It is hard to believe that about 15 months ago, the unemployment rate was at a record 15% at the start of the COVID pandemic. Now with businesses opening again, the number one problem small businesses ironically have is finding qualified new employees. Has the definition of work fundamentally changed?
On The Small Business Radio Show this week, Victoria Jones, an Evangelist on Zoho‘s customer advocacy team discusses why it’s so hard to find people. She is a frequent speaker and trainer on digital collaboration, AI, and privacy. Victoria focuses on creating Zoho centered educational content to support and empower customers.
Having a Hard Time Finding Employees
I asked Victoria what is holding people out of the job market and making it very difficult for small business owners to find employees. Is it the extra federal unemployment benefits or are people reevaluating what they want to do for work post COVID pandemic? After some time off, Victoria said that a lot of people are re-entering the workforce with perhaps newly acquired skills and with higher expectations from employers. Other people have shifted their perspective and decided they don’t want to dedicate their life to a certain type of work they did in the past. Victoria adds that people are deciding “how much of my life do I want to dedicate to work…it’s a wake-up call. They want a job that is not going to take them too much away from their families…” Small business owners need understand that employees are now coming to work from a very different personal place.
As a result, the culture in your small business is even more critical because people are deciding who they want to spend their time working with after being at home for an extended period of time. At Zoho, Victoria says that the company has always been very focused on the work–life balance; “Zoho wants to ensure …that work does not take over their life. It’s important that people’s lives have a separate track from work and your life should not just fit around work. At Zoho, you are not supposed to think work is your life…”
Small business owners need to understand that employees have a personal life separate from work and respect that (and sometimes it will get in the way!). They need to provide better tools for employees in the area of collaboration and project management so they can work from anywhere. Victoria insists that employees need to know exactly what they are to be doing and all the information must be be available in the cloud to collaborate. The favorite tools she uses for her job are Connect, Projects and Cliq.
Listen to the entire interview on The Small Business Radio Show.
A lot of things have changed with remote work being a big one. I’m not surprised to see the labor market facing some growing pains as it adjusts to the new situation.
It is really important for employees to have a good work-life balance as it also improves productivity at work.