Creative solutions for attracting great employees

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When was the last time you could say that your business was fully staffed with the right employees?

For most of you, I bet your answer is, “It’s been so long that I can’t remember.” And you’re not alone. Finding and keeping great employees has been an issue for small business owners for years. And now, as we climb back from the pandemic, it feels like a real crisis.

To attract the right employees requires some creative solutions, such as:

Before you hire, define your business culture. Employees want to feel like they’re part of a team and culture is listed as one of the top attraction points for employees, so if you want to find great people, you need to define yours. Culture is the personality of your business, the foundation of what matters to you and what you represent. It includes your beliefs, values, behaviors — it’s the influence between company and employee and company and customer. Knowing your culture and sharing it transparently in the hiring process is important because it will help you attract higher-quality candidates, become fully staffed and improve service to your customers.

Hire for soft skills, not just hard skills. Hard skills are the specific knowledge and abilities required for success in a job, such as technology, web development and software-specific skills. Soft skills are nontechnical skills that impact your performance in the workplace such as being a team player, communication skills and adaptability. Even though we tend to overlook them, they are the key to attracting the right employees. As you look to attract the right employee, combine which soft skills fit your culture along with which hard skills are required to perform well in your company. For instance, if nurturing represents your culture, then soft skills would be a person’s willingness to train others or volunteer. You might look for volunteer positions on their resume such as coaching. Of the hard skills you need for the position, which ones are non-negotiable and which skills are you willing to teach? You might have to offer this as a solution to find candidates; being willing to teach new skills just might be a great attraction tool.

Create a modern job post. Old-style job postings were a list of hard skills and just stated what the employer wants from their employees. In today’s world, if you want to attract great employees, you need to write a job post that caters to the applicant. To do that, you need to be more creative and create a job post that says what the applicant wants to hear. Paint a story that will attract the right candidate for your business by sharing the culture, the experience or a day in the life that speaks to the soft skills and interests of the applicant, not just the list of qualifications you need.

Where to search for employees. There are many online job-search websites. I suggest googling them and learning their key audience and the industry they cater to. In addition, I recommend you get more personal and creative and find other places to share your openings, like with friends and family and on social media. Almost 80% are using social media to find jobs, so it pays to think about the platforms your ideal candidates are hanging out on and share the information there. For example, if you are hiring high school or college-age help, have you thought of creating a TikTok “day in the life of the job?” Utilize avenues such as Facebook Groups, networking groups, chambers of commerce, etc. For example, if you own a restaurant, get active on foodie groups. If you own a dog business, how about local dog-walking groups? Go where your clients hang out; you will find your employees do, too. Utilize your personal social media. I know this can get tricky attracting friends and family that you might not want to employ, but you also just might attract the right person.

I know that finding employees can feel daunting in today’s post-pandemic climate and you may feel like you have tried everything. These creative solutions can help you discover new ways to attract the right talent for your business so you can attract higher-quality candidates, become fully staffed and improve service to your customers.

Side gig

Have you thought about hiring the Side Gig Employee? Technology and social media have fueled the side gig phenomenon. What we learned from 2020 is that Americans want to diversify their income. Side hustles or side gigs account for up to 50% of working Americans. Side hustle is when an applicant takes a second job that is not their primary source of income. The average side-hustler earns $200-$1,000 a month. Filling an open position with a few side gig employees might offer a great solution for you to fill a job vacancy and offer flexibility for the employee.

Jennifer Kok runs Next Wave Business Coaching and focuses on helping small business owners. She can be reached at jen@nextwavebusinesscoaching.com or by calling (616) 821-9623.

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