Photo Credit: Escape the Cubicle Nation

With small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) accounting for almost 90% of employment in Canada, it is important to understand the effect that these companies have on economic development throughout the country. The theme at Futurpreneur Canada’s Action Entrepreneurship Summit was about small business growth, which opened up the discussion for several opportunities and threats relating to young entrepreneurs.

One of the most popular topics at the Summit was how to build your team as your business grows. At 505-Junk, we have been able to successfully build a team of great people by making hiring decisions based on similar values. Before discussing this, it is important to understand some key fundamentals for creating a solid human resources (HR) foundation, which will immediately wipe out most threats related to HR in your company.

Build a solid HR foundation

Building a solid HR foundation means documenting your systems, policies and processes so you can streamline your hiring and focus your attention on bringing in the right people. This includes (but may not be limited to) documenting and recording the following:

  • Employment agreements
  • Averaging agreements
  • Organizational charts with job descriptions for every role in the company
  • Position agreements attached to job descriptions
  • A company-specific Code of Conduct
  • A database of your employee information
  • Company-specific policies
  • Easily accessible Canada Labour Code and Human Rights Act PDF’s
  • Staff planning techniques to prepare for growth
  • Scheduling software or spreadsheets to organize your team
  • A compensation program outlining pay, benefits, raises, and more

There are plenty of resources available online as well as local HR consultants to help customize a solid HR foundation that will allow you to take your company to the next level. This part is essential as it ensures that you are protecting both your company and your employees, and allows everyone on your team to work without having to stress about the necessities of HR. Most importantly, documenting these processes allows you to quickly scale your business, because your company won’t get anywhere without the help of other people.

Make hiring decisions based on values and culture

We hear a lot about the sexier and more cliché terms for HR, such as “values” and “culture”. They just sound better than “contract” and “legal”. First of all, I want to clarify what these terms mean:

Values: According to Wikipedia, and it is hard to argue with this particular definition, a personal value is an individual’s absolute or relative and ethical value, the assumption of which can be the basis for ethical action. A value system is a set of consistent values and measures.

Culture: According to Investopedia, corporate culture is the beliefs and behaviors that determine how a company’s employees and management interact and handle outside business transactions. Often, corporate culture is implied, not expressly defined, and develops organically over time from the cumulative traits of the people the company hires.

Knowing this valuable information allows us to focus on the fun stuff. So what makes a strong culture? It is a selection of people, whether it be two co-founders or two thousand employees, that share similar values and are all committed to working towards the same common goals. If you can establish this within your team, you will find that you have a very fluid group of people that are excited to be working together.

In order to build this team, it is important to hire people that share the same values as your company. These values should be established early on, even before you start your business, and documented in your company’s manual. We break our six values down into two categories:

Foundation: Honesty, respect, and integrity

Growth: Advancement, leadership, and opportunity

We have always promised our staff that if they are honest, respectful, and consistently demonstrate integrity, then we can train anyone in the world to work at our company. Once new employees have proven that, generally over a period of 3-6 months, then the fun stuff starts to happen: advancement (new job opportunities), leadership (personal development), and opportunity (the sky is the limit).

When you’re scanning through resumes and interviewing prospects (prior to making a hiring decision) make sure you ask the right questions for your company to really determine whether this individual fits your company’s values and culture. If they do, you will have an amazing working relationship. If they don’t, they probably won’t be around too long anyway. It doesn’t matter if you hire slow or fire fast, just take the appropriate time to hire the right people and treat them with respect.

Written By: Barry Hartman, Co-Founder and CEO at 505-Junk,

Get up to $60,000
in financial support,
and the support of one
of our 2,400+ mentors.

Learn More →