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Good employees are vital for success

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If you want your business to be successful, you must have loyal and hardworking employees — and you must work to keep them. Small businesses are responsible for creating 64 percent of the new jobs in the U.S., according to the Small Business Administration.

You might not have a designated human resources representative on staff, but it is vital that you establish hiring procedures.

It is imperative that you select the right employees and avoid the pitfalls that come from hiring a bad employee. It is especially important for small businesses, where each employee has a large share of responsibility for success of the company.

To streamline your hiring process, follow these steps:
• Create an established recruitment process.
• Make the benefits package easy to understand.
• Train managers and supervisors in interviewing techniques.
• Do multiple reference checks.
• Conduct a new-hire program.

Even if you are desperate for help, it is better that you wait to hire a good, solid employee than to hire someone you are disappointed with. Make sure more than one person is involved in the interviewing process. You want many people to evaluate whether this person has the right qualities and skills needed in their jobs. In addition, don’t just check references they’ve suggested.

Virginia offers a variety of work-force programs to help employers find high-quality workers and to train and develop their work force. Each program differs in eligibility, cost and services offered. A list of many work-force incentives in Virginia can be found at the Virginia Workforce Network Web site at http://www.vwn.vccs.edu. 

Understand your local work force
It’s important to understand the quality of the work force where you want to start your company, especially if you have a specialized business. The Virginia Employment Commission is a good place to start.

The VEC provides detailed labor market and census data on its Virginia Electronic Labor Market Access (VELMA). The stats are located online at http://www.vaemploy.com Click. on “Labor Market Information.” VELMA includes employment and unemployment statistics, current economic indicators, area demographics, and industry and occupational wage data.

Virginia Community Analysis Research & Development (VaCARD), a program run by Virginia Economic Bridge, provides specific business, community, economic and work-force analyses for companies. For information on the program, call (540) 731-6800.

Check out your local economic development offices to understand the demographics and skill sets of local employees. See if there are any local organizations that facilitate connecting workers with employers. An example is the Return to Roots program (http://www.returntoroots.org), also run by Virginia Economic Bridge, which matches employers in Southwest Virginia with former residents who want to return the region.

The VEC also provides businesses with hiring services free of charge. Employers can easily post job vacancies to the VEC’s Virginia Workforce Connection Web site at http://www.vaworkconnect.com The s.ite also allows employers to search through the list of job candidates.

Virginia Workforce Network
A business of any size can use one of the Virginia Workforce Network’s Virginia Workforce Centers located around the state. The network includes one-stop career centers around the state, as well as satellite and informational centers.

Each center provides one-stop access to the work force, employment and training programs of partner organizations. Local Workforce Investment Boards run the centers, which are required by federal legislation to meet the needs of the local community. To find the closest one-stop center, visit http://www.vwn.vccs.edu

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A major new initiative is the creation of six comprehensive one-stop centers that bring together community stakeholders to meet local employers’ training needs. So far, these comprehensive centers have opened in Arlington County, Danville, South Boston, Prince William County, Roanoke and on the Eastern Shore. These centers bring together community and government partners to help jobseekers and businesses. The centers house representatives from the local community college, Virginia Employment Commission and the Virginia Department of Rehabilitative Services. Another six are scheduled to open soon.

Virginia Jobs Investment Program
This program, run by the Virginia Department of Business Assistance, offers work-force assistance to qualified businesses. The program provides customized training and recruiting programs. It also provides consulting and funding to reduce upfront costs of the recruitment and training process. For-profit businesses eligible to apply for the program are manufacturing facilities, distribution centers, corporate headquarters, technology services, call centers and research and development facilities. http://www.dba.state.va.us/vjip_criteria.shtml

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Department of Rehabilitative Services
The department provides a variety of services to help people with disabilities prepare, find and keep a job. Visit http://www.vadrs.org for more information.

Community colleges
The Virginia Community College System can be a great resource for an employer’s work-force training needs. Each of the system’s 23 colleges has a Workforce Development Services division that can develop custom training programs for employers. The programs can be held at local community college campuses or at the employer’s workplace.

A variety of training programs can be offered. Examples of skills programs can focus on, include:

Computer skills
Customer service
Management and leadership
Manufacturing
Job-specific skills

Visit http://www.vccs.edu for more information on the Virginia’s community college system or contact your local community college.

Four-year schools and career and technical schools can also offer recruitment and work-force training possibilities. Visit your local schools for information on any programs they offer.


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