Featured Whistler Question Column, October 3, 2017: Recruitment & Retention for Small Business
October is Small Business month in British Columbia.
BC Statistics released their annual 2016 Small Business Profile reporting that approximately 388,500 small businesses were operating in BC in 2015, representing 98 per cent of all businesses in the province. British Columbia ranked first in the country in terms of small businesses per capita in 2015, with 83.0 small businesses per 1,000 people. The national average was 70.3.
The report shows that 79 per cent of small businesses are micro businesses with fewer than 5 employees and had a growth rate of 1.4 per cent in BC, or approximately 4,300 businesses between 2014 and 2015.
In a survey, online marketing company ‘Constant Contact’ cites “having to wear so many hats” as the biggest concern for small business owners.
Whistler’s Employee Shortages
If Whistler employers were surveyed, employee shortages would undoubtedly top that list. A lack of workers is the ‘new normal’ so reinventing how small business addresses the skills gap is vital.
Traditional human resource strategies historically dictated that businesses build an organizational structure, design job descriptions and find the perfect match to fill those roles.
That model isn’t working with today’s recruitment challenges so it’s necessary to better understand the talent, skills and potential that staff possess and put those core competencies to work in a more effective way.
Hone Your Recruitment Strategy
Here are some tips to hone your recruitment strategy for the coming season.
Create manuals with detailed instructions for all tasks: cash out procedures, how to resolve customer conflicts, communication logs that to keep everyone updated. Use checklists to dispense step-by-step instructions for staff to follow daily.
Building a team culture with shared vision and responsibility makes all the difference. Cross-training staff will keep your team engaged, eliminate the ‘it’s not my job’ mentality and cover your business no matter what.
Employees receiving poor pay feel undervalued, demotivated and are unable to meet their basic needs and contribute to their communities. The flip side is that employers absorb high costs to run a business in this town. Seeking middle ground through open dialogue might provide a compromise. Communicate your financial challenges as a business and listen to what means the most to your staff. Understandably, record-breaking visitor numbers translate to profits in the ears of staff so creatively sharing those successes could be a meaningful way to avoid turnover.
Contradicting the need for more remuneration, research suggests recognition through financial incentives above income is motivating in the short term, but unlikely to encourage staff to work harder or to a higher standard.
In fact, surveys claim the most powerful workplace motivator is recognition. Take a look at ways to recognize employees for a job well done.
- Offer meaningful perks that matter to the employee. Ask them what that is.
- Support them. Employee motivation expert, Bob Nelson discovered the number one factor employees value is managerial support and involvement – asking their opinions, involving them in decisions, empowering them and supporting them when they make a mistake.
- Being thanked makes people feel valued.
The Impact of Small Business
These are challenging times but the impact of small business is undeniable and stretches in to a community’s social fabric. Small business owners are typically invested in the local community, with a genuine interest in enhancing the resident and visitor experience. And after all, that is what being a world-class Resort is all about!
At Lighthouse Visionary Strategies, Cathy Goddard offers business and life coaching, workshops and is the founder of Lighthouse Mentor Network, a mentor program nominated for Small Business BC Awards for 6 consecutive years. She writes this business column for the Whistler Question newspaper.