You’re not alone if you’re having trouble attracting and keeping staff. A convergence of issues has created one of the greatest talent shortages in our lifetimes. With boomers retiring in large numbers, pandemic and opioid deaths, people not wanting to work for low wages, child care availability disappearing, tighter immigration policies, people rethinking their life choices, and so many other factors, it’s no wonder small businesses are having trouble finding workers.
The good news is small business owners still have a lot in their control to be able to attract the perfect candidate to our workplaces. Here are some ideas to help you do just that.
1. Be open to multiple options when it comes to what an employee looks like
If you require a 40-hours-a-week, onsite worker who has to dress in formal clothes to come to work, you need to rethink everything. Many talented people are choosing to work part time, and it might just be easier to find two part-time workers instead of one full-time employee.
How much of the job can they do virtually? This opens up your hiring pool nationally and perhaps even internationally. Consider also temporary versus permanent. And consider outsourcing certain functions as well.
The key is to be open to creative ways to get the job done.
2. Make fun a vital part of your workplace
Even if there are numerous deadlines and serious work to be done, your workplace can still be fun. A good start is bringing food to work; camaraderie always blossoms around food.
Add in extra activities like movie or games night, take weekly team lunches, start an amateur sports team, or encourage co-worker get-togethers after work. Decorate the office for each holiday, and celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and employee successes. Create fun projects such as a volunteer day for a local charity, or support a team entry at a local fun run.
In short, create a culture where employees can not only have fun, but be themselves.
3. Add perks, and not just the usual suspects
Employees are demanding more of their employers, and the best businesses are listening and delivering. Beyond increased pay and the usual benefits – 401K, health insurance, vacation, and PTO -here are some new additions:
- Flex hours – more say in when they work
- Work-at-home days – more people are working at home at least part of the time
- Pet insurance – a New England CPA firm offers this to workers now
- Extra PTO – one marketing agency in Texas provides unlimited PTO, no questions asked
- Child care – any way to make this easy on parents is a plus
Other perks to think about are holiday gifts, bonuses, free dry cleaning, free car washes, and employee discounts.
4. Embrace technology
Employees want the best tools you can give them so they can do a good job. Be sure your employees are fitted with the latest hardware and software so there is less stress around the inevitable tech glitches that occur. There’s nothing worse than having a deadline and coming across a software glitch that wastes precious time.
5. Apply marketing techniques to hiring
Instead of posting the old boring job ad, create a campaign to find employees. Make sure your social media is up to date and mirrors the fun culture of your organization. Be sure to look in places you may not have traditionally looked for candidates. Create a job interview process that’s interesting and enthusiastic. You’re definitely competing for talent, so doing all of these things will help you win.
We may be in a period of staff shortages, but there are still millions of people who want to work. Do just a little more for your employees and candidates than the small business down the street, and they will want to keep working for you.