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4 principles that led this company to the list of the best small businesses

“They had a good time,” said Claire Magat, vice president of People Initiatives & Strategic Projects at Balsam Brands. “We are doing our closing week.”

Stop? I thought. In February?

We all worked extremely hard last year and it’s time to rest, sometimes it means a trip to Hawaii with our families, sometimes it takes a week to close, but no meetings, no email, no work team. The necessary exercises, we will completely close. ”

It’s impressive for an e-commerce retailer with more than 120 people.

Any background

Balsam Brands, recently named one of America’s Best Small Businesses by Forbes, has seen remarkable growth and success. Over the past decade, the company, which markets artificial Christmas trees and Christmas decorations, has expanded its offering from 300 to more than 3,000 products, which have been expanded and expanded to 4 offices around the world.

Significant business growth and after-hours closures are not the only reasons why Balsam Brands received the Forbes Award. Their website states, “Balsam puts people first and success follows.” The company’s mission is simple: to be a place where employees love their work and remain profitable. It has worked so far.

Claire explains: “Many factors are important to the success of a company’s development, but the most important is by far the talent, we think our team is our most valuable asset and we treat it as such.

Here are the 4 principles that drive Balsam’s successful strategy:

1. Manage every hiring decision as it goes or will break the business
In terms of recruitment, Balsam Brands is very attentive to each vacancy. “Although we are very excited to play a role, we never recruit in desperation, we take our time,” says Claire. The recruiting team is so focused on culture that they prefer to leave an open position and grow based on their business needs rather than hiring the wrong person.

On the other hand, if you meet a high-potential candidate who fits the right culture, but has no job opportunities that match his abilities, he will do his best to create a role for that person. To give you an idea of ​​how often they recruited, they hired 19 new team members in the United States last year.

“We also have a thorough interview process with very specific questions that will benefit both the candidate and the recruiting team,” says Claire. During the interview, a candidate gets to know each member of his potential team. This often includes two full days of interviews, informal discussions on coffee and rigorous evaluation tests. Balsam Brands even organizes teamwork activities for candidates to see how they work together, present themselves to an audience and adapt to different types of personality.

After each interview, the recruiting team discusses observations and interviews with the candidate. “The reports are very effective, helping us to discover prejudices and make sure that every voice is heard when we make a hiring decision.” The reports include all the people who interacted with the candidate, from the junior team to CEO Thomas “Harman.

2. Find versatile employees who thrive in a seasonal business
When setting up, balsam focuses on candidates who have a versatility in their abilities and interests. This is important for highly seasonal cases when important functional activities can change dramatically during and out of season.

Team members learn to adapt to the seasonality of the company and often take on two roles throughout the year. This flexibility also allows the company to test new projects with minimal investment, rather than hiring experts and creating specialized functions before the concept is proven. For example, the SEO Manager also works extensively with the Philippine team, leading philanthropic efforts overseas. Video Content Strategist creates content for flagship brand Balsam Hill, but also runs an online store in the fourth quarter. Balsam Hill Retail Manager manages the trees in high season, while promoting the sale of the company the rest of the year.

Not all roles change or cover such magnitude, but they are more common than not.

This approach to career navigation also benefits the employee: team members are exposed to a variety of roles early in their careers and will never be stuck in a role they do not perform personally. Sometimes, employees find a good place and begin to specialize in an expert career. In other cases, they expand their expertise and begin the path of the CEO. Every election is welcome and supported.

“We recruit and encourage experts, but we always strive to learn and stimulate the development of our careers.”

3. Create an employee-centered culture

Balm brands

Balsam Brands’ mission statement and corporate culture place talent at the center. In terms of benefits, the company finds ways to meet the needs and desires of its employees while preserving their values.

“We do not have the cash register to offer three free meals a day or shuttles to work,” says Claire. “Instead, we think about what matters most to our team member and we develop programs for that, which can be flexible work schedules, seasonal massages or weekly product draws.”

The company sets annual goals that, once achieved, lead to a trip. This is affectionately called “SSTBD”. (Something special to be determined), and the trip is really special – five days in Hawaii, all expenses paid, including families. A barometer used by the hiring team is whether members of the team prefer to go to a SSTBD with their colleagues or if they have money in their pockets. In general, those who prefer the SSTBD experience are those who eat balm. It is a testimony of the culture that the balm has built and maintained over the years.

Balsam Brands also has a sophisticated approach to talent management through its generous social performance plans, investments in career development and mentorship programs. They are so focused on relationship building that they do not even have a coffee machine in the office. They want their teammates to take a break, get some fresh air and talk to each other while helping local businesses.

4. Maintain great talent with many development opportunities
Balsam Brands invests a great deal of time and energy in professional development, offering team members a wide range of career levels. There are three specific discussions conducted by managers and mentors throughout the year. (Each member of the team, by joining the company, is assigned a mentor whose only role is to help them achieve their personal and professional goals.)

In the first place, managers perform “performance interviews” at the beginning of the year. These are designed to ensure that team members work on projects that are personally realized and committed to their long-term goals. The manager ensures that individual projects are linked to operational roadmaps aligned with the company’s objectives.

Secondly, mentors hold 360 degree development discussions every two years. Feedback is gathered at all levels and shared in an open and honest discussion that stimulates and stimulates growth. It is important that these development discussions differ from the discussions on advertising and remuneration.

Third, each member of the team goes through a professional navigation map specific to their role. The map outlines areas that are important for development based on a particular expert or executive path, such as: This includes an overview of the team member’s position and expectations throughout the organization . without the hierarchical edge.

The hiring principles of the Balsam brands are unique, but the fundamentals can be applied to all small and medium-sized businesses: talent training, transparent career paths lead to a flourishing business.

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