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Small businesses are still struggling to fill positions. According to the National Federation of Independent Businesses, nearly 50 percent of small business owners reported that they had trouble filling positions in July – hitting a 48-year record high in unfilled job openings. It is a significant concern as small businesses look at bouncing back following a challenging year and a half.
Review some of the factors contributing to this trend and actions to avoid so that you can succeed in hiring help during this labor shortage.
Factor 1: Afraid of Getting Sick
It is one of the top reasons given as to why they are not seeking employment. There is an increased fear of being infected by the coronavirus, especially those with higher customer contact. While there are vaccinations available and more people getting vaccinated, there is still worry. Still, there is a level of comfort knowing that getting vaccinated significantly reduces the risk of getting COVID-19 and its worst symptoms. A study also demonstrated that a rise in vaccination rates corresponded to a jump in employment rates.
An associated concern of workers is, "How safe will I be coming to work for you?" To address this concern, masks, personal protective equipment, and social distancing measures will help.
What to avoid: While some businesses make it a requirement, you may turn off potential applicants by requiring vaccinations. Nonetheless, hesitant applicants may prefer businesses that have higher vaccination numbers. Instead of outright requiring vaccinations for your staff, consider offering incentives for immunizations. Some ideas include offering paid time off or one-time cash incentives to get the shot.
Consider promoting any safety procedures you have implemented in your recruiting and onboarding process. By doing so, you will reassure applicants that you provide a safe work environment. Take a look at these tips offered by Forbes on creating a video tour to show how your workplace looks. Link the video to your job posting.
Factor 2: Absence of Child Care
According to a Census Household Pulse survey, a lack of child care is one of the main reasons for adults failing to return to work. Working mothers, faced with limited choices, are making the difficult decision to leave the workforce to take care of their children. With many school-aged children returning to class, this issue may become less of a problem now.
What to avoid: The pandemic has proven that remote working doesn't equate to a lack of productivity. By not offering flexible working options, you are likely reducing the number of applicants from the outset. It is essential to acknowledge the unique challenges of parents by offering flexible work options. Besides offering hybrid working hours, some businesses allow workers to work remotely either full-time or part of the week. The choices available allow working parents the chance to juggle childcare arrangements more effectively.
Factor 3: Searching for Better Jobs
It is one of the more significant revelations from the pandemic. Some workers are rethinking their careers by pursuing better opportunities, unwilling to take on low-wage jobs without upward mobility. During the early days of the pandemic, unemployment benefits were offered as a much-needed boost when businesses were shuttering and jobs were disappearing. However, some states have recently removed or scaled back the benefit to encourage people to go back to work.
What to avoid: Unlike corporations, small businesses are working with a limited budget. However, having reduced funds to work with should not be a reason to avoid offering incentives to new hires. Some businesses offer one-time signing bonuses that may be paid as a lump sum at the start of employment. Others pay it out after a certain amount of time has passed in the employee's employment. Even if you have no budget, there are nonmonetary bonuses to consider. Check out this list of 30 easy ways to incentivize your workers without breaking the bank. Your company culture is also a potential draw in this area. What is it like to work for your business? This is where you can describe any fun employee contests or activities offered. Even better, have them speak to existing employees to get a first-hand experience. If you have an employee referral program, tap into this resource. Your current staff members are the most knowledgeable in identifying candidates that would fit best in your work culture.
The ongoing labor shortage has caused employers to rethink their recruitment process. Look at the driving factors of this concern and aim to avoid these pitfalls to manage your business better.