Canadian small businesses are having increasing difficulty finding skilled employees in a shrinking labour market. A 2018 study by the BDC attributes the decline in the labour market to the baby-boomers retiring, which is expected to continue for the next decade. The sectors experiencing the greatest shortages are retail (54%), construction (48%) and manufacturing (56%).
The study also finds that there’s a direct link between labour shortages and slow sales growth. According to the study, firms affected by labour shortages are 65% more likely to generate low sales. This is because the shortage of workers is forcing business owners and employees to work overtime trying to keep up with demand.
Overcoming these challenges and finding the right employees is vital to the success of any small business. Below are a few tips to help you find, attract and retain the talent you need to run your business effectively.
1. Use Low-Cost Recruitment Options
It’s important business owners exercise all the options available to them to reach as many potential candidates as possible. Here are three options to find the talent you need.
Use Online Job Boards: Online job boards are the easiest way to reach people actively looking for jobs. Some of these sites include Monster Canada, Indeed, and Kijiji. However, the multitude of jobs available on these sites can make it difficult for your post to be noticed. Make sure your ad is seen by having an effective title and description of what you’re looking for.
Consider Social Media: LinkedIn and Facebook are great tools to find talent. These sites allow you to post job ads associated to your business account and find candidates with specific skills. Also, having your employees share the posting with their network will make sure the opportunity is seen by a larger audience.
Leverage Word of Mouth: Encourage your employees to refer people in their network by creating a candidate referral program. This program should offer your employees perks for successful referrals. The incentive will ensure that employees will recommend only people they think will be a good match for the role and the company culture.
2. Offer the Right Incentives
Businesses must understand what incentives will attract valuable employees, ranging from monetary compensation to intangible benefits.
Know Market Standards: A common mistake business owners can make is presenting salary offers based on their budget instead of market realities. You should know what other companies are offering for similar positions so your offer is competitive.
Give Quality Benefits: High-quality staff are interested in receiving top benefits from their employer. If your business doesn’t have an employee benefits program consider finding an insurance company to help set one up with medical and dental coverage.
Offer Lifestyle Balance: An advantage small businesses may have is the ability to offer flexible hours, a work-life balance or the ability to work from home.
3. Invest in Your Employees
Many candidates are attracted to opportunities that show that a company cares about their development and offers them a chance to grow with the business.
Give Opportunities for Growth: During the recruitment process, take the time to understand what the candidate’s goals are. Showing that you’re interested in their personal development demonstrates that you want the role to suit both your needs. Make them aware that one of the benefits of being in a small business is the opportunity to take on a range of responsibilities and advance in the company faster than climbing the corporate ladder.
Focus on Transferable Skills: Instead of focusing on acquiring candidates with the exact experience you’re looking for, find candidates with transferable skills who can adapt to the role. This strategy may also include investing in resources to train these workers to better succeed in their new role.
4. Retain Talent by Focusing on People and Culture
People naturally want to feel like they are part of a community that is contributing to a bigger purpose. Ensure that your company highlights a sense of belonging to a larger cause.
Establish Corporate Values: Every company should have a set of values that guide the company’s culture. These values are important to show employees what behaviour is promoted within the business and in the community at large.
Celebrate Your Employees: Giving praise and public recognition is a good way to celebrate your employee’s contributions. Showing that you value their work will keep employees motivated to continue excelling.
Encourage Team Spirit: Smaller businesses have the advantage of being small enough to establish personal relationships amongst each other. Foster social connections by holding team socials which will enhance their sense of belonging and of family. Research shows that employees that feel that they are part of a team with close social connections perform better at work.
Despite the challenges in the Canadian labour market, our advice will help you find the right kind of talent you’re looking for. It’ll be worth it to invest in resources to find these employees who will be able to add value to your business long-term. Consider getting a quote from us if you’re looking for additional help to fund your recruitment strategy.