Whether the economy is up or down – hiring and retaining quality employees is always a challenge. During times of slow economic activity the challenge where employees are concerned is to attract and keep talent with limited resources. During times of positive economic growth a different set of challenges are presented. At the time of this writing a rare situation exists in the United States. There are more jobs than there are people to fill them. Of course the shortage of available human resources is impacted by the skill set required to fill the job openings. Regardless the same challenge for the small business owner in good economic times doesn’t change. It’s harder to find people, harder to keep them and they’re needed more than in down times.
In solid economic times small businesses are all facing the same challenges. They need to attract talent and the talent base is employed by their competitors. Employees will become aware that other opportunities are available and are likely to consider them to varying degrees. The small business owner in this situation should consider what people value. And it doesn’t always come down to money. Benefits such as flexible hours, commute time and other circumstances that employees desire can make the difference between keeping good personnel and losing them. The only way to be aware of what people consider important is through open communication. In times like these – if one company doesn’t do it another one will. And it’s important to consider how employees feel about the business and more importantly the owner. For example it is said that a good manager praises in public and criticizes in private. No employee likes to be denigrated in front of peers or worse yet in front of customers. Yet there are so many small business owners that do just that. This kind of behavior can make the difference between keeping and losing good employees.
Attracting new employees becomes more challenging during times of positive economic growth. Other small businesses are competing for the same people resulting in a seller’s market. When attracting customers through market differentiation businesses attempt to communicate what sets them apart from the competition. The same applies to attracting quality employees. They need to know why they should choose one business over the other. There are many different things that prospective employees may value and a small business will benefit from knowing what results in employees choosing them and what results in them going elsewhere.