8 Things Your Small Business Can’t Do Without


If people issues in your business are consuming extraordinary amounts of time and energy and getting in the way of business growth, it may be time to take a look at the bigger picture of your talent lifecycle. The time you invest to hire the right person can be undone in a matter of weeks without the right onboarding. Or a year later, you find that new hire is not quite performing up to speed and you’re wondering why. Or you’re noticing that some of your longer serving team members are no longer as engaged as they once were. Perhaps role confusion resulting from business growth is slowing down your once “well oiled” machine.

The strength of your organization and your ability to manage through these various stages of the talent lifecycle depend on effectiveness across eight touch-points that your business can’t thrive without. Small to mid-market businesses may be challenged in these areas, yet those that are high performing and financially successful tend to be fairly strong in each of them, even during times of significant change. They are:

  1. Organizational Design: Strong organizational design reflects strategic objectives and facilitates alignment of the work with the best decision points and communication flow. To support the design, position profiles document key accountabilities and expectations.
  2. Attract and Hire: The most competitive companies, regardless of their size, have transformed how they attract and hire great talent. They get the edge with a clearly defined employer brand expressed through effective recruitment marketing and first-class candidate relationship management.
  3. Onboarding: New hire integration is redefined to extend beyond the first week. It requires the involvement and contributions of peers and teams across the organization. Getting and staying connected and learning about the business cycle are of primary importance.
  4. Performance Mastery: Traditional performance reviews have shifted from evaluation of past performance to more agile goal setting, frequent and informal feedback, and real-time coaching. Performance assessment and goal achievement happens through regular check-ins, not an annual event.
  5. Learning Management: Workplace learning has evolved from an extra-curricular activity to a conscious pursuit that champions knowledge sharing as part of the daily work experience. Nurturing new ideas and progressive thinking expands the organization’s know-how and creates a competitive edge.
  6. Talent Development: Talent planning and development is an active pursuit. It encompasses critical roles and building leaders at all levels. Professional development is planned and career growth happens even if promotional opportunities are limited and the future is uncertain.
  7. Re-recruit: An energizing, inclusive workplace drives high levels of engagement over the long term. Corporate values are increasingly important in defining work culture. Leaders and teams have a collective role to play in developing and sustaining collaborative working relationships.
  8. Total Rewards: Compensation has evolved from “show me the money” to a total rewards strategy that supports a life of fulfillment, where base salary is only one factor. Rewards and recognition are customized for maximum benefit to individuals and the organization.

When done well, these activities keep your business ahead of the curve by increasing the value and contributions of the great people you employ and drive real value to your bottom line. How does your organization stack up? Are you more on the basic end of the spectrum – based on traditional thinking and process, or brilliant – on the leading edge in philosophy and practice?

If you’d like a window into how well your organization currently delivers on its people practices, and where the biggest opportunities are to bring innovation to your talent lifecycle, this upcoming CPHR BC & Yukon webinar series is for you: From Basic to Brilliant: Transforming the Power of HR in Small to Mid-Size Enterprises, starting on April 11, 2019.


Doris Bentley, CPHR is the founder and principal of CENTREPOINT, a Vancouver-based talent management consultancy. She has enjoyed long-term success working with hundreds of owners and leaders of small to mid-market enterprises, developing talent strategies that drive business sustainability and long-term growth. She is the author of “Basic to Brilliant: The definitive guide to transforming your people practices.”

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