Staffing Your Business: Training Employees vs. Hiring New

First Financial Bank
All business owners want employees who are the “total package” with great experience, skills, work ethic, and overall attitude. But it can be tough to find that person in your job market, and if you do, you may not be able to afford to hire them. How do you get who you need in that role on your budget?

Whether you need to backfill a departing person’s position or staffing up to expand your business, finding the right person for a specific role can be a chore. Between sourcing, scheduling, and interviewing prospective candidates, and potentially filling empty shifts while hiring, your time can be heavily impacted. But there are other options – including training a current employee to take on the new responsibilities. Here are some things to think about as you consider the best approach for your pet-focused business.

Hiring New Employees

For many business owners, hiring someone new is appealing for a variety of reasons. It gives you a chance to add qualifications and skills that your team may not currently possess. These include expertise with new tools and techniques that they can teach to their colleagues (and you). They may bring additional certifications that allow you to offer a new service or develop a new product. For example, hiring a dog trainer who is also certified in pet nutrition could inspire plenty of ideas for a pet hotel owner.

But what’s the downside? The cost in both time and money.

According to Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), the more experienced and higher skilled the position, the longer it will typically take to fill. Not surprisingly, it can range from a few weeks to several months. What can make it even more challenging to find the right person is the size of your marketplace. If the pool of potential candidates is relatively small because the area is not densely populated or the skills required aren’t widely available, it can take a very long time to find someone. So if you are looking for an aquarist for your pet emporium located in a high desert town with a population of 9,438 – it could take a while.

On average, hiring a new employee can cost between $3,000 and $5,000 to recruit, hire, and onboard. Even if you are looking to hire an entry-level employee in a small business, it can still end up costing you as much as $3,500. Plus, you are competing with other businesses hiring at that same time and in the same area.

Once hired, regardless of skill set, there will still be a period needed for training and acclimating to your way of doing business. Depending on your onboarding process and complexities of the job, it can take from a few weeks to a year – or more – for your new hire to be fully productive.

The alternative would be training a current employee to take on the role.

Training Existing Employees

None of your current employees have the exact skills or experience you want to fill an opening or a planned new position. Would it make sense to train one of your current team members instead of hiring? It depends. The good news is that if someone is already a successful employee, you know they understand your business and fit into your culture. More importantly, you already know how they treat your clients – both humans and pets. Another bonus is that while learning the new role, they can cross-train another employee (or a lower cost new hire) on how to do their previous job.

The challenge lies in what it will take for them to acquire the new skills.

If these skills can be learned from you or the person departing the role, the cost can be as little as the few extra hours in overlapping work time that might be incurred during the knowledge transfer.

But what if the skills require more formal training, a certification, or a license?

You’ll need to do some analysis to determine if it makes sense to make a larger investment in the employee. Many employers are concerned about this expenditure when the employee could leave and take those skills to a competitor. This is entirely possible. But one of the primary reasons people consistently cite for leaving a job is the opportunity to develop their careers. Richard Branson famously tweeted, “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough, so they don’t want to.” If people are leaving to grow their career opportunities, the opportunity to learn and grow with you may be just the encouragement they need to stay and commit to your business’ success.

Choosing an Approach

It can be difficult to identify the best approach for your business. Work with your HR advisor to assess what you need now and what plans you should lay for the future. You may choose to hire a new employee for certain roles while cross-training existing employees for others. There is no “one size fits all” approach, only one that provides you with a team that can help you meet your goals within your time and budget constraints.

Planning to hire new employees? Find some ideas here for successful onboarding. Want to chat about your plans? Let’s talk.

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