Archive for June, 2017

Small Business Hiring in Today’s Changing World

June 11, 2017

The latest employment data once again demonstrates small businesses hiring is greater than that of large corporations.

At the same time, surveys of small business leaders indicate they expect to hire more and more workers as the year progresses.

While good news, it also highlights a growing problem for smaller firms: finding qualified employees.

As the nation’s unemployment rate ticks under 5% the number of unfilled jobs is increasing.

This is occurring despite the nation having an estimated 94 million people who have dropped out of the job seeking sector who are just now starting to return to the labor force.

Many of these individuals had skills and experience in older, less technical functions or in declining industries.

Concurrently, the rise of cloud-based services eliminates the need for many in-house functions such as accounting, payroll, invoicing, and social media.  This outsourcing means remaining employees must be more and more specialized.

With specialized talents needed and despite this apparent large pool of candidates, many small businesses still say they can’t find individuals capable of doing many tasks important to their company.

Experts say there are several reasons for this but the major factor is many individuals are unprepared for today’s marketplace.

One reason is many corporations no longer provide training programs for young talent.  According to some experts, the evolution of technology is replacing repetitive entry level positions such as data entry, order taking, and distribution assembly with robotic tools or artificial intelligence.

Even in-person sales training programs have been curtailed replaced with auto-generated phone call marketing and customer service programs with scripted messages.

This was particularly true during the past eight years, leaving a void in the 28-35 year old age group of talent capable of first- and second- level management roles.

But that explanation is too simple.  For many small businesses, identifying good candidates requires time and the use of a wide number of possible sources.  Many job boards such as indeed, simplyhired, ziprecruiter among others have sprung up offering a multitude of possible sources.  Often, they generate hundreds of candidates which must be sorted and evaluated, including background checks on all hires to ensure you are getting what you expect.

And herein lies the opportunity for small business leaders.

Finding the best “fit” for a potential employee can mean extra dividends for the employer.  But this requires some flexibility on the part of the employer.

For instance, the employer should look for the passions of possible employees rather than just their experience or education.

Many moms returning to the workforce are equipped with the experience of multi-tasking which can be valuable in a smaller organization.  Veterans are another pool of candidates to consider; their disciplined training makes them reliable.

Asking to test a future employee with a paid project is another way of learning if he or she could become a valuable employee.  This approach is gaining acceptance with so many people opting for a “gig” type of working arrangement, where they prefer moving from project to project rather than full time employment.  A paid project can be an effective tool to finding the right person and filling your business need.

The world is changing enabling small businesses to expand their sales territory to the world.  So too, they should expand their employment horizon.  The results may be a positive surprise.