’ll soon learn what to look out for and below is a closer look at what makes a brilliant small business employee.


Your small business employee needs to have the right attitude. This is even more important than their skills to begin with as you can train them in the ones that matter. Small businesses rely upon employees who are self-motivated and can move at the same speed as your business. The fast-pace of the start-up world requires a particular type of person, with ambition, dedication and belief. There is no space for anybody with a bad attitude in your small team so stamp it out before it has a chance to grow.


Small business life is very different to that of a large corporation. The duties of every employee are varied. One minute they could be delivering a fantastic, hard-hitting pitch to a client whilst the next they’ll be filing or shredding last week’s junk mail. Staff in small businesses have to be ready to get stuck in to a wide range of tasks and understand that nothing is beneath them. You need a strong all-rounder and you may have difficulties if you hire employees who have previously worked in a defined role in a large corporation. Flexibility and taking on varied tasks including those considered menial, is something your chosen employee should be ready and willing to do.


This quality is something any employer would expect but friendliness, an enthusiastic manner, openness and a self-motivated personality are extremely important. People for your business need to be more than ‘yes people’ though, they need to be able to innovate, offer up ideas and have thoughts and plans to help grow the business positively.
Your small business relies upon growth-orientated staff and employees with a positive outlook are most likely to succeed.


A small firm means nobody, including you, has anywhere to hide and this means your employees have to be willing to take responsibility for all that they do. All low points as well as the highs will be out in the open which can be hard to handle for employees who are used to blending into a crowd. The benefits of a smaller organisation are of course that your best talents will be known by all, as well as your triumphs but the more negative aspects of your work will also be laid on the line. There is no scope for covering up an error in a small firm so employees need to be ready to accept their responsibilities, good and bad.

Finding Employees

You could use a recruitment agency, you could post an advert in the local newspaper or you could think more innovatively. Networking can be a great way of finding new employees as word of mouth recommendations are much more persuasive than a black and white CV on your desk. If one of your business contacts recommends someone they’ve worked with – it’s usually worth following up.
Remember to keep in mind the relevant legislation when hiring employees and trust your gut and you won’t go far wrong.
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