Running a small business isn’t easy. While CEOs of large companies have enough employees and funds to get by, small business owners like you must don several hats to get things done. From playing accountant to marketing head to recruiting manager, you end up doing many things by yourself. However, with the economy opening up and consumer demand slowly rising, you’ve perhaps reached a point where to grow and remain competitive, you’ll need to onboard some helping hands. Yet, even as your business slowly recovers from the pandemic, another large obstacle looms ahead: finding workers.
The Crunch is Real!
According to the data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 9.3 million job openings in the US at the end of April. This was also the second time in a row that the labor market saw a record number of job openings in addition to a relatively high quit rate of 2.7%.
The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) also reported that nearly half of America’s small businesses couldn’t find workers. Additionally, about a third of people who quit their jobs in April were retail workers, as reported by the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey. One of the primary reasons for this attrition was perhaps the reluctance on employers’ part to pay more and cut down their profits that sent employees on a lookout for greener (better paying) pastures. To prevent this attrition, 34% of small business owners reported raising compensation in the NFIB survey, and 22% said they plan to raise compensation in the next few months. Yet, finding qualified employees remained problematic for 93% of small business owners looking to hire employees. Additionally, over a fourth of business owners cited labor quality as their top business concern.
Surprisingly, this labor shortage exists despite a high unemployment rate in the country. This also means people are looking for work but perhaps they’re not finding suitable conditions to work, which is keeping them on the sidelines. By understanding the reasons behind the labor shortage, you can improve your hiring process to find reliable and qualified employees for your small business.
Reuters shared six reasons why people are still staying out of the job market:
- Parents, especially mothers, are unable to work because of closures or shortened hours at schools and daycare.
- Many workers are fearful of returning to work owing to health risks.
- Stock market gains have given older workers the cushion to retire.
- Younger workers are finding jobs in other fields, which has shrunk the labor pool for the industries they have left behind.
- Many employers need to fill jobs requiring skills that sidelined workers may not have.
- Some employers have also complained that enhanced unemployment benefits and other government aid are keeping workers on the sidelines.
The expiration of various unemployment benefits is going to bring the workers back into the market, as is widely believed by experts. Yet, some workers are likely to continue feeling fear and mistrust, which might keep them away from actively seeking work. Some individuals may also be anxious about returning to their desks after working remotely for more than a year.
Tips to Find & Retain Qualified Employees For Your Small Business
Now that you know what’s driving the demand-supply gap for workers, here’s what you can do to find and recruit the people you need to keep your small business running profitably.
1. Offer Higher Wages
Many employers, especially restaurants, are offering signing bonuses to people who’ve been unemployed for a while. While this is a good move for attracting workers who are in immediate need of money, offering to pay them more than the minimum wage standards can be a better hook. Even a few additional dollars over the minimum wage rate can make employees feel valued and consider your job offer more seriously.
2. Make Arrangements To Get Women Back to Work
Women have been particularly hit by the pandemic, with one-in-four thinking of leaving the workforce or scaling down their careers. Working mothers with small children have been worst affected as they must remain home due to childcare and at-home learning requirements. According to experts, this situation is expected to ease up as schools start reopening in September. In the interim, you can make your job offer more lucrative by offering flexible work arrangements or childcare benefits that will enable women to return to work.
3. Build A Solid Employee Benefits Plan
In these uncertain times, providing your employees with high-quality benefits like life, medical and dental coverage can help attract good and reliable workers to fill your vacant positions. You can also consider giving employment guarantees to your new workers to relieve their anxiety. The massive lay-offs and pay cuts of the past year have led workers to distrust their employers. Giving no-layoff guarantees to your new hires, perhaps after a compulsory probation period, can boost performance and loyalty both.
4. Create A Safer Workplace
Many workers are reluctant to return to in-person jobs for the fear of contracting COVID. Thankfully, you can invest in various technologies to create a safer workplace, which is an important criterion for workers looking for jobs. For grocery store and retail store owners, this could mean putting in place systems that make it safer for employees to carry out their daily business. We are all aware that grocery and retail store workers were some of the most overworked people during the peak of the pandemic as they kept the shelves stocked and lines moving. By integrating hardware like Octopos, you can improve your employee and customer experience by accepting payments through any mode with a contactless payment terminal that keeps things sanitary and moving swiftly.
It’s a fact that worker shortage is slowing the recovery of small businesses post-pandemic. As a small business owner, it’s time for you to get creative once again and offer prospective employees something they will find hard to refuse. Clearly, it’s going to take more than just money to fill up the vacant spots in your business. Besides higher salaries, advertising flexible work arrangements, job guarantees, and other possible incentives will increase your chances of finding good and reliable employees in these challenging times.