Promoting “quality of life” benefits can help small businesses stand out among competitors that are vying for employees, according to business owners interviewed for an article from USA Today.
Decreasing national unemployment has resulted in fewer applicants for jobs with small businesses, USA Today reports.
In February, 32 percent of small businesses had job openings they couldn’t fill, according to a survey by the National Federation of Independent Business. Of those companies, 17 percent reported that the biggest obstacle was finding “quality” applicants, USA Today says.
Retailers encounter that problem within the independent home improvement industry. In a study conducted by the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA), retailers say that finding quality employees who are committed to their companies long term is one of the most challenging aspects of running a business.
In the USA Today article, two small business owners share their solutions for competing against larger companies to attract quality employees.
Offering benefits such as higher wages and paid leave may not be feasible for retail operations, but offering other, less tangible benefits and encouraging passion in the workplace can make a difference for morale and loyalty, USA Today reports.
Thornhill and Associates, a Los Angeles insurance firm with 15 employees, “recently started matching employees’ 401K contributions. But noting that large companies pay about 25 percent more, [president Neal Thornhill] says his best drawing card is that he lets employees work at home and set their own hours,” the article says.
“We may not have benefit packages as competitive as the larger companies but we provide a better quality of life,” Thornhill tells USA Today.
Another company, e-commerce firm The Good, emphasizes that a smaller staff gives workers more influence within the company. The business, which is based in Portland, Oregon, has seven full-time and seven part-time employees.
“The company touts the fact that its size allows employees to have a bigger impact on its products and services,” USA Today says. The Good “also gives applicants rigorous tests, partly to attract those who possess the skills and passion it’s seeking.”
Retailing doesn’t typically allow for work-from-home options, but home improvement businesses can offer other intangible benefits. Managers may be able to attract quality employees by offering flexibility in scheduling, being sensitive to employees’ personal lives and finding ways to encourage workers to buy into the company’s mission.