3 Quick Tips On Hiring Help During A Labor Shortage

You’re not the only one with a “Help Wanted” sign in the window. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the number of job openings was higher than the number of people looking for work. The National Federation of Independent Businesses reports 44% of its members’ job openings are going unfilled. That’s a significant challenge for small businesses looking to bounce back after a pandemic year.

Here’s a look at some of the factors influencing this trend along with ideas on what you might do to better manage it.

Fear of Catching Something

One of the most cited reasons for not seeking employment is the fear of being infected by the coronavirus, especially in jobs with frequent customer contact. Luckily, the availability of vaccines will reduce that hesitancy. In fact, one study demonstrated that an increase in vaccination rates corresponded to an increase in employment rates.

A related concern of workers is, “How safe will I be coming to work for you?” This is where factors like personal protective equipment and adherence to social distancing become more important.

What you can do: Having a high percentage of vaccinated employees can be a draw for hesitant applicants. Consider offering incentives to current employees to get immunized. Some businesses offer paid time off to get the shot. With more vaccination sites becoming available, the downtime is likely to decrease in many areas. Others offer bonuses or giveaways. Some businesses make it a requirement for employment.

In addition, promote your COVID-safe procedures in your recruiting and onboarding process. Doing so reassures applicants you offer a safe environment. Forbes offers tips on creating a video tour showing how your workplace looks. Link to it in your job posting. You can also use the video to reassure potential customers.

Lack of Child Care

A Census Household Pulse survey identified lack of child care as the main reason for adults not returning to work. It’s especially significant for working mothers who left the workforce to care for their children. With many school-aged children returning to class, this issue may become less of a concern in the future.

What you can do:  Recognizing the unique needs of parents, some businesses are offering flexible working hours. Still, others are offering the option to work from home part of the time. That ability to have some choice gives working parents the ability to better juggle childcare arrangements.

Availability of Unemployment Resources

Some feel the availability of unemployment benefits competes with job seeking, especially for low-wage jobs. These benefits offered a needed boost early in the pandemic when businesses were closing and jobs were disappearing. But with the economy improving, some states are beginning to adjust the benefit to incent people to go back to work. Their actions may lessen the impact of this competing factor.

What you can do: Some businesses are offering one-time signing bonuses for new hires. You can pay it in a lump sum at the start of employment. Others pay it after the employee has worked for six months. That ensures you get a payoff for the bonus investment you’re making.

Some businesses offer nonmonetary bonuses. Here’s a list of 30 easy ways to incent your staff without breaking the bank. Another potential draw in this category is your culture. What’s the atmosphere like working here? Here’s where you describe any fun employee contests or activities you might offer. Better yet, have them talk to an employee to get the first-hand scoop. Employee referral programs can play an important role too. Who better to identify candidates who would be incented by your work culture than current staff members?

The current labor shortage is presenting unique challenges to employers. Consider what’s driving this issue and evaluate these ideas to see if they might help you better manage them in your small business.

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