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Three Smart Hiring Tips for
Small Business Owners

by Sarah Ziemba

The last few years have been extremely challenging for businesses. On top of supply chain disruptions, inflation, and economic uncertainty, businesses have been forced to endure a global pandemic, an economic trend known as, The Great Resignation, and now, a talent shortage. Not having enough, or the right talent, can cause major disruption to the business and clients.

Many small businesses may feel they aren’t able to compete with large businesses during this current talent shortage. The truth is, this is an amazing opportunity for them to close the gap and really distinguish themselves as an employer of choice. Let’s dive into three ideas around how small businesses can showcase themselves to prospective employees:

  1. Clearly and visibly address modern day employee concerns
    While job seekers are initially attracted to the job they are applying for, what really engages them is how the business approaches common modern day employment concerns. During the past three unprecedented years a clear message has been sent by employees to their current and prospective employers. Sure, compensation is, and always will be, a motivating factor but, according to an article published by Gartner in March of 2023, pay is far from the only motivator. A sense of personal value and purpose at work are key in attracting and retaining talent. The pandemic and subsequent economic and political volatility has forced everyone to examine their choices about how they spend their time. Employees seek to gain more value from their jobs. Gartner calls this “The Human Deal,” which has the following five components:
    • Deeper Connection: Feeling understood through family and community connections, not just work relationships.
    • Radical Flexibility: Feeling autonomous in all aspects of work, not just when and where it gets done.
    • Personal Growth: Feeling valued through growth as a person, not just as a professional.
    • Holistic well-being. Feeling cared for by ensuring holistic well-being offerings are used, not just available.
    • Shared purpose. Feeling invested in the organization by taking concrete action on purpose, not just through corporate statements.
    • It is the responsibility of the prospective employer to show any future employees how your organization addresses these concerns. This can be embedded in your job posts, posted on your website or social media platforms where prospective employees can view real testimonials from current employees, and through virtual or in-person interviews. Just remember the key is to be authentic, genuine, and honest.
  2. Share the importance of your company’s core values and culture
    Your company culture is your biggest differentiator, and it is up to you to sell it! If your organization doesn’t have or use it’s core values as part of the recruiting and hiring process, you risk losing top talent. Why? Because your core values serve as the organization’s compass, guiding decision-making and behavior at every level. If your prospective employee(s) can’t identify if their personal values align with the organization’s values and culture, they will move on and find another organization that will. When assessing any potential hire, it is critical that not only will they be a great fit for your organization, you also need to be a great fit for them.

    Use every opportunity available to showcase what it is like to work for your organization. Prospective employees want to know how the organization will provide them with opportunities for open communication and collaboration, empowerment, recognition and feedback, personal and professional training and development. By weaving these elements into all aspects of the recruiting process, candidates have multiple opportunities to have a solid understanding of what it would be like to work with your organization.
  3. Onboard effectively
    Congratulations! You’ve successfully recruited a new employee and now, you’ve reached the pivotal step of onboarding them into your organization. Organizations sometimes make the mistake of backing away at this point when, in fact, this is one of the most critical times to lean in. Take time to stay connected to your new employee before they even start. This can be done by sending welcome messages, training agendas, and text messages. These are simple and quick ways to make a new employee feel engaged and an intregal part of the organization and team before they even arrive. On their first day, make sure the environment is warm and inviting. They should feel as though they have always been part of the team. A personalized training agenda with what they can expect for their first day(s) or week(s) can ease the uncertainty of starting a new position. Personally introduce them to their team and anyone they will be having regular contact with. Have their office, desk or work space set up and ready for their arrival. Remember that onboarding doesn’t start and end on day one. It is an ongoing process that sets both your new employee and the organization up for success.

Hiring can be challenging, especially for small businesses. It takes time and patience to find the right candidate. By showcasing your organziation’s ability to be flexible, truly living your core values and onboarding effectively, your small business can really stand out to potential employees.

Gartner article: