Some businesses are saying we are in the midst of a secondary pandemic. But it’s not the kind that requires masks and handwashing. No, this one is harder to control.
There is a dearth of people willing (or able) to work for a multitude of reasons. Employers across the country are posting signs asking for patience with their existing employees because the business is understaffed. In fact, there are hiring managers who are scheduling interviews only to have no one show up! You can’t hire people who don’t even come to an interview.
So what’s a business to do?
Some people blame the business. They believe that the average person wants to work but can’t afford to because of minimal wages and expensive childcare. But the numbers don’t entirely speak to that. 30% of US households are “married without children” in 2020. Single-person households are 23% of the population. So for over half, children aren’t a concern.
So, what can you do to combat the 3 common hiring problems these days? Here are some ideas.
Employment Hiring Challenges Post-COVID
If you brush wages aside as the main reason people don’t show up for interviews or first days for that matter, what are you left with?
Working from Home
It’s the elephant in the room. Why would a worker want to work behind a counter when they can sit at home and work (or sit by the pool or in a coffee shop, etc.). An unparalleled number of businesses created work from home scenarios, and many will stick to those protocols long after COVID. Work at home is no longer a perk. It’s an expectation and it’s hard to compete with that.
Solution: If your business is entirely in-person, it’s not like you’ll never be able to hire again. But it may take some creativity to appeal to workers. Things you might be able to do include flexible shifts (such as working around a child’s schedule) or floating start times within a window of time. The clue here is to get creative with the allowances you can make.
Ghosting Is the Norm
Ghosting has become the norm in relationships. Don’t want to deal with a difficult situation, ignore it and disappear. We’re starting to see this trickle down into our workforce. It’s acceptable to just not show for an interview, first day, drug screen, etc.
Solution: This is difficult to do when you’ve only had minutes of interaction with a candidate. However, people are more likely to ghost when they don’t feel a connection or don’t think of the employer as a person but rather a large corporate structure as in the “they won’t even notice I’m not there” scenario.
In order to avoid being ghosted, you have to do your best to connect with them in the short time you have. Share details about your life. Maybe you’re interviewing them on a special day and “fitting” them in or “clearing” your schedule. Do it respectfully and don’t force the guilt but try and make an impression. You may still get ghosted, but it will be less likely if they see you as a person with needs and feelings.
Reevaluating the Same Old, Same Old
With our forced downtime this past year, we were exposed to a LOT of marketing messaging and frankly many people are just burned out. They may find it hard to believe the claims of some companies.
Another thing people may have done is reevaluating things in their lives that just aren’t working. Some people may have decided that life is too short to work at an unfulfilling job. Others may have seen this pandemic as a kick in the pants from the universe to start their own job. Maybe they saw how being a loyal employee can still result in a lay-off or furlough. Whatever the cause of their employment ennui, people have changed, and you’ll need to too.
Solution: find out what your existing employees want (and what makes them stay with you). Use that in your job marketing. Ask employees for referrals. Reward them for their loyalty and they’ll talk about how great you are to their friends.
Employers are facing an unparalleled time right now, finding it very difficult to recruit good people. For many businesses, it’s difficult to get interest let alone keep someone after their first day. In order to be competitive in the job market, you need to stand out. These tips should help you do that. But you’ll need to go beyond them to think of some creative experiences for new employees. While you’re at it throw a few in for your customers. You never know. A loyal customer may just want to become part of your team.
Businesses join the chamber of commerce for several reasons. Years ago, it may have been expected; just something you did when you opened a business and wanted to be in good standing in the community.
But these days it’s more likely a business joins because there is a direct advantage to them personally. Maybe they wanted a ribbon cutting or need the advocacy or wanted a marketing opportunity that membership allowed them.
Yes, there are many reasons to join the chamber and tons of benefits your business can receive from membership. But aside from simply writing a check and receiving a set of benefits, there are reasons why you should become personally involved with the local chamber of commerce.
Plus, the chamber extends its benefits to all of your employees so you can use chamber membership benefits as employee benefits. Share this with them as well.
Let’s place the advocacy, marketing, advertising, and public relations benefits of chamber membership on the back burner. This article is about what the chamber can do for you and your employees specifically, not the business. Yes, the chamber can bring more attention to your business, which can create more sales opportunities, but these benefits and this personal involvement are things that can help you outside of the business.
