Businesses of all sizes have encountered staffing challenges in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. After a long period of uncertainty, employees have developed a different outlook and expectations regarding their employment.
Our survey evaluates how the pandemic affected hiring and retention at SMBs and what owners and leaders are doing to address these challenges.
The pandemic was marked by fears of economic crisis, with scores of small businesses being forced to downsize or even close, temporarily or permanently (although it also created new opportunities for some). Today, SMBs face a new set of challenges driven by global economic forces and a shift in workers’ priorities — younger employees, in particular.
Hiring and retaining talent is an issue across the board right now. But the SMBs we talked to are feeling the labor crunch most when it comes to finding entry-level and skilled workers. Asked what kind of employees they’ve had the most trouble hiring over the past six months, nearly two-thirds of respondents (62%) said skilled employees; 53% cited entry-level workers.
While many businesses reported hiring challenges, once new hires come aboard, they aren’t leaving. At least not any more than usual. More than two-thirds (68%) of small businesses said that the same or fewer employees than normal left over the past six months. In fact, the 23% who reported less turnover may signal that the competition for talent is yielding above-average success once a hire is made.
When it comes to flexibility, wiggle room within daily work hours tops the list. Forty-eight percent of businesses said their employees can work outside of regular business hours in order to handle personal matters during the work day. Other options included flexible work weeks (31%) and support for remote work (30%).