Grow Smart Business


Search Articles

Posts Tagged ‘small business hiring’

What Kind of Hire Is Right for Your Business?

May 3rd, 2013 ::

By Rieva Lesonsky

Do you need more help in your growing small business? That’s a nice problem to have. If you’re considering hiring someone to handle some of your workload, the first step is considering what kind of hire will fit best with your needs. Your options aren’t limited to full-time, permanent employees. Here are some possibilities and the pros and cons of each.

Permanent, full-time workers

Pros: Permanent employees tend to be more loyal because they typically receive benefits and perceive their jobs as having more opportunities for advancement. Time and money spent in training this type of employee in your processes and systems is typically well spent since they’ll be around for the long haul.

Cons: If you want to compete with bigger companies for permanent, full-time workers, you will need to offer benefits such as health insurance, 401(k) plans and paid time off. The cost of benefits can add as much as 20 to 30 percent to a worker’s salary, making full-time employees expensive.

Part-time workers

Pros: Part-time workers can be a great solution if you don’t need or can’t afford a full-time employee. Because many part-time workers only want to work nights or weekend hours, they can enable you to fill time slots that traditional 9-to-5 employees don’t want. You typically won’t need to offer benefits, either, further saving on costs.

Cons: Because they often have busy schedules outside work (that’s why they want to work part-time), some part-time workers can be unreliable. They may lack the dedication and skills you need.

Temporary workers

Pros: Temporary workers are a good option to handle busy seasons in your company without having to staff up or down. You can get temporary workers on board quickly, and you don’t have to deal with payroll or legal issues—the temporary agency handles all that.

Cons: It still takes time to get temporary workers up to speed on your company’s systems and procedures, and they typically won’t be as committed as actual employees.

Outsourced contractors

Pros: By using outside contractors to handle projects in your business, you can gain access to very skilled workers without having to pay benefits or invest in training. As with temporary workers, you can use contractors to staff up or down as needed quickly.

Cons: “Independent” contractors means just that—you can’t control how the contractors work, and if they get a bigger project, they may put yours on the back burner. An unreliable or unresponsive contractor can leave you in the lurch.

None of these options is inherently better or worse than the other—it’s simply a matter of weighing the pros and cons for your specific situation and needs.

Image by Flickr user StockMonkeys.com (Creative Commons)



Big Companies Are Hiring. What Does It Mean to Your Business?

April 3rd, 2013 ::

By Rieva Lesonsky

Big corporations are beginning to hire again, data from a variety of sources show. What does this trend mean to your small business? Bloomberg Businessweek recently reported that hiring seems to be on a steady upswing. After adding 236,000 workers in February, payrolls may add 216,000 new jobs in March, one expert cited predicts.

While job growth averaged 167,000 jobs per month in the second half of 2012, so far this year it’s reached about 200,000 per month. Another economist Bloomberg cites projects the U.S. will add 2.5 million jobs in 2013, up from 2.2 million last year.

Some other encouraging signs:

  • While the overall U.S. unemployment rate is currently 7.7, it’s steadily decreasing.
  • The number of unemployment claims is dropping, reaching 339,700 a week in the month ended March 16, for the lowest it’s been since February 2008.
  • Temporary-help-services payrolls hit 2.58 million in February, the highest they’ve been since August 2007 and an increase from 1.75 million when the recession officially ended in June 2009.
  • The housing market is finally strengthening, even in areas that were struggling long after the recession officially ended.

There are a range of reasons why companies are hiring, including:

  • Stronger demand for products and services
  • Need to replace employees who were laid off during the recession
  • Easier access to credit and business loans stimulating growth

Meanwhile, a couple factors could hinder the newfound growth:

The government budget cuts brought on by the sequester could lead to federal government layoffs and a drop in payrolls caused by loss of government jobs. Ultimately, cuts could trickle down to reduced demand for services and products from private businesses, hurting those jobs, too.

Businesses could be reluctant to hire if the Affordable Care Act turns out to raise health insurance costs prohibitively.

What does job growth mean for your business?

  • With large and midsized companies starting to ramp up, if you want to compete for qualified employees, now is the time to start thinking about hiring needs.
  • Consider hiring temporary employees if you’re leery of taking on full-time, permanent workers until the ACA’s effect on your business shakes out.
  • While companies of all sizes are having difficulty finding skilled, experienced workers, bigger companies are becoming more open to taking on less-skilled workers and providing on-the-job training. You may need to do the same.

Image by Flickr user bgottsab (Creative Commons)

Web.com Small Business Toolkit: Ascendify (Social Talent Acquisition Platform)

February 1st, 2013 ::


You may decide to use a recruiter when looking for that perfect job candidate, but why limit yourself to one recruiter when you may be missing out on a huge talent source? Ascendify takes the recruiter/hiring manager relationship to a new level with their social platform. Instead of a limited amount of static listings, Ascendify can offer your company a higher number of quality candidates, increased participation in employee referrals, greater efficiency in screening and more understanding of your brand for potential new hires. The platform makes it easier for candidates to understand your corporate culture, your benefits and special programs that make them want to work for your company.

How to Tap Your Ex-Employees as a Hidden Hiring Resource

January 10th, 2013 ::

By Maria Valdez Haubric

Is your small business looking to hire this year? One resource you may not have considered when you’re wondering where to find qualified candidates is your roster of former employees.

Big companies have long used this tactic, sometimes creating official networks of ex-employees they tap into when they need to fill an open slot. But for a small business, this concept makes even more sense (and is even easier to execute). Unlike a big corporation, where ex-employees may be completely unknown to the hiring manager, in a small company you, the owner, undoubtedly remember everyone who’s ever worked for you. You know their good and bad points, their skills and experience—and you know whether you’d like to have them back on your team or not.

