Why Small Businesses Can’t Hire New Employees And What They Can Do About It

by Sarah Niderost, 3 minutes read
HOME blog why small businesses cant hire employees and what they can do about it

From restaurants and warehouses to manufacturers and retail stores, employers everywhere were prepared for staff to return and to start hiring new talent after a year of constantly closing and reopening. But small businesses are having a difficult time hiring new talent and even retaining their current employees.

Read on to learn why this is happening across the country and what you can do to overcome these obstacles.

Fear of getting sick

The stress of working in people-facing jobs has made many wary of returning to work. Although vaccination rollouts are on the rise, not everyone at work may have had access to getting vaccinated yet. Many shift workers are parents, students, or work multiple jobs — and getting sick or being a health risk to their loved ones simply isn’t an option for them.

If your team members are worried about catching COVID-19 at work, make sure your health and safety policies in your employee handbook are up to date so they know how you’re supporting them when they return.

You can also rethink your employee benefits to better ensure their physical and mental health while they’re clocked in. If you don’t offer an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), you may want to think about getting one. EAP’s are designed to meet the needs of employees who are struggling with a variety of personal issues. Which include the issues employees have that can impact your business.

Exhausting or unpredictable schedules

With a shortage of staff members, you may have been giving longer shifts to your star players or making last-minute scheduling changes more often. This can cause a lot of unpredictability in your team’s lives that can impact their personal time outside of work — and their mental wellbeing.

Use scheduling software to help you plan shifts in line with demand (to avoid changes later), spread workloads fairly across your team (so one person it's getting the lion's share), and make it less painful to make those last-minute changes.

No access to childcare

Many of your team members have stayed home for months as your business was closed. And their children did too, with remote learning becoming a main form of education. When considering returning to work, your team members now have to think about affording and finding childcare.

If your workplace applies, you can offer onsite childcare to your employees. If your work environment doesn’t allow for onsite childcare, you can share affordable childcare options with your team members. Apps like Care.com, Urbansitter, and Sittercity help parents find affordable nannies and babysitters. Make sure you share these resources where your team can easily find them — like your central communication platform.

Unemployment benefits

Employees everywhere diverted to receiving unemployment benefits in 2020. Some of them were even making more on unemployment than they did working at their job, which made them rethink their current role — and even quit their job once businesses reopened.

Besides remuneration, what other ways are you showing how much you value your employees at work? You can focus on giving them recognition and appreciation for their resilience over the past year. You can also surprise them with a special lunch to enjoy on their break to let them know you treasure them being part of your staff.

Attract new talent by supporting your staff

A happy and content team is a retained team. And retaining your staff members can give you more time to focus on hiring new ones. Rethink your benefits and what support you offer to make sure that once you hire new employees, you won’t risk turnover.

While there are many reasons why you’re having a difficult time hiring, you can strategize now and retain new hires in the longer term.

Looking for more ways to support your staff during difficult times? Download the Employer’s Guide to Managing Unpredictability.

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