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4 Posts authored by: Rieva Lesonsky

If you have any doubt that attracting and retaining qualified employees is one of the biggest hurdles small business owners face, check out these numbers:

    • More than half (55 percent) of small business owners say competing for talent is their top challenge (LinkedIn).
    • When they try to hire, 45 percent of small business owners find few or no qualified applicants (NFIB).
    • Some 62 percent of small business owners admit having made a bad hire (Monster).

Related article: Is Your Business Staffed with Emotionally Intelligent People?

 

The Fall 2017 Bank of America Small Business Owner Report took a closer look at how small business owners attract and keep the best employees. Here’s what you can do:

 

1.     Give them raises—Money matters to employees, but just 22 percent of small business owners give their employees raises every year, while 34 percent give raises based only on employee performance and 21 percent do so based only on business growth. If you can only spend in one place, spending on employee wages is it.49883015_s.jpg

 

2.     Offer flexibility—Only 34 percent of surveyed entrepreneurs have offered employees flexible work hours or the ability to work remotely over the past two years. The great news for small business owners on a tight budget: flexibility doesn’t cost anything to implement.

More on offering a flexible work environment: Remote Workers Are Happy Workers: My Tips for Making Smart Hires

 

3.     Offer perks—17 percent of small business owners in the survey provide perks aside from flexibility. Perks don't have to cost a lot—just get creative. A few items to consider:

      • Bring in coffee, donuts and bagels for breakfast once or twice a week.
      • Let employees bring dogs to the office.
      • Arrange with a local dry cleaner to pick up and drop off employees’ dry cleaning once a week.
      • Make a deal with a local car detailer to come in once a week and detail employees’ cars in the parking lot.
      • Barter with local businesses to get perks. If you own a website design company, would a local massage therapist give your employees monthly shoulder rubs in exchange for website design?

 

4.     Offer employee rewards—Fifteen percent of entrepreneurs in the survey do. You can set up your own rewards program or work with a company that handles it for you, like Fond or YouEarnedIt. Stay away from “rewards” like plaques or pens and give employees things they’ll appreciate, like prepaid debit cards or gifts tailored to their interests.

 

5.     Offer competitive benefits—Just 13 percent of business owners in the survey provide competitive benefits to their teams. Since so few of your peers are doing this, it’s a great way to make your business stand out from the competition. Face it: The big companies competing with you for top employees offer health insurance and retirement plans, and employees expect these basic benefits. An independent insurance agent who works with multiple health insurance companies can suggest options and ways to make insurance affordable. Affordable 401(k) plans exist for even the smallest businesses, so there’s really no excuse for not offering one.

     Offering healthcare to employees: Four Things Small Business Owners Should Consider Before Offering Employee Healthcare

     More on competing with large corporations: Infographic: Leveling the Playing Field Against Larger Corporations

 

6.    Offer paid or unlimited vacation—Only 12 percent of small business owners in the survey do this. Paid vacation is a standard benefit among bigger companies, so it’s a must if you want to stay competitive.

 

Why not start your employee reward and retention program now? Take a cue from what entrepreneurs in the survey are doing for the holidays:

    • Closing the office during the holidays: 43 percent
    • Giving salary bonuses: 35 percent
    • Giving gifts: 33 percent
    • Holding a holiday party: 32 percent
    • Offering flexible hours or vacation time during the holidays: 29 percent

 

Your business wouldn’t be successful without your employees, so treat them right—now and all year long.

 

About Rieva LesonskyRieva Lesonsky Headshot.png

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and Co-founder of GrowBiz Media, a custom content and media company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship, and the blog SmallBizDaily.com. A nationally known speaker and authority on entrepreneurship, Rieva has been covering America’s entrepreneurs for more than 30 years. Before co-founding GrowBiz Media, Lesonsky was the long-time Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine. Lesonsky has appeared on hundreds of radio shows and numerous local and national television programs, including the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN,The Martha Stewart Show and Oprah.Lesonsky regularly writes about small business for numerous websites and for corporations targeting entrepreneurs. Many organizations have recognized Lesonsky for her tireless devotion to helping entrepreneurs. She served on the Small Business Administration’s National Advisory Council for six years, was honored by the SBA as a Small Business Media Advocate and a Woman in Business Advocate, and received the prestigious Lou Campanelli award from SCORE. She is a long-time member of the Business Journalists Hall of Fame.

