The Challenge Small Businesses Face Today
The primary concern for small businesses today is no longer inflation, but rather the difficulty of finding and retaining competent and reliable employees. With the rise of remote work, workers, especially millennials, are seeking more than just a paycheck when considering a job opportunity. This has led to an increase in job seekers taking positions all over the country without ever leaving their homes. As the unemployment rate sits at a 50-year low, small businesses must strategize to find the workers they require.
Strategies for Finding and Retaining Employees
To address this challenge, small businesses can explore several strategies in order to attract and retain the right employees.
1. Rehumanize the Application Process
In the current hiring environment, small business owners can give themselves an edge by placing extra effort into responding to applicants. By implementing certain steps in the online job application process, business owners can enhance communication and create a more human experience for applicants. This can involve setting up an automatic email reply to acknowledge the receipt of completed applications, as well as providing a phone number or email address for applicants to ask questions about the process. Taking the time to respond to applicants, even those who may not ultimately be hired, distinguishes a company as one that respects the needs and feelings of workers. This is especially important to younger workers who value personalized interaction and the consideration for their well-being.
2. Offer Job Flexibility
While remote work may not be suitable for all small businesses, there are ways to build trust with employees and create a supportive work environment. One approach is to offer remote work as an earned benefit. By granting remote work privileges to employees who have demonstrated dependability, small businesses can motivate their workforce and foster positive sentiment. Additionally, providing flexibility in working hours, such as allowing employees to arrange their schedules around personal commitments, shows that a small business values the well-being of its employees. Employees who feel supported and appreciated are more likely to stay with a company and contribute to its growth.
3. Build a Local Brand
Small businesses have the advantage of being part of a community, where they have personal connections and can provide a work environment that larger companies cannot compete with. To showcase this advantage, small businesses should invest in brand building. Participation in community organizations, such as chambers of commerce and non-profits, offers opportunities for networking, professional development, and charitable activities. Engaging with the local community demonstrates that a small business is committed to more than just making a profit. Additionally, having a robust website with fresh and creative content is essential for interacting with the local community. Small businesses should not solely rely on social media presence; a company website is a cost-effective way to establish local brand recognition. Keeping the website’s content updated and engaging, along with sharing it on social media and through email, will attract interest and raise awareness that the business is a desirable workplace.
The current tight labor market presents challenges for small businesses, but with creative thinking, brand building, and a focus on community, these businesses can attract and retain the workers they need. By rehumanizing the application process, offering job flexibility, and building a local brand, small businesses can demonstrate their commitment to employees and create a work environment that sets them apart from larger competitors.
Remember, in order to succeed amidst the demands of the current labor market, small businesses must prioritize finding and retaining competent employees. By implementing these strategies, small businesses can improve their chances of attracting and retaining the right talent, setting themselves up for long-term success in a competitive marketplace.