After high post-pandemic resignation levels spurred a trend that’s been called The Great Resignation, employers are still seeing mass departures.
In today’s job market, professionals seek employers that offer extensive health and savings benefits, flexible working arrangements, and other perks. Additionally, existing workers are more willing to leave a job for a role that’s more fulfilling and better suits their lifestyle.
With so many professionals raising their standards, employers are having a hard time recruiting and keeping talented team members. We’ll explore why hiring and retention are so challenging today and share best practices for building a long-term team of engaged workers.
According to SCORE’s Employee Engagement report, small businesses face challenges when hiring employees and experience even more difficulties trying to retain and engage them. Here are some of the report’s findings:
Additionally, lack of employee engagement in the workplace contributes to retention challenges: 62 percent of employers say they struggle to keep employees engaged and productive.
Employees are the backbone of most companies — particularly small businesses. Without proper talent, they’ll struggle to stay afloat. Additionally, high turnover can lead to expensive and desperate recruitment and training strategies to help fill the talent gaps.
Here are some typical challenges employers face when trying to hire, engage and retain excellent team members.
Many of today’s employees are unhappy and detached from their jobs. According to SCORE, disengaged employees impact multiple business areas, including productivity, workload, team morale, and business growth. We consulted with experts who shared their tips for attracting and retaining employees.
To attract and retain workers, 59.1 percent of small business owners have increased employee salary ranges, according to the SCORE report.
“Retaining talent will often go hand in hand with wages,” explained Andrew Fennell, former recruiter and director at StandOut CV. “Companies need to pay fairly for the current market and regularly reflect on if they are still competitive. Employees will follow the money, and this is probably the most simple but common problem with retaining talent.”
However, many small businesses lack the budget to offer competitive salaries. In these cases, other ways to compensate your workers include offering health insurance, employee retirement plans, referral programs and unlimited paid time off (PTO).
Many small business owners (41.3 percent, according to SCORE) are starting to offer professional development opportunities to employees so they feel more appreciated and engaged in their roles.
“In terms of career development, offering opportunities for training, skill development and clear pathways for advancement can increase employee loyalty,” advised Jacob Hinson, founder of eLocker. “Employees are more likely to stay with a company where they can see a future for themselves and feel they are growing professionally.”
Remote work reached a pinnacle during the pandemic, and its popularity shows no signs of slowing down. According to SCORE, 36.8 percent of small business owners now offer more flexible work policies to appeal to professionals who value the freedom and work-life balance flexible schedules afford. To showcase flexibility as a workplace incentive during recruitment, highlight this perk on your career page or in your job description.
“If a company is passionate about work-life balance and prevents overworking, or a business ensures they have the latest tech for employees to use and wants to innovate, these are things potential employees will look for,” Fennell noted. “Make it visible, and it will allow potential recruits to get to grips with your business quickly to see if they are a good fit.”
Employees deserve to enjoy going to work each day and not hate their jobs. SCORE found that 46.2 percent of small business owners showcase a more attractive company culture to help recruit and retain employees. A positive company culture provides an inclusive environment that eliminates hiring biases and ensures every employee feels like an integral part of the team.
“Remember, for many professionals, nonmonetary benefits can be just as, if not more, important than the paycheck,” Hinson explained. “Engage employees by regularly seeking their input and showing appreciation for their contributions. This makes them feel valued and fosters a sense of ownership and connection to the company.”
Become a more diverse and inclusive company to appeal to candidates with broad experience and diversity of thought. You’ll widen the talent pool by attracting people who may not otherwise have applied.
While many small business owners face hiring and retention issues, only 17.5 percent of small businesses say they have fewer employees than a year ago — down from 26.8 percent in fall 2021. As the economy continues to heal from the impacts of the pandemic, many business owners feel more optimistic about business growth. Be true to your company’s missions and values and show your appreciation for your existing team, and you should find success as an employer.