Finding Capable Employees Still A Hurdle for Small Businesses

Finding a highly skilled team of employees is crucial. But it isn't always easy

Finding Capable Employees Is Greatest Management Hurdle for Small Businesses
When it comes to running a successful business, finding a highly skilled team of employees is crucial. But it isn’t always easy. In a recent survey by Robert Half, six in 10 (60 percent) small business owners said the biggest challenge in hiring or managing staff is finding skilled professionals for the job. About one in five (19 percent) cited maintaining employee morale and productivity as the chief concern.

The survey was developed by Robert Half, the world’s first and largest specialized staffing firm. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on interviews with more than 300 small business owners and managers from a random sample of companies with less than 100 employees in the United States.

Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half, offers the following tips from his book Human Resources Kit For Dummies®, 3rd Edition, to help small business owners enhance their recruiting efforts:

  • Make your company stand out. Small businesses offer advantages that larger companies cannot match. Emphasize the potential for new hires to wear multiple hats and advance quickly. Also, highlight the benefits of working with a small, close-knit group, which may be less common at bigger corporations.
  • Have an accurate job description. The description of your open position should be specific and identify the must-haves for the job. If a description is too broad or doesn’t adequately convey the position’s requirements, you run the risk of receiving an overabundance of resumes from unqualified candidates. It’s better to have five applicants who definitely deserve an interview than 100 who don’t.
  • Network. Participate in local professional association or community groups to build your personal network. Also, ask your existing employees to provide referrals. Employees tend to recommend strong candidates, since they don’t want to tarnish their reputation by recommending professionals who are unequipped for the job.
  • Work with recruiters. Professional staffing firms can significantly reduce the amount of time it takes to find a qualified applicant. Look for ones that specialize in the field for which you are hiring. For example, if you are hiring an accountant, work with a firm that specializes in filling accounting and finance roles.

Large corporations often have established brand recognition and larger human resources budgets, which can provide an advantage when attracting talent,” said Paul McDonald, senior executive director with Robert Half.

“But small businesses may appeal to professionals who want to acquire a variety of experiences and move up quickly. These companies can level the playing field in their recruiting efforts by highlighting what makes their cultures unique and emphasizing opportunities for skills development.”

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