Last year, one of the biggest issues in hiring talent, was the fact that most people were gainfully employed, but businesses were trying to expand. A small talent pool means that there is a lot of leg work in locating candidates. Today the script has flipped. With Michigan’s unemployment being almost 15%, the work comes from sifting through the applicants.
This past Tuesday, Lesley and Tricia were invited to speak at the Great Lakes’ Womens Business Council Virtual Symposium. Initially, they had a presentation planned out to bring up core issues that would have been top priority last year. This called for an entire revamped presentation.
So what are we worried about now as small business owners?
Here is some feedback we got from our attendees and what we see daily from customers:
- How to keep the workplace safe and clean to bring employees in
- How to utilize the current team to the best of their abilities
- Creating virtual hiring, onboarding, and training processes
- Understanding the bare needs of the company
- How to move the team virtual
- How to keep communication open and effective
- Keeping employee engagement from dropping
- Understanding the changing needs of the employees
- How to be compliant when the rules seem to change constantly
- Balancing being flexible and firm
- Re-evaluating company culture to include virtual workers
- How to keep on employees you already have
When things are as unclear as they are now, the questions often outnumber the answers. Here’s how we’ve been navigating the changing workforce.
Small businesses often don’t have onsite HR teams, which can mean learning new compliances might fall to your shoulder. The state of Michigan is requiring all businesses to write a plan for re-entry. Hiring an outsourced HR person can help you not only write the plan, but explain what you need to do to reopen.
There are two sides to this: Either you have realized how many meetings you have called for in the past could have just been emails, or you have realized you haven’t been communicating enough. We recommended daily touch-base meetings, weekly overall meetings, and a quarterly review. The daily meetings can seem daunting, however these meetings can be as simple as an email check in. Ask what people need, what are they struggling with, what they have on their plate for the day. Simple questions to gauge where your team is at, without micromanaging.
We’ve all been throwing the idea of going virtual around for years. Some of you have maybe even thrown around four day work weeks. Now is the time to really evaluate how your company can add a little bit of that flexibility. Odds are at least some of your employees have started working virtually recently. Realistically, how many of those positions could remain virtual? If you are working with a skeleton crew or alternating crews, how has productivity changed with allowing people to work on their own time or reduce the amount of time at the office? You might be surprised with what an extra day off or an alternating schedule might do for your employees.
If you’ve had to furlough, reduce hours, or let go of employees, it’s time to evaluate. Go to bare bones. What and who does your company need to survive and thrive? A year ago you might have been looking to add a few members, now your focus might be on who do you need to keep. It’s a good time to chat with supervisors and employees about what they actually do at work (often, it’s MORE than what you hired them for). Ask them about what they need to succeed, so you don’t let an integral position go. It’s up to you to do your field research in your own field.
If your company is looking to expand, it’s important to have your best practices in play. This means that you need to be willing to understand the current needs of the people looking for jobs. Do NOT lowball salaries or benefits because of the high unemployment. You will lose those employees after the economy opens up and they find better opportunities. Do you offer working from home? What about health care? How are you keeping the office clean? Take the state of the world into account. People might have children who won’t be attending school. They might be immunocompromised. Ask the candidates what they need from you. This is a give and take relationship.
If you have any questions about your small business, send us an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org . We will set up a time to chat with you about what your company needs and how to get it.