How to Find, Keep, and Avoid Losing Your Best Employees in 2021

It’s no secret that small businesses are the backbone of the U.S. economy. Although the 2020 pandemic has had a devastating effect, vaccination rates are rising and many entrepreneurs are ready to get back to business. One important challenge that many are facing is replacing or bringing back workers who left due to covid restrictions or a business downturn.

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Small businesses comprise 99.7% of all firms with paid employees. 6.04 million small businesses have employees, meaning 20% of all small businesses have at least one paid employee.  If you depend on a staff to help you operate, read on for steps to attract talent to your small business in this post-pandemic world.

The state of hiring in America 2021

There are more than 10 million open jobs in the U.S., the highest level ever, and over one million more jobs than unemployed people.  Almost one-third of small business owners say they have had open positions they are unable to fill for at least three months, double the level from a year ago. And 40 percent of small business owners are experiencing a rising cost of worker wages.

Categorizing employees

Before you start the hiring process, decide the employee category. The way you classify employees can impact on everything from taxes to insurance benefits. Types of employees include:

  • Full-time employees typically work an average of 40 hours a week and are eligible for benefits such as health, dental, vacation days and paid time off.
  • Part-time employees work less than the 40 hours that full-time employees clock in for, and they may not be salaried like a full-time employee.
  • Seasonal employees are hired for a short period of time, based on a company’s needs. Generally, they help with increased work demand or seasonal work that arises in specific times of the year.
  • Temporary employees are generally hired on a temporary basis for a set period, such as six months. They may also be hired to work on a specific project and stop working for the company when the project is complete.

Attracting talent

Create a clear job description

Many employers make the mistake of listing the qualifications and requirements for a job in a posting and leaving it at that. In a competitive job market, you need to write job posts that sell your jobs. Keep these guidelines in mind:

  • Provide a detailed summary of the key responsibilities employees should expect on the job
  • Use a clear, unambiguous job title
  • Specify the salary or salary range
  • Use between 700 and 1,000 words
  • Discuss overall goals and strategic mission

Post on free sites

Start by posting to general free job posting sites such as Indeed. Despite being totally free, these sites still have a lot of value and can bring in many candidates.

Ask for referrals

Ask other small business owners in your area and even your customers if they know of a job-searcher who may fit your requirements. Personal recommendations are generally more reliable.

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The hiring process

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 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

You don’t have to go it alone – after all, that’s why you’re hiring staff in the first place. If you get a good first impression from a job candidate, have them speak with your colleagues to determine if they are a fit for your company.

Ask about the candidate’s most recent workplace

Job interviews should focus on performance and tasks. But you can learn just as much about a job candidate by asking them about their current job responsibilities. Have the candidate discuss their current work projects, environment, and culture and what they like and dislike about each. Their answers may help you better see if they’ll be a fit for your needs.

Creating a positive corporate culture

If you’ve ever heard of a job prospect not getting a job (or an employee being fired) for being a poor “culture fit,” then you’re familiar with why company culture matters. Another big reason culture is important? A solid company culture helps attract and retain talent.

Increased employee engagement leading to better work, is more likely when an employee’s values align with those of the employer – namely, the company’s culture. Good company culture also leads to a positive work environment that leads to happier employees and less turnover.

Company culture matters for external affairs too. Sure, most consumers don’t know which types of company cultures any given company might use, but consumers might describe the brand as accommodating, fairly priced, or accessible. Such descriptors reflect your company culture – if selling at reasonable prices is a key company value, then consumers may notice this and choose you over your competitors. Visit the SmartBiz Small Business Blog for more company culture information. You’ll learn the different types of culture and how to establish the right fit for your business and your employees.

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