The National Federation of Independent Business survey asked respondents to identify their most important problems. In August of this year, common answers included government regulations, at 13%, and taxes, at 15%. However, the most common answer was difficulty finding qualified workers, at 25%. That value is the record high for the share of respondents saying that finding qualified workers is their single most important problem.
What can you do as a small business owner to solve your qualified worker needs? First, take a look at the job description for the position you’re trying to fill. Is it exactly what you are looking for or is it a little pie in the sky? Historically, we have heard that women will not apply for a job unless they are able to match the requirements almost 100% - men apply if they are within 60% of the requirements. We’ve heard that for years. Look at the graph below taken from a Harvard Business Review article by Tara Sophia Mohr
What this says is that the job description put them off – way off.
How do you fix that? Start over, write the bare minimum requirements – the must haves, not the nice to haves. Then add this : Will train.
Don’t stop reading yet! I guarantee that you will get more applicants this way. You will have to weed out the “unteachables”, but at least you will have applicants and there will be more qualified applicants than not.
Since you own a small business, you likely don’t have the luxury of Minor League teams like Major League Baseball does. That’s where professional ball players learn their craft, make most of their mistakes and get even better at the game. You can’t afford that, but you can afford to hire someone who shows you they have good “soft skills”, (attitude, communication, creative thinking, work ethic, teamwork, networking, decision making, positivity, time management, motivation, flexibility, problem-solving, critical thinking, and conflict resolution) and then teach them the “hard skills” (typing, writing, math, reading and the ability to use software programs.) If you can’t teach them yourself – send them to the local Junior College for night courses at your expense. You absolutely save money, time and anxiety following this practice. If you worry that the person you hired and trained will leave you after you’ve spent all this money on them – According to LinkedIn’s 2018 Workforce Learning Report, a whopping 93% of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in their careers.
If you decide to hire and then train – be sure you have a plan and that you follow it. There are thousands of online courses available, as well as the Junior Colleges , the Public School’s Adult Education Department and State Workforce Commission to choose from and very few of them are expensive.
The bottom line here is staying short staffed affects your bottom line. Hiring someone you can teach and then spending the money and time to teach them will positively affect your bottom line.