The chamber has a number of education opportunities where you and your employees can learn about important matters for free (or at a very low cost). Chamber webinar topics may include things like diversity, how to excel in social media, and economic interests in your area. They can help you become a more well-rounded professional, change careers, or get up-to-date on important topics in the community.
The chamber offers a lot of opportunities to volunteer for different committees or events. You may find a volunteer position in a subject that interests you like women leaders, diversity, workforce development, or marketing. Not only can these volunteer positions be added to your resume, but volunteering could also help you meet people with similar interests and help you grow your professional network. Speaking of…
Getting involved with the chamber can help you meet more people and grow your professional network and make friendships. Even in communities where social gatherings are still mostly virtual, chambers have networking sessions to help you stay connected.
Business Expansion and Hidden Opportunities
As you grow your network, you may learn of additional business possibilities that you could add to your business or you could use to launch a new one. You may learn of seed money, grants, SBA funding, or private opportunities.
Often business deals get made before anything is formally published or requested. Being personally involved in the chamber may help you be a part of those types of discussions and make you aware of opportunities before they become public.
The same may be true of the hidden job market. A contact may tell you they’re looking for someone before posting it on a job site, giving you the advantage.
Chamber benefits for your business are amazing. They can really help you increase your number of customers and get your name out there. But those aren’t the only benefits. If you get involved individually, there are many benefits to your professional growth and career. Plus, those benefits can be given to all of your employees too. That can be a real selling point for someone looking for a great company culture.
Please email Bill Forthofer, Station Manager WKFM WLKR, at firstname.lastname@example.org to RSVP! Workshops are FREE but RSVP is required.
Do you want to appeal to a younger demographic? Want to get people talking about you? Maybe you want to attract an ultra-cool influencer or celebrity customer? If you do, rebranding and becoming a “fun” company may be just the way to get more attention.
Why are we suggesting “fun”? With Gen Y being the largest generation in the U.S. in 2019, with an estimated population of 72.1 million, they have strong purchasing power. They also enjoy experiences and tend to tell others about products and businesses they like.
If you want more customers, becoming a “fun” business with an identifiable tone and brand, can help you build a loyal audience that enjoys talking about you.
How to Become More “Fun” in Your Business
Culture can make a big difference in getting referrals, more engagement, new hires, more customers, and creating a loyal employee base. Some of these ideas may seem a little too much for your business. But know that whatever you decide is right for your business and industry, the point behind this exercise is to let your customers and potential customers get to know you better. After all, customers buy from those they know, like, and trust.
News stations are finally embracing the word that COVID numbers are going down and vaccine administrations are going up. That’s allowing people to see the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel. If you have weathered the storm so far, you know your business is not completely in the clear. There are always unexpected challenges like freak snowstorms and mass electrical outages that are keeping us all on our business toes, regardless of where you sell or operate from. Nothing will tell you faster how interconnected we are than understanding how weather in one part of the country can stimy business operations in another.
But as we begin to see COVID numbers drop and (eventually) restrictions loosen, there are several common marketing mistakes you’ll want to avoid.
Just Getting the Work Done by Putting Out Fires“The world hates a vacuum.” Have you ever heard that phrase? Said another way…wherever there is emptiness, it will become full. The same is true of your business day and marketing. You can be busy putting out fires, doing the busy work, or you can grab command of your day and insist on purpose.
If you come up with and commit to accomplishing 2-3 things for your marketing each day, you’ll get more done each week and start to really see a difference in your business. Many people will argue that they come up with goals but are then derailed by more important things that need their attention.
If you find this to be true, you’re either not prioritizing well or you’re letting the demands of others derail your business goals. Always ask yourself with each activity you take on during the day, “Is this moving me closer to where I want to be in my business or is it setting me adrift from my goals?” Once you begin framing everything that way, you will find it easier to stay on task.
That is not to say, your marketing goals never need to be adjusted. If there’s one thing COVID has taught us, it’s agility. We need to be able to bend and redirect. But always do so with the business in mind. If you’re going to rebalance your goals, do so with the destination in mind, not as a reaction to a “squeaky wheel.”
Being All Things to All People“Everyone” is not an ideal customer. Even if you think “everyone” loves your product and service. Case in point, let’s say you’re in the business of making really wonderful coffee, and you charge $6 a cup for it. First, everyone doesn’t love coffee. Secondly, not everyone sees the value in a $6 cup when there are options at lower price points. Yes, some people understand that you roast your own beans and that makes a difference in the flavor and some people will love you have six different types of organic creamers. Those people are your ideal customer, not people who buy $.59 cups of coffee at the gas station.
