Recruiting tips to help you overcome the talent crisis

Strategies for small business owners to meet the challenge

The low unemployment rate has been great news for many U.S. workers, offering access to new opportunities, higher wages and improved benefits. However, not everyone is enjoying the increased competition for talent.

Some small business owners may find it more difficult to attract and hire workers, especially for skilled positions in high demand. With New Hampshire’s unemployment rate at 2.7 percent, companies may find job openings remain unfilled for weeks, months or even longer. In addition to competing with other small companies in the same industry, business owners must also compete with large employers that can offer benefits and perks that smaller counterparts are unable to match.

Here are a few strategies that small business owners can implement to assist with recruitment challenges:

• Consider attitude when experience is lacking: When it comes to acquiring top talent, smaller companies may not always be able to attract candidates with the desired amount of experience. In these scenarios, hiring managers should recruit smarter and avoid overlooking candidates because of limited experience. Instead, focus on applicants who possess strong core values, positive mindsets and traits of a quick learner. These types of employees rarely disappoint, and they may bring the added benefit of enhanced loyalty, recognizing and appreciating the opportunity provided by the business owner who took a chance on them. These employees may also be less set in their ways, with fewer bad habits to correct.

 • Foster a culture of learning: While a consistent paycheck may be a compelling reason to stay with a company, most employees want more. Workers may leave an employer when they feel they have learned all they can and want to take on new challenges. Company leaders can combat this issue by establishing and fostering a culture of learning. For example, job shadowing and cross-training programs can create avenues and opportunities for employees to continue to add skills and expertise. A learning environment can help keep employees engaged and invested in a company, reducing the possibility of departures.

 • Promote the benefits of working for a small business: Being an employee of a smaller company can provide many advantages, including reduced bureaucracy, increased colleague interaction and a stronger connection with company values. Based on these examples, recruiters may want to emphasize these positives and other tangible benefits when speaking with candidates. Sometimes a talented worker will be willing to accept a lower salary with standard benefits in exchange for greater access to senior leadership or a more senior job title that may come with working for a small business.

 • Become more flexible: Employers working to overcome a talent shortage may solve the problem by becoming more flexible. Salary, work schedule, location, benefits and culture all play a major role in attracting and retaining talent. Organizations that make adjustments in any of these areas can increase their chances of attracting, hiring and retaining top talent. One example might include flexible hours to help employees with morning or evening family commitments or clogged commutes. Companies may also want to consider allowing employees to work remotely on certain days. These types of perks are typically less costly than other benefits and can help build loyalty and provide an enhanced work-life balance.

 • Encourage upward mobility: One reason workers may choose to leave a company is because of the feeling that they have reached their professional ceiling. To counter this, organizations should commit to developing new and existing managers, providing them with the right tools to learn and grow as effective leaders. Developing a formal mentorship program may also give employees the chance to learn from seasoned management team members, while providing practical insights and best practices as it relates to the company’s initiatives and values.

Small businesses that explore these strategies can both attract new talent and challenge current employees to learn and grow. This combination can help create a more dedicated, skilled team built to withstand the ongoing talent crisis now and in the future.

Eric Cormier is senior human resource specialist for Insperity.

Categories: Business Advice