How Small Business Owners Can Compete for Talent in 2022

Recent research shows that small business owners are ready to hire but facing difficulty filling open positions. If you need to add employees, you can take steps to make your available positions more attractive. These days, job seekers are looking for organizations with solid company cultures that encourage team spirit and collaboration. Diversity and inclusion are also cited as important along with flexible schedules. If your overall talent strategy needs a refresh, here’s information to help you remain competitive in today’s job market.

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How hiring has evolved in 2022

  • More flexibility 

A flexible workforce describes a staff that is optimized when needed. This might look like a mix of full-time, part-time, and temporary employees for larger businesses. When done right, a flexible team can be more effective and productive.

Shifting to a more flexible workforce can also help companies save money by only paying people for the work needed at the moment, which is important during uncertain economic times.

  • Increased use of gig economy workers

A recent survey found that nearly half of U.S. hiring managers (47%) are more likely to hire independent professionals in the future than before the impact of COVID-19, and 73% of hiring managers are continuing or increasing their use of independent professionals.

Outsourcing has many benefits including easing the stress and workload of current staff, providing more flexibility for budgeting, and decreasing overhead costs to help scale quickly.

  • Focus on employee rights and safety

Monster found that most job seekers demand that health and safety guidelines and return to work strategies are in place. A company that has safety protocols in place shows that they put employees first. Worker safety is appearing on hiring pages, company websites, and social media channels.

  • Remote interviewing

Zoom® interviews have overtaken face-to-face candidate interviews. Online meetings streamline the interview process and can speed time to hire. Employers and candidates have found that they can assess gestures, expressions, engagement, and body language as easily online as in-person.

  • Onboarding and training remotely

In a remote work environment, the big challenge is how to give new employees a real feel for the job and company culture. Best practices for successful onboarding and training include setting goals with video check-ins, initiating professional development, and encouraging collaborative learning.

Competing for talent with large employers as a small business

Businesses simply have to pay more to keep employees these days. However, a small business owner may not be able to pay as much as a large employer.

If you don’t have a large budget, you can still be attractive to qualified candidates. Here are areas to concentrate on:

Focus on flexibility

Many people would prefer to work for a small organization over a large one. Your size

allows you to offer more flexibility than a larger firm. Do away with rigid policies and be willing to work with employees when they need a schedule change, a break from work, or the ability to work from home.

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Foster an open door policy

Employees of large companies often feel ignored. Complaints about broken systems, cumbersome processes, and even outright mismanagement are often not addressed. Emphasize that you take the opposite approach, checking in regularly with your employees and asking how you can best set them up for success.

Offer cross training

Employees can get pigeonholed into a position with a large corporation without a clear path forward. Make cross training a priority so your team has the ability to learn additional responsibilities that will help them advance at your company or wherever they work next.

Present your operating budget

Not every business owner will want to bust open the books when hiring talent. But if you want an employee to accept a pay level below what a larger company could offer, you can be transparent about your business costs. This opens the door to a dialogue about how the candidate can impact future profits and payroll.

Interview best practices in 2022

Hiring new employees is a crucial component of small business success. Attracting strong candidates that fit your company culture and can add value is no easy task. But you can set yourself up for success from the very first interview. Here are best practices to consider.

  • Determine if you need a full time employee or freelancer

It’s important to understand the difference between hiring an employee and working with an independent contractor. Determining the right fit for your small business will help you determine what taxes need to be withheld and can help you avoid legal trouble.

An Independent Contractor typically operates under a business name, invoices for work completed, can have more than one client and sets their own hours. An Employee typically performs duties dictated or controlled by others and works for only one employer.

Before you start your search, look at the scope of the position and talk to a financial professional about tax implications. For more information to help you make a decision, visit our blog to read Hiring Help: Do you Need an Employee or Independent Contractor?

  • Don’t go on just instinct

It feels great to meet a candidate you really get along with, but don’t conflate the good energy for ample qualifications, or even a guarantee that your new hire will gel with the whole team. You shouldn’t hesitate to confirm that the most exciting prospects live up to the first impressions they make. Consider verifying all the information on candidates’ resumes, as lying on a resume is not as uncommon as you think.

  • Administer skill tests

Skill tests can tell you whether your prospect actually boasts the talents they claim to have. These tests will provide you with an unbiased assessment of how much your prospect actually knows about the work with which you’ll task them. If your prospect tests well, it’s a good indicator that they have the skills to support the workload, and your business, for the long haul.

  • Have the candidate talk to the team

One of the fundamental tenets of good business is to not go it alone – after all, that’s why you’re hiring employees in the first place. If you get a great first impression from a job candidate, have them speak with your colleagues to assess their fit for your company. You can set up a formal interview or just have the candidate swing by the office for a bit – as long as you respect both your candidate’s and your coworkers’ time, either option works.

  • Ask about the candidate’s most recent workplace

Often, job interviews focus mostly on performance and tasks. You can learn just as much about a job candidate by asking them about where they’re doing their work. Have the candidate discuss their current work environment and culture and what they would change about both. Their answers may help you better see how – or if – they’ll be a fit for your company culture.

  • Discuss customer and client interactions

Since job interviews often pertain strongly to work functions, they may overlook another key company culture trait: customer and client interactions. Will your employee be able to appropriately communicate with the people who pay for your goods and services, or with other team members if they are an internal employee?

Final thoughts

No matter how the economy is going, your business can survive and thrive with the right staff. Put the right hiring strategies in place so you can hire and retain the right employees. Take note of the strategies above to stay competitive and be sure to keep an eye on industry hiring trends and best practices. Employees are important because they carry out your mission and have influence over your customers. Make hiring a priority.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: The SmartBiz® Small Business Blog and other related communications from SmartBiz Loans® are intended to provide general information on relevant topics for managing small businesses. Be aware that this is not a comprehensive analysis of the subject matter covered and is not intended to provide specific recommendations to you or your business with respect to the matters addressed. Please consult legal and financial processionals for further information.

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