Layoffs mount, and Main Street still can’t get anyone to take jobs

A “Now hiring” sign is displayed in the window of the IN-N-OUT fast food restaurant in Encinitas, California, May 9, 2022.

Mike Blake | Reuters

When it comes to compensation, small business owners often don’t play in the same league as larger companies.

It’s very difficult in the labor market with rising wages and many states and municipalities posting wage divisions, making small businesses look less attractive in terms of wages.

The stakes are high because small businesses are still in business despite the slow economy, and they are not struggling to find workers. Eighty-six percent of small business owners say they plan to hire one or more employees in the next year or two, according to an October survey from planning firm Homebase. Meanwhile, the National Federation of Independent Business, the largest group of small businesses, reported last week the tenth consecutive month of declining confidence on Main Street, despite little change in the need to hire more workers.

“Owners continue to be pessimistic about future sales growth and business activity, but they are still looking to hire new employees,” said Bill Dunkelberg, NFIB’s chief financial officer in the release of his latest monthly survey. “Inflation, supply disruptions, and job losses continue to prevent many small businesses from meeting demand for their products and services.”

A special NFIB job report showed that among employers who are hiring, 90% reported that there are few or no qualified applicants for those jobs.

Here are five ways small businesses can up their game to attract top talent.

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Jim Marx, director of retirement plans at Edelman Financial Services, recently ran a convenience store that advertises “competitive benefits” in the window, highlighting benefits such as a company retirement plan, medical benefits and student loan relief offers. “I was happy to see that. They obviously want to get good talent in the door and that’s what they focus on,” he said.

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Bottom Line: Small businesses need to make sure candidates know the benefits of joining beyond the starting salary, which may already be high.

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Benefits should be emphasized in job descriptions and discussed in every interview, visit and training, says Kayla Lebovits, CEO and founder of Bundle Benefits, a remote company that focuses on wellness, professional development and team building. “If it’s only mentioned in the job description, but not encouraged throughout the interview process, [a candidate] they might think it’s not real.”

Involve current employees in the hiring process

Lebovits finds it useful to invite employees who use the company’s benefits to participate in the discussion. In this way, the candidates become aware of the reality of how the company’s benefits are based on the home equipment and the work of the cooperative membership.

“These aren’t huge value propositions, but employees take advantage of them,” Lebovits said.

Having an upfront discussion about benefits and finding out what is important to the candidate is important because it sets the tone for the future. “It shows that the candidate is important to the organization,” says Victoria Hodgkins, CEO of PeopleKeep, an employment management software company. “In these workplaces, candidates want to know that, and it gives them the opportunity to ask questions and learn more.”

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Small businesses often can’t afford the benefits that larger companies can, but they can offer many benefits that employees use regularly. “Find out what people are using and who you should promote because obviously these are the people who are most interested in them,” Lebovits said.

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Incidentally, benefits related to retirement, health and wellness can play an important role in improving the wealth of employees. Although many workers believe these benefits are important, there is a big difference between the number of people who say they are important and the number of those their employers provide, according to an October survey from the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies. “This represents an opportunity for employers to increase the competitiveness of their wages and salaries, while helping their employees achieve long-term financial security,” the study found.

In many cases, the health benefits are also very important. A majority of workers, 68%, said they would be more likely to stay at their job if their employer offered financial benefits, according to a recent survey from TalentLMS, a learning management system powered by Epignosis, and financial services firm. Tapcheck and Enrich. The survey also shows that 61% of workers are more likely to stay in their current job if financial training and resources are provided.

Parental leave is another benefit worth considering. A recent survey from disability insurance provider Breeze found that most workers would prefer their employer to provide them with paid parental leave over vision insurance, employer-sponsored physical or mental health benefits, employer-sponsored community activities, or benefits. of student loan repayment. The study looked at 1,000 active working adults between the ages of 22 and 40.

Avoid all profitable options—they’re the same

It is important to offer a number of benefits that will appeal to different people.

For example, don’t just offer yoga or meditation programs or the benefits of exercise; provide a number of ways employees can add value, Lebovits said. “People treat themselves very differently.”

And while the Breeze survey found that parental leave is more popular than vision insurance among workers 40 and under, that may change when they reach the “reading glasses” age.

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There can be significant differences in the types of benefits that attract employees based on gender, age and type of workplace.

A May survey of more than 900 small business employees by PeopleKeep found that 70% of women rated mental health benefits as very important, compared to 49% of men. Women also value flexible work schedules (84% to 70%), paid family leave (73% to 61%), and professional development (64% to 57%) more than men, while men place more value on the Internet and reimbursement for phone. than women (40% to 32%), according to the survey.

Convert existing employees to referrals

If your existing employees are happy, they are more likely to recommend an open position at the company to others. This means making sure existing employees are enjoying the benefits you offer – and to achieve this, you need to make sure employees are engaged.

Sixty-two percent of respondents to a recent survey from Edelman Financial said they “always feel underrepresented” in their company’s communications about wellness. This sentiment is more pronounced among women, with 68% saying they don’t feel they have it – much higher than their male counterparts (58%).

93% of the majority of workers who do not feel they are always represented said they would take advantage of financial opportunities if they fit in with their upbringing and family, the survey found.

Finally, small businesses need to understand what attracts job seekers in the first place and incorporate these advantages into all of their connections with candidates. Seventy percent of small businesses cited social issues, followed by workplace flexibility (69%), close relationships with coworkers (66%) and close relationships with supervisors (53%). , according to Homebase.


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