What’s the biggest problem you have with your employees? Is it retaining them, motivating them or keeping them from wasting half the day on Facebook? None of the above. If you’re like most small business owners, the biggest employee problem you have is finding good ones in the first place.
In a recent survey by Robert Half, 60 percent of small business owners report the biggest challenge they face in hiring or managing staff is simply finding skilled workers to do the job. (The second-biggest concern—maintaining employee morale and productivity—was far behind, cited by only 19 percent of respondents.)
It’s hard to believe finding staff is still a problem in a marketplace where so many people are still unemployed, underemployed or looking to switch jobs. What gives? Some workers have been out of the work force so long that their skills have atrophied. Others, even those with jobs, haven’t kept up with the rapid pace of workplace change.
But for many small businesses, the problem is not the kind of workers that are out there, but the way they approach hiring. Big companies have huge HR divisions, established brands and clear-cut pathways for employee advancement. For small companies, the brand recognition is likely not there, the recruiting staff probably isn’t in place, and the advantages of working at an entrepreneurial business may not be readily apparent.
How can you get around these hurdles?
3 Tips that Could Help You Find the Employees You Need
Emphasize the Benefits of Working at Your Business
You may not have all the perks of a big corporation, but focus on what you do offer. Promote your company culture on your business website, in your want ads and in interviews. Is your company a fun, casual place to work? Is there lots of room to “wear different hats” and work with many different departments?
Job seekers value the ability to gain new skills without having to jump through corporate hoops—so focus on how employees at your company have the chance to really make a difference, even at the entry level.
Don’t be shy about “selling” your company—that’s what it takes to make your business stand out as a potential employer.
Recruit in the Right Places
Don’t just place want ads on mass job boards like Monster.com. Small businesses will generally get better results from more targeted recruiting efforts, such as industry-specific or local job boards.
Use social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook to announce your job openings and drive interested parties to your website to get more information and apply. Use LinkedIn to advertise, tap into your connections to uncover leads on qualified candidates, and check out industry groups to find people who display leadership and experience in the fields where you’re looking to hire. Even if they’re not actively seeking jobs, they might be interested in your opportunity.
Last, but not least, spread the word among informal networks like friends, family and people at your church or temple.
Bring in the Pros
If you’re hiring for a key position or need to bring someone on board quickly, hiring a recruiting firm could be worth your time. Make sure to look for a recruiter who is familiar with your industry and also works with lots of small companies. Get referrals and opinions from other business owners who have used the recruiter, and always weigh the benefits against the cost.
Another option: Look into temporary staffing agencies.
These days, staffing services aren’t only for assistants—you can hire a CMO, CFO or other C-level employee through a staffing agency. This gives you the option to “test drive” a candidate whose skills have been vetted by the agency. If you like what you see, you can offer them a permanent position.
Try these tactics and you’ll boost your chances of finally finding the perfect employee—one with the skills and experience you need.
Employee Problems Photo via Shutterstock