Tight Job Market Poses Challenges for Small Business Owners

Have you noticed? Everywhere I go there are signs for “Help Wanted”. The job ads are plentiful. People are hiring. What does this mean for a small business owner who relies on people for production or customer service?

The competition for workers is heating up. When this happens, smaller companies struggle more than larger companies. Smaller companies have more difficulty offering the same salary and benefits that larger businesses can offer. According to Christopher Rugaber, of The Associated Press (USA Today August 8, 2018), “Some larger businesses are also using their financial muscle to poach employees from smaller companies.” Large companies often have more money for advertising and more brand recognition. Don’t wait until your key employees leave. Act now to keep them.

What can a small business owner do? There are a few strategies that small business owners can focus on.


For starters, focus on keeping everyone you have. The more you create a company culture where people enjoy coming to work the less likely they will be to look at the job ads longing for a place where they are appreciated. Pay isn’t the only thing that keeps people happy at work; having a boss who helps you, yet gives you some freedom and flexibility is often cited as a major factor in having a good work environment. Good relationships at work is also considered key. It’s important to make sure work is balanced and there are no dysfunctional employees causing your best people to resent their work load. And lastly, people want to feel valued. There are many ways to show people your appreciation; many of which cost nothing or very little. It’s too much to outline here but my private training on managing employees goes into this further.

Create Opportunities for People

A big part of the retention strategy, and one that is often overlooked by small business owners, is creating opportunities for growth. Training employees in new skills will give many people a reason to stay. Small businesses can often create options for moving people and crafting “new jobs” so people can stay. Adding a management opportunity with some basic management development will mean a lot to your best people; those you definitely want to keep.

An added benefit of creating a new position is off-loading some of the owners work load. Many small-business owners fear delegating because they don’t believe people will serve the customer or run operations as well as they would. A good training program would resolve this. Unless of course, you WANT to work 100 hours a week forever and think about your business day and night! I say, learn to delegate effectively and in a way that empowers people.

Create a Compelling Purpose

When you have a mission that is meaningful to people, it helps attract employees. In fact, this is one of the best selection criteria in my opinion. When people care about what they are doing, regardless of the task, they will put in effort beyond the minimum because they are working for a reason they believe is important. It’s a managers job to help people connect their work to a meaningful mission.

I also think all managers can create a compelling purpose that links an individuals’ work to something important to them, their communities, and other groups. One of my talents is connecting an individual’s work to a compelling mission in any organization. If you have an employee whose work cannot be related to a meaningful mission give me a call and see if you can stump me!

Redesign the job

Look at underutilized populations as potential employees. Perhaps you re-design the job so that it can target seniors who want part-time work. Homemakers, students, the disabled and vets are other sources of talent. Even stayathome workers might be interested in part-time work. With a little innovation you may be able to create positions for people who really want the chance to work and contribute.

Unlock the Mystery

I am now doing private sessions for small business owners who want to learn How to Get Employees to do What you Need (to free up your time and keep your business running smoothly). These packages are designed for small business owners who have little time and precious resources. See my web-site for more information at www.AdvancedSystemsDesigns.com

Employees are key to growth for most businesses. Learning to inspire them and manage them well is a responsibility of all business owners and is a key strategy to achieving your own dream. My motto is “Run Your Business from the Beach”.

With over 30 years’ experience in both Fortune 500 companies and small businesses, I have developed expertise in all aspects of employee hiring, performance management and training. Let me know if I can help you.

About Judi Pine-Sellers

Judi Pine-Sellers is a small business consultant specializing in employee productivity. She has designed dozens of management and employee programs used world-wide. Judi is an expert in all phases of managing employee performance; selection; orientation; training; correcting performance problems; career development; and succession planning. She holds a Master’s Degree in Instructional Design as well as advanced certificates from Thunderbird School for International Management and the University of Michigan, Executive Education Business School.

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Contact Judi Now to schedule a complimentary consultation!

©2018 Judi Pine-Sellers

Tight Labor Market Poses Challenges for Small Business Owners

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