They are on nearly every street corner, in every shop window, and somewhere on most small businesses’ social media feeds. They are of course, the ubiquitous help wanted signs whose necessity can often determine a business’ ability to return to pre-COVID hours.
In something of a perfect storm raining down on small businesses, hiring has become increasingly difficult as potential employees are faced with a variety of factors making many of them hesitant to return to the workforce. According to Indeed, more than 50% of small businesses have found it “somewhat difficult” or “very difficult” to find the right employee in recent months. Factors including safety concerns – particularly for customer service industry positions, lack of childcare, coupled with the fact that businesses often feel they are competing against unemployment benefits has caused hiring to become one of the biggest issues facing small businesses.
So what’s a small business to do? Below are three small things to keep in mind while hiring that can have a big impact on your success in finding the right person for your business.
Evaluate Your Brand
Potential employees have a lot of options and now, more than ever, candidates are choosing you as much or more than you are choosing them. Just as you have to market to your customers, it’s also important to market yourself to potential employees. Take stock of your brand reputation amongst current and former employees. Check online to see if people have left reviews on sites such as Glassdoor. Employees talk and if they are happy and love their job they will be your best brand ambassadors and will be much more likely to mention to a friend that you’re hiring. Naturally, it works against you if you have a negative reputation within the community – this is especially true in the restaurant industry.
Celebrate What You Offer
Small businesses will likely never be able to compete with national brands in terms of resources – so instead, get creative about what you offer employees and celebrate that. While financial compensation is important, it’s not the whole package. With social media and job posting boards employers now have the ability to really dive into what sets their company apart. In addition to financial compensation and traditional benefits what can you offer that will make you stand out in the crowd? Do you offer a shoe compensation package? Are there opportunities for mentorships? Can they bring their COVID puppy with attachment issues to work with them? Just be sure that you’re staying true to your brand.
In order to make an attractive offer to a potential employee, it’s important to understand what motivates them to get a job in the first place. While this can vary across generations, it can also vary based on life stage. Are they a retiree just looking for a way to add some social interaction into their day? Are they a single mom trying to add some part-time income while the kids are in school? Are they interested in learning the ropes from a mentor type person in an industry in which they hope to one day open their own business? These people will all be motivated by different factors and you’ll want to tailor your approach accordingly.