Help Wanted: Why Small Businesses Need to Shift Their Hiring Process

Hiring Employees: Small Business Need To Shift Approach

Even after a year of pandemic conditions and economic uncertainty, most small business owners view 2021 with optimism, and that includes expectations to bring back or hire new employees.

However, your company’s hiring process, from defining roles to attracting viable candidates, will certainly look different in this new year, post-pandemic and beyond. Consider these tips from business leaders and HR professionals as you adjust your approach to making hires in this new normal.

Offer remote work options.

Surveys and studies over the past few months, including one by Intermedia, indicate that the majority of businesses will continue to offer some type of remote work options in the long term. And that’s something you should look at, come time to hire new employees.

“Depending on your type of business, you may need to consider offering remote work options to compete for talented workers in 2021 and beyond,” the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) advises on its website.

You may also need to invest in additional technology and software solutions going forward to ensure that your employees, including any new hires, can telework successfully, the SBA says.

A majority of small business owners (54 percent) told a survey by GGV Capital that they spent more on software solutions in 2020 than in 2019. Further, three-quarters of small business owners said they expect to increase spending this year, the GGV’s SMB Sentiment Survey said.

“Our survey found that 83 percent of business owners believe their businesses will perform better in 2021 than 2020, while 93 percent plan to hire, and 75 percent intend to increase spending on technology next year,” according to a report after its GGV Capital SMBTech Summit 2020.

Shift to a competency-based hiring approach.

Staffing experts say it may be time for businesses to make changes to their process to help widen the pool of candidates.

Before Covid-19, business leaders often viewed a college degree as a “proxy” for hard and soft skills, effectively shrinking the pool of viable candidates and increasing payroll expenses, says freelancer platform company Moonlighting.

That approach – filling positions that fit degree and experience requirements – has meant hires are viewed by their roles rather than as “people with skills,” says a Moonlighting blog posted on Yahoo Small Business. 

“As small businesses struggle to maintain productivity and reduce expenses, role titles and definitions are becoming increasingly less relevant,” the freelancer network says.

“Instead, successful companies are shifting to a competency-based hiring approach needed to deliver performance and build a strong, post-pandemic workforce.”

Keep offering flexibility to the workforce.

The pandemic has certainly shone a light on the importance of a flexible workforce, and that trend extends into hiring in 2021.

Remote work and other flexible work arrangements have gone from nice-to-haves to non-negotiables for a large segment of the workforce, says the Orlando-based recruiting and staffing agency 4 Corner Resources. “If flexibility isn’t an option in your organization, some applicants will have no choice but to look elsewhere.”

Covid-19 marked a turning point for how employers holistically think about their workforce, says Moonlighting, which was recently acquired by CareerGig.

And that should translate into an embrace of the types of benefits of more flexible, effective, and productive remote teams can bring to a company.

“There are long-term and persistent benefits of having a more flexible workforce,” says the post on the Yahoo Small Business site. “Flexible jobs help diversify teams by keeping parents—especially women—in leadership roles.

Communicate safety protocols in your recruiting, and publicly.

You’ll draw the best candidates to your business if your health and safety guidelines are made crystal-clear.

“To hire best-in-class employees, employers are adding language to all job descriptions explaining what safety protocols are in place,” says Moonlighting.

Experts say the way your business has responded to safety and health guidelines are important to the way prospective hires will view your company. So be sure to incorporate and build on that message of a safe and healthy work environment into your recruiting efforts, including the interview process, as well as on your website and social media content.

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