 

Web: www.growbizmedia.com or Twitter: @Rieva

You can read more articles from Rieva Lesonsky by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Rieva Lesonsky to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Rieva Lesonsky is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Rieva Lesonsky. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America,its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2017 Bank of America Corporation

The coming holiday shopping season promises to be one of the most challenging ever for retailers—especially small retailers. Facing stiffer competition from e-commerce sites like Amazon, small retailers that can't compete on price will need to ensure a stellar in-store experience in order to succeed. For most, that includes bringing on seasonal employees to handle the holiday rush.

 

But with unemployment low, retailers face challenges in this arena as well. Target’s announcement earlier this month that it would hire 100,000 seasonal employees—a whopping 40 percent increase from the number it hired last holiday season—serves as an early indicator to small retailers that the time to start hiring is now.

 

If you hope to lure quality seasonal employees to your store instead of the likes of Amazon and Target, try these tips.

 

          CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ARTICLES FROM SMALL BUSINESS EXPERT RIEVA LESONSKY

 

1.  Pay well. Competitive pay is one of the top concerns for hourly workers seeking jobs, according to a study earlier this year. Start by making sure your pay is at least competitive with—and ideally, a little higher than—similar retailers in your area. Most of the jobseekers in the study said $10-$11 an hour is a fair wage. 49530775_s.jpg

 

2.  Add incentives. In addition to base wages, try offering employees commission and end-of-season bonuses. Incentive-based pay motivates employees and means you don’t have to pay unless they deliver. You can also give employees in-store discounts. This not only makes them happy but also encourages more sales, since they’re likely to shop for their own holiday gifts at your store.

 

3.  Schedule smart. Getting enough hours is the top issue jobseekers in the study care about: The majority would like to work at least 36 hours a week. Hiring seasonal employees who essentially want to work full-time makes your life easier, too, since you have fewer people to train, schedule and juggle. Speaking of juggling, there are plenty of employee time-tracking and scheduling apps available that make it easy to plan schedules in advance, share them with employees online, make quick changes and keep workers in the loop. If you’re still using a homemade spreadsheet or pen and paper to plan your store schedule, search online for retail scheduling software to save you time and headaches.

 

4.  Promote your seasonal jobs like crazy. Add detailed information about job openings to your business website, and then promote them everywhere you can think of. In addition to online job listings, try:

  • Announcing your hiring on the homepage of your website
  • Putting signage in your store windows and at checkout
  • Sharing links to your hiring information on your social media accounts and encouraging people to spread the word

 

5. Hold a job fair. Big companies do it, so why shouldn’t you? Promoting your job fair in local publications and local websites can get more attention than help-wanted ads. If you don't have enough openings to justify a job fair just for your store, consider partnering with other small businesses near yours or the local Chamber of Commerce to hold a community job fair for independent businesses.

 

6.  Tap into your customer base. Do you have customers who come into your store all the time? Ask if they're interested in seasonal work. After all, they obviously love your products and probably know your stock pretty well. An in-store discount for seasonal workers would likely tempt them, too. You can also promote your seasonal job openings in your email marketing newsletters. Even if customers aren’t interested themselves, they may know others who are.

 

7.  Be prepared. Once you’ve hired your seasonal employees, get ready for the roller coaster that is the holiday shopping season. Prep for success by developing a plan to bring your seasonal employees up to speed quickly so you can hit the ground running.

 

RELATED ARTICLE: Recruiting and Retaining Talent in the Evolving Small Business Workplace

 

About Rieva Lesonsky

Rieva Lesonsky Headshot.png

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and Co-founder of GrowBiz Media, a custom content and media company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship, and the blog SmallBizDaily.com. A nationally known speaker and authority on entrepreneurship, Rieva has been covering America’s entrepreneurs for more than 30 years. Before co-founding GrowBiz Media, Lesonsky was the long-time Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine. Lesonsky has appeared on hundreds of radio shows and numerous local and national television programs, including the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, The Martha Stewart Show and Oprah.

 

Lesonsky regularly writes about small business for numerous websites and for corporations targeting entrepreneurs. Many organizations have recognized Lesonsky for her tireless devotion to helping entrepreneurs. She served on the Small Business Administration’s National Advisory Council for six years, was honored by the SBA as a Small Business Media Advocate and a Woman in Business Advocate, and received the prestigious Lou Campanelli award from SCORE. She is a long-time member of the Business Journalists Hall of Fame.

