As state and local governments slowly allow businesses to start operating at 100% capacity, many small business owners are realizing they’re no longer adequately staffed. It may be time to start hiring, but the pandemic has changed how to find (and retain) employees.
Forbes recently noted that a labor shortage is especially affecting businesses in sectors like retail, restaurants and agriculture. Has your small business been impacted?
If so, it’s time to develop a small business hiring and recruitment plan that factors in what talent is looking for, how to reach new hires and effective strategies for keeping employees around once they’re on staff.
Here’s the ultimate guide to small business hiring post-COVID-19.
Evaluate Your Compensation Structure
A recent piece by the Society for Human Resource Management notes that businesses are seeing compensation as the deciding factor in whether an employee accepts an offered position. In fact, the author quotes a CEO at a staffing firm, “Jobs that were paying $55K last year are paying $65K to $70K [now]. Hourly positions in the south Atlanta area that were $10 an hour last year are up to as high as $14.”
How long has it been since you conducted a market comparison of your pay structures? Raising your rates for your hourly staff or increasing salary thresholds can help you stand out in a competitive market. As part of your recruitment plan, take time to benchmark your compensation package against other businesses in your industry. Look at job postings, check online resources and talk to other business owners.
Redesign Schedules for Flexibility
Flexible schedules may be key to helping you attract and retain talent. For example, if you need part-time administrative or accounting help, does that work really need to be completed on-site?
When Megan hired a part-time administrator and bookkeeper for her floral shops, she allowed the new hire to work from home part time. She still required some on-site hours so she could work closely with her new team member, but the flexible schedule helped her job offer stand out.
Remote or hybrid work arrangements can be powerful incentives for top talent. It may not be practical for your workers to be off-site, but tinker with innovative scheduling techniques — like shortening shifts or allowing for longer lunch breaks. These employee-friendly tweaks could help you gain and retain the talent you need.
Think About Upping PTO
Perks while on the clock are important, but job seekers also want to know your off-the-clock policies. So, take a look at your paid time off (PTO) offerings when building your recruitment plan. The standard two weeks per year for a full-time employee seems to be a thing of the past. Employee Benefit News reports that employers are adding more PTO and encouraging workers to take time off for mental health needs and to recharge.
For employees looking for that elusive “work/life balance” and a workplace that cares about them as people, not just employees, mindful execution of a PTO structure can send the right signals.
Focus on Onboarding
You’ve identified a strong candidate, made an offer and they’ve accepted. What can you do now to set them up for success? Your onboarding program may be the most important part of the hiring process. Hireology reports that companies that execute effective onboarding retain 91% of first-year hires. However, only 12% of workers think their companies are doing a good job of onboarding.
Sure, onboarding is mostly paperwork, but that’s just one part of this intricate process. You should also:
- Take the time to build rapport with your new hire, understand their goals and learn what they enjoy about work.
- Help them see the bigger vision you’re achieving with your business and how their role contributes to that vision.
- Invest in training, helping them up their skills and align their mindset with success in their role and your organization.
- Support new hires in connecting with existing staff to foster a team environment (especially if you’re in a virtual setting!).
As a manager, check in frequently, touch base, provide a lot of feedback and praise, and answer all their questions. Do whatever you can to set your new hires up for success! If you can get those crucial first 90 days right, you’ll be well on your way to a happy employee who stays with your business for the long haul.
Consider the Employee Experience
Competitive compensation, generous time off and paid training can go a long way toward helping you recruit the right people, but it’s your larger employee experience that will often determine whether people stay.
As a business owner, you should ensure that your culture and working environment balance professionalism with warmth and fun. You should also recognize and thank your staff for their hard work, so they feel valued. Also, ask yourself harder questions:
- Is my business a place where workers can grow, learn and take on new responsibilities? Even the smallest businesses can offer growth opportunities. For example, training a sales clerk on how to style displays can help them gain new skills and continue growing their contributions as well as future opportunities.
- Is our current staff inspiring to be around? Good employees excel at their jobs and expect their colleagues and managers to do the same. Having a workplace full of employees contributing to the best of their abilities is a place strong performers want to be a part of.
- Do we build personal relationships with employees? Taking the time to get to know your staff — their life outside the office, their family or their hobbies — can signify that you really care about them as people. It’s also important to keep a pulse on their professional aspirations and see how you can help them grow.
Don’t Give Up
Today’s job seekers, quite frankly, are spoiled for choice about where they can work. During a labor shortage, it can feel like you’re swimming upstream to find good talent. But don’t give up. By strategically assessing how you attract and then retain the best workers, you’ll set yourself up to be fully staffed as the economic recovery continues.
With an engaged and eager staff, you’ll continue to provide the services that keep your customers coming back time and again.
Need funds to grow or pivot your business for success in the coming years? Check out National Funding’s small business funding solutions or fill out our contact form to contact a representative.