For small businesses, recruiting top talent is challenging in the best of times. But with COVID-19, recruiting has become even more difficult and the effects of this pandemic on small business recruiting won’t disappear after COVID-19 does. Today, we’ll look at recruiting realities for small businesses during and after COVID-19 and why benefits are more essential than ever for small business recruiting.
Small business recruitment challenges during COVID-19
Recruiting top talent isn’t easy for any company, even in the best of times. With COVID-19, companies of all sizes were forced to make overnight changes in their recruitment and onboarding processes. It’s been a challenge for many businesses.
Unfortunately, small businesses have historically had a harder time attracting top talent than larger companies. This is because larger companies can use their brand recognition, higher salaries, benefits packages and talent acquisition staff to attract and secure top employees. Many small businesses don’t have any of those resources to offer which makes it challenging to hire quality staff.
On top these ongoing issues, COVID-19 created new recruiting issues for small businesses to navigate.
Small businesses face these COVID-19 recruiting challenges:
- Mass lay-offs – With so many layoffs, it might seem that it would be easier to find top talent. This may be true for industries in the essential category, but it may not work for your small business. People are afraid of contracting COVID-19—especially if they live with or care for immune-compromised family members—and aren’t willing to take jobs that put the health of their families at risk.
- Fear of changing companies – This global pandemic comes with much uncertainty and this uncertainty reduces people’s risk tolerance. Employees are less likely to leave their current job for a new one if they believe their current company offers them job security.
- More internal hiring opportunities – Some companies are freezing external hiring which increases the job opportunities for internal candidates (so they don’t need to look for new opportunities elsewhere). As Atta Tarki, CEO of the executive search firm ECA, told Fast Company for their article, How COVID-19 is changing the recruiting and hiring process, “A number of clients said the responsible thing to do is put a freeze on external hiring and re-purpose their internal people.”
Why benefits are essential for small businesses to offer during a global pandemic like COVID-19
During a global health pandemic, candidates won’t be keen to join a small business that doesn’t offer benefits. Remember that as a small business owner, you’re not completing for top talent with other small businesses. You’re competing with large companies too.
And did you know that the smaller the company, the less likely it is to offer benefits? While times have changed since the LIMRA reported this in 2011, they haven’t changed dramatically which means you can differentiate your small business from the rest by offering employee benefits. This also increases your odds against the big companies in the race for attracting top talent in challenging times.
Small business recruitment challenges after COVID-19: Focusing on wellness and working from home
This global pandemic is teaching employees everywhere lessons about wellness and working from home. Highways are empty, companies sent a huge number of people to work remotely within a week of the shutdown and people are stretched to their limits juggling their home and work responsibilities.
When all this is over, employees will look at work differently and small businesses must be ready to accommodate top talent in a post-pandemic world.
After COVID-19, employees will look for employers that:
- Support employee wellness – Social isolation, homeschooling and being unable to burn off stress at the gym for months has shown employees the importance of wellness and stress management. After COVID-19, employees will require extra support for their physical and mental wellness to recover from this stressful (and possibly traumatic) period and to stay well afterwards.
- Have flexible work-from-home policies – Many employees want to work from home either full-time or part-time to reduce commuting time and achieve the elusive work-life balance. COVID-19 showed employees that working remotely is possible at their company and they won’t want that perk taken away. According to a survey done by Robert Half in April 2020, 74 percent of employees “would like to work remotely more frequently than before the outbreak.”
Why benefits are essential for small businesses to offer in a post-COVID-19 recruitment landscape
When COVID-19 is over and the world opens up again, employees will rush to join or re-join a gym, get a stress-busting massage and talk to their counsellor in person. Even going to the dentist for a routine cleaning will have a new appeal. Employees and candidates will expect benefits at work to support their quest for total wellness.
Small businesses can support physical and mental wellness by offering a flexible benefits plan that allows employees to spend their benefit dollars on the benefits they need and want, rather than having a traditional plan that doesn’t provide flexibility. This flexibility is especially attractive to the millennial workforce as they don’t typically have the health concerns that traditional benefits plans cater to.
To learn more about flexible spending accounts, download our white paper, Flexible.
For more insights on small business recruitment issues, read our other articles:
- Why Employee Benefits are Essential for Small Business Recruiting
- Recruiting Challenges for Small Businesses and How to Mitigate Them
- From Gen Z to the Silent Generation: What each generation values in a group benefits package
After COVID-19, it will be more important than ever for small businesses to attract top talent and recuperate from any losses experienced during the pandemic. Giving your employees the benefits they want at a price you can afford can help you with your recruitment and retention efforts right away.
Take 10 minutes today to get a quote for our simple, flexible and affordable employee benefits program.