 

 

Web: www.growbizmedia.com or Twitter: @Rieva

You can read more articles from Rieva Lesonsky by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Rieva Lesonsky to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Rieva Lesonsky is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Rieva Lesonsky. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of

America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2017 Bank of America Corporation

Rieva Lesonsky Headshot.pngRetail employee turnover rates are higher than they have been since before the Great Recession, according to the Hay Group. Hourly employees have the highest turnover rate in the retail industry, at 65 percent—and last year, almost 40 percent of HR professionals in a survey of retail organizations said their turnover increased.

 

In these tumultuous times, how can your retail store attract and retain the best retail employees?

 

RELATED ARTICLE: TOP TIPS FOR HIRING STUDENTS THIS SUMMER FOR YOUR SMALL BUSINESS

 

It’s All About the Apps

Start by getting your job posting on mobile device apps. More than 70 percent of respondents in a report on hourly workers used mobile apps to find their current jobs—more than the percentage that used desktops. If you want to attract hourly retail employees, you’ve got to go where they are—and for millennials (who make up most of the hourly workforce)—that’s on their smartphones. (A whopping 90 percent of millennial surveyed apply for jobs on their phones.) Posting job listings on job search websites with mobile apps will give you the widest range of candidates.

 

Hourly workers’ biggest pet peeve about job hunting, according to the survey, is when their application seems to go into a black hole. Once you receive applications, keep each applicant informed about the selection process and tell those you interview when the position has been filled.

 

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM SMALL BUSINESS EXPERT RIEVA LESONSKY

 

Treating job applicants poorly can damage your reputation on social media or online review sites. By treating prospective employees politely and fairly, you’ll have more candidates on your “short list” when the inevitable turnover occurs.

 

What Retail Employees Want

The types of job applicants you’ll see will vary widely. About half the hourly workers surveyed view their jobs as an entry-level step to a long-term career, while half don’t expect to be in their jobs more than a few years. But whether your job candidates are potential lifers or simply see your store as a steppingstone, here are five things they all want:

 

1. Sufficient hours: Getting scheduled for enough hours is the No. 1 concern of hourly workers—even more than their wages. Over half prefer to work 36 hours a week or more. You may want to consider hiring fewer workers and scheduling them full-time rather than splitting work among part-timers.

 

2. Competitive pay: Money does matter—it’s the No. 2 concern for hourly workers when searching for jobs. Most survey respondents say $10 to $11 per hour is a fair wage; nearly 20 percent make under $8 per hour. Look at what similar jobs in your area pay. Paying even slightly more than your competitors can give you a big edge. You can also offer hourly workers the chance to make more money through commission sales or bonuses. Finally, help them stretch their dollars by offering them a discount on products from your store or a voucher for a certain amount of free products each month.

 

41135539_s.jpg3. Flexibility: Flexible shifts are important for the one-third of hourly workers who have outside commitments (like childcare or attending school) that may limit their available hours. Accommodating employees’ scheduling needs helps retain them.

 

4. Location, location, location: Many hourly workers want jobs they can get to by walking or taking public transportation. If your store is near transportation hubs, highlight that in your job ads. Use localized keywords in your online job listings to attract nearby residents; advertise your openings at local colleges, adult education programs and career centers.

 

5. Wear it well: Almost one-third of hourly employees don’t want to wear a uniform. If you specify the colors, cut and style of acceptable clothing and then let employees choose their own wardrobes within those parameters, you can still have a consistent look for your store.

 

A little attention to what hourly employees want can make a big difference in attracting and retaining the best retail workers for your store.

 

About Rieva Lesonsky

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and Co-founder of GrowBiz Media, a custom content and media company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship, and the blog SmallBizDaily.com. A nationally known speaker and authority on entrepreneurship, Rieva has been covering America’s entrepreneurs for more than 30 years. Before co-founding GrowBiz Media, Lesonsky was the long-time Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine. Lesonsky has appeared on hundreds of radio shows and numerous local and national television programs, including the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, The Martha Stewart Show and Oprah.Lesonsky regularly writes about small business for numerous websites and for corporations targeting entrepreneurs. Many organizations have recognized Lesonsky for her tireless devotion to helping entrepreneurs. She served on the Small Business Administration’s National Advisory Council for six years, was honored by the SBA as a Small Business Media Advocate and a Woman in Business Advocate, and received the prestigious Lou Campanelli award from SCORE. She is a long-time member of the Business Journalists Hall of Fame.

