Now that we’ve reached the middle of the year, it’s the perfect time to measure what worked in the first half of the year for your business, and identify key areas for improvement. One segment of your business you should always review and continuously improve is your hiring. Your people are a key source of competitive advantage, so it’s critical to have the right process in place to ensure your business is fully staffed with quality employees.
To help you with your mid-year check-in, we identified key SMB hiring trends and challenges below, along with actionable tips overcome these challenges.
Unemployment is at a Record Low
In May, the U.S. unemployment rate fell to 3.8 percent, the lowest rate since 2000, making the U.S. job market strong for job seekers, but highly competitive for employers. With such a low unemployment rate, quality employees need a good reason to leave their current roles and seek new opportunities.
One way to attract top candidates in today’s competitive market is creating a strong and compelling employment brand. Your employment brand should include detailed job descriptions, a compelling career site, defined career paths across departments, employee testimonials, a comprehensive list of benefits and continuous job openings. By building and maintaining a strong employment brand, you can attract engaged applicants who are interested in growing their careers with your business.
Hiring and Retaining Quality Employees is a Top Concern
According to a study from The Business Journals, a top concern for small and medium-sized business owners is “being able to find and keep good employees,” with more than 50% of survey respondents indicating it as a top concern, up from 44% in 2017.
So how can your business overcome challenges associated with SMB hiring? You can attract and hire quality employees by creating a great candidate and employee experience. It’s important to support a positive candidate experience – or you’ll risk losing quality candidates to the competition. One way to do so is by quickly reviewing and responding to candidates. Hireology data found that many businesses wait up to 10 days to review applicants. You wouldn’t let a customer lead sit around unanswered for 10 days, and the same should apply for candidates.
Beyond reviewing candidates quickly, you should also regularly communicate throughout the hiring process. For example, if you’re in the process of scheduling interviews and can’t find time in a team member’s schedule for several days, communicate this to the candidate instead of leaving them waiting until the interview is confirmed. And make sure to close the loop whether or not a candidate gets the job offer.
Post-hire, make every effort to continuously keep employees engaged and excited to be part of your team. Ensure a seamless transition between the hiring and onboarding processes by electronically assigning new hire paperwork immediately after making the hire. With digital onboarding, you can begin the process once a candidate accepts the job offer, by distributing and collecting all necessary documentation, including I-9 and W-4 forms, before day one. This way, new employees don’t have to sit in the HR office the entire first day filling out paperwork and can instead start contributing to the business right away.
Starting with onboarding and throughout each employee’s time at your company, it’s important to have technology and processes in place that make HR-related tasks as user-friendly as possible. If employees have difficulty accessing their pay stubs, updating their personal information, or losing track of how many systems they need to log into – such as payroll, benefits, time and attendance and countless other systems – they might get frustrated with your company’s processes and look for new job opportunities. Partner with an integrated, automated payroll and talent management system so employees only need to remember the credentials for one system to retrieve pay stubs, input benefits information and access tax forms.
While the low unemployment rate and competitive job market pose challenges, SMB hiring doesn’t need to be overwhelming. With a strong employment brand and effective hiring process, you can hire quality employees who will drive profit for your business. For more tips on how to build your best team, download our resource, “The Hireology Employment Brand Playbook.”