Right now, economies all around the world are still performing reasonably well. At the same time, though, recession fears have started to ripple across the world, fed by an unstable global political climate. All the while though, businesses have to go on working, trying their best to account for the uncertainty. That’s no easy task. There’s one area, in particular, that’s proving to be a challenge—navigating a historically tight labor market.
Years of prosperity after the 2008 financial crisis has led most developed economies into complete recovery. With global unemployment at a 40-year low, however, it’s never been harder for businesses to fill open positions. Small businesses are even worse off as they struggle with recruitment and retention across the board. To help them find a way forward, here are four strategic tips for small businesses to survive in a difficult global labor market.
Minimize Openings through Retention
The first task every small business should tend to before rethinking hiring practices is to review and revise their retention strategy. That’s because it does no good to attract employees if they don’t stay long enough to become assets to the company. Of particular importance are benefits packages. At a minimum, all employees should have access to private medical, dental, and vision insurance. Employee assistance programs also make an excellent addition to a retention strategy. The bottom line is that even though small businesses can’t match the lavish benefits offered by larger firms, they should make every effort to offer what they can.
Tap into Underrepresented Groups
A great way for small businesses to attract new talent is to make an outreach effort to groups that are underrepresented in the labor force. For example, single parents in the UK have a 10.6% unemployment rate—a figure that’s two-and-a-half times that of the overall population. In the US, other demographic groups like ethnic minorities and people with disabilities also have higher-than-average unemployment rates. Tapping into those groups can offer a much easier path to filling open positions for small businesses, and should be made a priority in their recruitment efforts.
Cast a Wide Net
Small businesses should also make sure to advertise their job openings in as many places as possible. This helps to keep a steady flow of applicants coming through the doors. It’s a good idea to consider placing listings on multinational platforms, such as the section for UK vacancies on Jobsora. That way, those willing to relocate from outside the business’s country for a good opportunity will have a chance to apply, too. With more workers than ever looking to migrate to different countries for better economic odds, this is a worthwhile strategy for businesses in almost every developed economy.
Build an Internal Training Program
Another strategy to ease hiring difficulties is to train existing employees to move into hard-to-fill positions. By selecting from parts of the business where hiring new workers is less of a challenge, it’s possible to lower the overall recruitment burden organization-wide. At the same time, it provides an upward career path for employees that will benefit overall retention. Another key advantage is that existing employees don’t have to go through an extensive onboarding process before getting to work. To put this strategy in action, first find training providers or online learning platforms that offer coursework that covers the required skills. Then, create an internal job board and a low-paperwork transfer process with as few bureaucratic barriers as possible. Make sure to let employees at all levels know what opportunities exist, and let them know that pursuing them is encouraged.
The Bottom Line
Right now, the political uncertainty roiling the global economy should keep labor markets around the world as tight as ever. Even if a recession starts to set in, it’s a situation that’s not likely to change soon. That means small businesses everywhere will need these strategies to continue to fill their talent needs for the foreseeable future. Together, they make it possible to find the right people for the right jobs, from both inside and outside the company, and from all around the world.
That should go a long way toward easing the hiring burden small businesses face and help them to build a strong top-to-bottom recruiting process that will serve them well in any hiring climate. In short, these ideas form the basis of a talent strategy that should be standard in firms of all sizes. They work well now and will create a talent ecosystem that nourishes the business for years to come—come what may.