Entrepreneurs need to hustle to get help.

By Jenny Hoff, Photo by Media Profile


Businesses across the country are facing a similar problem in a post(ish)-COVID world. Positions to fill and nobody interested in taking them. It’s not clear whether service and retail workers went on to start their own side gigs, found remote work opportunities or became influencers. But small-business owners in particular are feeling the pinch when it comes to attracting staff. Many Austin businesses are offering double, sometimes triple, the national minimum wage to attract workers and are still coming up short.

Create culture

If you’re a small-business owner looking to find help, it may feel impossible to compete with bigger companies that can offer medical and vacation benefits. But increasingly, studies are showing that culture, inclusivity and simple kindness are some of the most important benefits employees seek. One of the greatest advantages a small business has is the ability to create a warm, personal work environment, unlike many bigger corporations. By creating a family-like culture, small businesses can attract workers who want to make every hour of their day enjoyable and valuable beyond just earning money to pay rent. If coming to work feels like visiting with friends and collaborating in fun and creative ways, the job will sell itself. Otherwise, an in-person environment can’t compete with remote work opportunities.

Foster flexibility

The workplace has become too competitive with flexible offers for employers to stay rigid with old hourly expectations. By offering flexible schedules as well as roles and responsibilities, you’ll have a better chance to fill the positions you need. Perhaps you need someone to work 40 hours a week, but you’re finding it impossible to compete with the salaries bigger companies can offer. Instead, actively seek out people who might be highly qualified but unable to commit that kind of time, like stay-at-home parents, semi-retired workers and people furthering their education. Find two or three part-time workers instead who can commit some time and provide immense value, rather than struggling to find one who is only there because they couldn’t land a job elsewhere.

Try to show that same flexibility with the positions you create. Talk with the potential hire about their interests, talents and skills. Maybe what you need most is someone to serve the coffee or tea. But if you find they’re also great with social media, photography or product creation, offer them opportunities to use those skills as well. If an employee feels like they’re growing and gaining new opportunities, they’ll be more likely to stick around.

Sell yourself first

When putting out an ad for a position on social media or through a job board, sell yourself first before listing your expectations. What do you offer to the employee in terms of financial and social benefits? What kind of culture does your business provide? What growth opportunities can they expect? It’s a buyer’s market, and you’re the seller. Find your business’ strengths and shout them from the rooftops. With the right message and the right attitude, you’ll soon find the right people to help your small business succeed.



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