Businesses of all sizes are currently facing attraction and retention challenges. Successful efforts to win over employees can require an investment of time and carry high costs. Unfortunately, small businesses often don’t have excess resources to invest in attraction and retention efforts in today’s worker-friendly labor market.
Amid these labor obstacles, smaller employers should focus on what’s feasible. Often, small employers have the agility to respond to the employment market with new strategies. This article highlights some small business tips for attracting and retaining employees.
Employee Attraction and Retention Strategies for Small Businesses
According to a study, small firms are less likely to offer health insurance versus businesses with more employees. Health insurance is valued highly by workers who often don’t have access to this coverage, which often includes part-time employees, those in the service sector—and workers employed by small businesses. Thus, for small businesses, even simply offering packages that include health care can offer a competitive edge against those that don’t.
Expand Your Online Presence
If an employer isn’t receiving the number of quality job candidates they desire, it’s worth strategizing to grow this pool. A good starting point for small businesses looking to grow their recruiting reach is to expand their online presence. This may include creating and maintaining multiple online profiles, posting content regularly, and educating prospective workers about job opportunities. If limited by time, it’s fine to focus on managing one or two key profiles. It’s best to pick a platform where potential employees may likely be and focus on developing an active presence—even if it just means putting in a few minutes per day.
Revamp Your Hiring Process
Small businesses often have limited resources when it comes to recruiting, hiring, and onboarding, so it’s important to be as efficient as possible. These restraints may include insufficient financial resources to put into these practices—but also a lack of time. However, a thorough review of the current status of these practices may uncover ways to create improvements.
Employers can consider using tools such as an applicant tracking system that collects and stores candidate resumes and helps automate common recruiting and onboarding tasks. To further ease the onboarding process, employers could consider leveraging cloud-based and digital tools designed to help manage the process of completing Form I-9s and direct deposits, which can be tedious for both the new hire and the employer.
By improving these processes, employers can reduce costs, and recruiting efforts can focus on finding new employees rather than dealing with tedious tasks.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, many employees have been allowed to work remotely or have flexibility with their schedules. Surveys overwhelmingly indicate that many employees prefer to retain flexible work options. These offerings include work-from-home arrangements, hybrid work schedules, or flexible work schedules.
However, not all organizations allow for remote or hybrid work. If a small business is in the service industry, for example, remote work may not be an option. Yet, even working with employees to create flexible scheduling options can go a long way.
Support Your Employees
Attraction and retention challenges aren’t always about bringing enough employees through the doors—today, many small businesses face skills gaps. A survey in 2020 found that one in five small businesses cited a lack of employee skills as the single biggest challenge they faced in response to COVID-19.
While a solution to this may be to recruit for specific skills to close these gaps, existing employees are often overlooked. While recruiting for talent with desirable skills may require significant resources, small businesses should also consider how they can bridge these gaps in-house.
Small businesses generally won’t need to develop skills for large groups, so it’s a good idea to focus on individualized learning. Some ideas or opportunities include providing career pathing plans, creating mentorship programs, offering microlearning workshops to focus on a specific skill, or paying for employees to attain certifications or further their education outside of the workplace.
Prioritize a Healthy Company Culture
While topics such as compensation and benefits matter for attracting and retaining employees, so does the culture of a workplace. Even if they have limited resources, small employers should focus on fostering a desirable workplace. Healthy company culture can help retain employees—and, in turn, create an environment that is attractive to prospective job seekers.