The past year or so has been a rough period for small businesses. COVID-19 limited interactions with customers—quashed sales, and shrunk the workforce to new lows. Many small businesses did not make it out of the wreckage. Those that survived are now attempting to regain their footing. It’s time to hire employees for your business.
One step in reclaiming your small business’ former glory is to get employees back into the ranks and into the office. If you had to close down your operations for several months, you probably have a few openings that haven’t been filled yet, thanks to this strange labor shortage. However, in a best-case scenario, your business is booming now that restrictions are being lifted, and you need a bigger workforce to aid in the next phase of your business growth.
Develop a Desirable Culture
Team culture is more important than ever for employees around the world. It’s so much easier to work hard, innovate, and perform your best when you’re surrounded by individuals who lift you up. Positive company culture will yield positive results every single time.
So how do you measure your company culture? For starters, talk with your existing employees. True employee feedback will give you a better idea of where your culture stands right now. Does your team feel like management is helpful and has their best interest in mind? Are their barriers preventing the team from coming together as a unit? Do you engage in team-building exercises or help with productivity and individual growth?
True employee feedback will give you a better idea of where your culture stands right now.
Next, you’ll need a game plan for molding your company culture to exactly what you want it to be. Maybe you need to organize more team meetings inside and outside of the office to help current employees get acquainted. Culture often starts at the top, so look at any bad habits you may have—or one that you might need to shed—such as micromanagement.
The promise of a big paycheck will certainly bring in some applicants, but won’t always keep them around for the long haul. As workers mature and evolve, they begin to weigh benefits more heavily than a base salary. Employees may get married and start families and take health insurance and retirement plans more seriously than they did while picking up part-time jobs during college.
The great thing about benefits is that they can be just about anything.
Sure, retirement programs and insurance plans top the list, but you can get really creative with the other benefits you other. Concert ticket reimbursement, a casual dress code, and a top-of-the-line company campus are just some of the many possibilities you can consider.
When developing a benefits package, keep your desired workforce in mind. For example, if you operate a small restaurant by a local college, tuition reimbursements and part-time scheduling will draw in students to your job applications. If you’re opening your own health clinic and want the best healthcare professionals to join forces with you, focusing on 401ks and office space might be the better approach.
One of the long-lasting effects of COVID-19 isn’t health-related. Instead, it’s the newfound desire that workers have to keep a flexible daily schedule. Working from home was a revelation for many employees, especially those who wanted to spend more time with family or pursuing recreational activities. Embracing that flexibility will attract and retain a lot of talent.
Now you don’t have to enable remote work for all of your employees. In some industries, that’s not even possible. There are other ways to embrace flexibility; however, that will yield similar results. For example, you can experiment with a four-day workweek, unlimited time off, or a hybrid system that allows employees to choose when to come to the office when not required.
Lean Into Your Mission
Sure, at the end of the day, we’re all just working to make ends meet. However, after a while, burnout creeps up and a change of scenery is desired. The humdrum 9–5 routine often leads to turnover, especially for entry-level positions. You can better draw in talent and keep them for the long haul by really leaning into your company mission.
The teenager running the register at your craft store might get tired of their position if they’re only there to save up money for college. However, if part of your company’s mission is to use profits to provide healthcare to at-risk families, they might buy into the company more. This is especially true when mission statements and ideals between companies and employees align.
Continue to Improve
The hiring and onboarding process is a lot like dating. When you meet someone new you like, you’ll do a lot to impress them that you might not do regularly. For example, you might talk up your business as the greatest place to work on this side of the Mississippi, glossing over some of its flaws.
Employee prospects do the same thing in their interviews, trying to make themselves look like the best candidate available to land the job.
Both parties should look at constantly improving themselves, the team and the company—long after an employment agreement has been made. Many a marriage has dwindled because spouses stopped doing the things that caused them to fall in love in the first place. Use this concept to retain your employees by offering raises and bonuses, improving your business operations, and listening to their constructive feedback.
In addition, LinkedIn data suggests that advancement opportunities are one of the best ways to both attract and retain top talent. According to their insight, 59 percent of employees will join a company to pursue a better career or opportunity, and 45 percent of employees who left a company did so because of a lack of possible advancement. Hungry, young professionals want to move forward in their careers and look for organizations that will help them grow and achieve.
Your help-wanted sign won’t be hanging up forever. So stay active and diligent, and soon your ranks will be filled with the best of the best.
By Howie Jones