 

Web: www.growbizmedia.com or Twitter: @Rieva

You can read more articles from Rieva Lesonsky by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Rieva Lesonsky to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Rieva Lesonsky is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Rieva Lesonsky. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.  ©2017 Bank of America Corporation

Rieva Lesonsky Headshot.pngIf your small business relies on hiring seasonal summer employees, it’s not too early to think about hiring students. High schools and college summer breaks are weeks away, and the best job candidates may get snapped up early. Before you post your help wanted ad, check out my top tips for successfully hiring student employees.

 

1. Know the laws for hiring minors. The federal government has specific laws regulating the amount of hours minors can work, which industries they can work in, their minimum wage and the type of work they can do. The Department of Labor website has guidance, fact sheets and tools to help you.  You should also check with your state’s Department of Labor to see if there are any state-specific guidelines regarding employing minors.

 

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM SMALL BUSINESS EXPERT RIEVA LESONSKY

 

2. Partner with high schools and colleges. High schools and colleges typically have career centers where students can find out about jobs in their communities. List your summer jobs with local centers. If you are looking for students with a particular skill, consider establishing a relationship with a certain department, teacher or professor and reaching out to their students. For instance, if you own a graphic design business, you could work with a professor at a nearby graphic design institute.

 

3. Give applicants a glimpse inside your business. High school and college students have many other interests competing for their time, including extracurricular activities, volunteer work and sports. If you want to attract qualified students to your business, you’ll need to show them why it's a great place to work. Use social media to share photos and videos of your employees having fun at work or talking about why they enjoy their jobs. Or show how your business makes a difference in the community or beyond—that’s very important to young people today.

 

RELATED ARTICLE: REMOTE WORKERS ARE HAPPY WORKERS: MY TIPS FOR MAKING SMART HIRES

 

4. Enable mobile job applications. High school and college students do just about everything on their smartphones —and they expect to apply for jobs that way, too. Be sure to list your job openings on job boards that have mobile apps, such as Proven, Snagajob and Simply Hired. You’ll attract more student candidates that way.

 

42033419_s.jpg5. Set expectations. Don’t expect student employees to know what you want. Clearly state your expectations up front and provide plenty of training to get them acclimated.

 

6. Be patient. Today’s teens and young adults are less likely than earlier generations to have had jobs at a young age, and may need training in elements of the workplace that seem obvious to you, such as the importance of attendance, attitude and work ethic. Because they spend so much time online, on their phones and on social media, they may even need coaching on one-on-one interactions such as communicating with team members and making eye contact with customers.

 

7. Be flexible. If you expect to attract and keep student employees, you’ll need to be flexible with scheduling so you can accommodate their summer vacations and family activities. If you don't already use employee scheduling software, now's a good time to implement it. The right software will help you keep up with crazy schedules without losing your mind.

 

8. Stay in touch. If you find a student employee who’s a real gem, keep his or her information on file after summer ends. You might want to hire that employee back next summer (saving time on training) — or even hire him or her full-time after they graduate.

 

About Rieva Lesonsky

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and Co-founder of GrowBiz Media, a custom content and media company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship, and the blog SmallBizDaily.com.  A nationally known speaker and authority on entrepreneurship, Rieva has been covering America’s entrepreneurs for more than 30 years. Before co-founding GrowBiz Media, Lesonsky was the long-time Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine. Lesonsky has appeared on hundreds of radio shows and numerous local and national television programs, including the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, The Martha Stewart Show and Oprah.Lesonsky regularly writes about small business for numerous websites and for corporations targeting entrepreneurs. Many organizations have recognized Lesonsky for her tireless devotion to helping entrepreneurs. She served on the Small Business Administration’s National Advisory Council for six years, was honored by the SBA as a Small Business Media Advocate and a Woman in Business Advocate, and received the prestigious Lou Campanelli award from SCORE. She is a long-time member of the Business Journalists Hall of Fame.

 

Web: www.growbizmedia.com or Twitter: @Rieva

You can read more articles from Rieva Lesonsky by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Rieva Lesonsky to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Rieva Lesonsky is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Rieva Lesonsky. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.  ©2017 Bank of America Corporation

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