But if you think all coffee drinkers are the same, you could spend a lot of money trying to reach the economy buyers who will never spend anything with you. Instead, focus on reaching people who will appreciate your home-roasted beans and fancy creamers. They’re more likely to convert when you get your messaging in front of them.
Ignoring AnalyticsWe get it. Numbers are scary. But you’ll never know how you’re doing if you don’t look. Check out your Google Analytics but don’t get fixated on today’s (or even yesterday’s) data. This resource is most effective when you use it to track changes and notice what moves the meter over time.
You can use data to tell you what content topics resonate with your audience, what referral sources are your most lucrative, and whether you’re spending your ad money wisely. Let’s face it, no one has money they just want to throw away, especially now.
So, take a look at those numbers and the trends. They’ll become a good road map for you going forward.
Grab a cup of coffee and join PC Chamber President, Nicole Kochensparger, on Friday, February 26th at 9:30am via Zoom for Coffee with the President.
Topics of discussion will range from:
To register, click here!
This has certainly been a weird year. As we begin to adjust to our new reality, there are some things you could be doing in your business that may help you out in the post-COVID time. We can’t say it will ever be a return to normal. We’ve lost our innocence in some ways. Preparing for the worst in the past would never have (completely) readied us for this. But hopefully we’ve learned a thing or two to help us with future business.
3 Things To Learn During COVID to Improve Your BusinessHopefully you have done--or are in the process of doing--the following things to help you have a faster recovery.
You’ve Learned What Your Time Is WorthIn every business, there are things that are worth your time and things that aren’t. If you busy yourself with the things that aren’t, you will always feel underpaid and overworked. Instead, make a list of the things that you should be farming out to others.
It may seem counterintuitive to pay others to do things you could be doing but everything has a cost. For instance, if you are the primary person bringing in sales for your company but you’re also handling the landscaping and cleaning up the office, you’re losing money. The time you’re spending landscaping and cleaning is time not spent bringing in sales.
If you know that for every 5 people you try to sell to, one will buy from you and you know your average sale is $400, and you can reach 5 people in an hour, then you can expect—on average—a sale an hour. So, every hour you’re spending doing something else is costing you a sale.
It’s a lot less expensive to hire someone to do the landscaping and cleaning so you can concentrate on bringing in sales than it is for you to do those tasks yourself.
You’ve Picked Up a New SkillFrom webinars to online classes, there’s an educational pursuit for every interest and budget. Consider your interests but also think about what will improve your “employability” or your business. Think about complementary services you might offer if you improved your knowledge in a particular area. For instance, if you offer marketing content for businesses, learning more about SEO may help you command a higher hourly or project fee.
Now is an excellent time to look at educational options. There have never been so many affordable options.
You’ve Learned When You Work BestWith working from home situations, some businesspeople have had to get creative with their work hours. If you’ve done this, hopefully you’ve learned what your most productive hours are.
If you have, don’t waste them returning emails. Whatever is your “freshest” part of the day, you should use that to tackle new projects, bring on new accounts, brainstorm ways to grow your business, and other things.
Leave administrative tasks, like email, for later parts of the day. It will make you more productive.
COVID has forced us to reexamine where we work and how we do it. If you haven’t already, think about ways you might invest in making your business stronger post-COVID than it was before.
We are also pleased to announce that on Thursday, January 14th at 11:30am, as part of the Ottawa County Commissioners Small Business Task Force bi-weekly meeting, we will be providing a COVID-19 Relief Bill Presentation. This presentation will be conducted by Nick Apling, Robert Apling & Associates, and Justin Moore, GenoaBank. The presentation itself will last approximately 10-15 minutes and will be followed by a question and answer period. This presentation is open to the business community and accessible by clicking this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/3427603931 or call 312-626-6799 with Passcode: 3427603931#
COVID Relief Bill (Stimulus 2.0)
On December 27th, 2020 the COVID Relief Bill (Stimulus 2.0) was signed into law. The $900 billion spending bill has several provisions that will assist individuals and small businesses. This includes the popular Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), Employee Retention Credit (ERC), and the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). These programs are expected to launch as early as next week.
Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
For businesses, it includes significant updates to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) – including how they are taxed, tax credit eligibility, receiving grants and more. You must use an eligible banking institution to apply.