So how can a small company stay connected with its former employees to ensure you can reach them when you’re looking for new employees? Here are some steps to make it simple

Capture their data. If you have to lay off a qualified employee or if someone leaves for a different job, make certain you have all of their contact information, including phone numbers, address and emails.

Use social media. If you don’t already have connections with your team on social media, make sure to connect with former employees on LinkedIn (or make sure someone at your company who was close with them does). That way, you can stay up-to-date on their career and the new skills they’re gaining, and will have a better sense of whether they’d be open to coming back to your company if a position opens up that seems like a good fit.

Stay in touch real-world style. Social media is great, but in-person meetings are what really keep connections alive. Think about inviting former employees to workplace events such as happy hours or get-togethers once in a while. I have one colleague who holds an annual “reunion” for current and former employees of her business at her home every year. It’s a great way to keep connections current, and also to find out what people are working on in their jobs and what opportunities exist to work with other people’s companies.

The benefits of building a former employee network are many. Even if you don’t have a job opening, you may be able to use former employees as freelancers or contractors in your business. Or you can refer them to colleagues who need their skills. In this way, you’re enhancing your relationships and strengthening your network for the time when you do need to hire.

Image by Flickr user Sean MacEntee (Creative Commons)


How to Reward Your Employees the Right Way

June 15th, 2012 ::

By Rieva Lesonsky

Your employees work hard for your business, and for the past few years, they probably haven’t gotten much in the way of financial reward. If you can’t afford to offer your employees raises, bonuses or other monetary thank-you’s right now, it’s more important than ever to reward them in other ways. How can you make sure your rewards are effective?

Understand what motivates employees. You can’t create effective rewards otherwise. Different types of employees generally care about different rewards. For instance, young, single employees might be motivated by a Friday afternoon kegger or happy hour; older, married employees would probably be more motivated by getting off an hour early on Friday so they can get home to the family.

Know each person. Beyond these generalizations, you also need to know something about individual employees’ interests so you can tailor rewards accordingly. A small gift can have big results if it’s really in tune with the person’s hobbies and interests. Without this knowledge, you might end up, say, giving a teetotaler a bottle of wine.

Say “thank you.” Rewards don’t have to be tangible. Thanking employees for a job well done is something most of us don’t do often enough. For best results, make sure you do so in front of the whole team. And never combine praise with criticism (such as “You did great on the Warner project, but next time, let’s do such-and-such…”). Want to really make someone’s day? Write a little thank-you note. You’d be surprised how meaningful this can be.

Be detailed. Vague praise like “Great job” won’t have as much impact as specific statements like, “That infographic  you created boosted our Web traffic 300 percent. Great job!” Whenever possible, state exactly what you appreciate about the person. This not only makes your praise more meaningful, but also gives employees guidance about what matters to you, shaping their future behavior.

There are plenty of ways to show employees praise and recognition. What works for you?

Image by Flickr user John Morgan (Creative Commons)

Is Your Small Business Hiring Still in a Holding Pattern?

June 14th, 2012 ::

By Karen Axelton

The most recent federal unemployment figures released June 1 were disappointing, to be sure. But what’s the state of small business employment in particular? The SurePayroll Small Business Scorecard, which surveys more than 35,000 small businesses nationwide on hiring and pay levels, isn’t as negative as the federal data, but still shows small business owners stuck in a “holding pattern” in terms of hiring.

First, the good news. Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of small business owners are optimistic about the future of their businesses. This is nearly twice the figure who were optimistic in September of last year (33 percent). What’s more, this optimism isn’t just due to rose-colored glasses: 50 percent of respondents are experiencing increased revenue and growth in their businesses.

The bad news—at least for employees, the economy in general and those who look to small business owners as job creators—is that for most small businesses, productivity is outpacing the need to hire.

“We’re seeing small businesses circling the runway right now. They’re not sure when and where to land,” said SurePayroll CEO and President Michael Alter in announcing the results. “Small businesses have made themselves more efficient through technology during this recovery, which is a good thing for them. However, it creates a holding pattern situation for the economy where increased hiring is not yet necessary.”

Month-over-month SurePayroll Scorecard data shows hiring just barely negative (-0.1). Month-over-month regional hiring was down except in the South, where it was up 0.2 percent. Year-over-year, nationwide hiring is down just 1.5 percent.

Paychecks overall are also barely negative (-0.1). Regionally, pay is up slightly in the Midwest, flat in the South and West, and down just slightly in the Northeast (-0.4 percent).

Where is the picture rosiest? In the South, where year-over-year hiring is up 1.7 percent and paychecks up 0.5 percent. Where is it bleakest? In the West, which has suffered the steepest hiring decline at 5.3 percent.

You can view more detailed SurePayroll Small Business Scorecard data and results for the top 35 MSAs at www.SurePayroll.com. How do these findings reflect your situation? Do you see hiring in your future?

Image by Flickr user Dita Margarita (Creative Commons)


Small Business Hiring Is Up, Study Shows

April 19th, 2012 ::

By Maria Valdez Haubrich

Is your small business getting ready to hire? Looks like plenty of them are. Small business created about 65,000 new jobs in March—the highest single-month growth rate in more than two years, according to the Intuit Small Business Employment Index, which measures employment trends among businesses with 20 or fewer employees.

The March Index showed small business employment increasing at an annual growth rate of 3.8 percent. The average monthly hours worked also rose by 0.5 percent, or 36 minutes, and average monthly compensation increased by 0.7 percent, or $18 per worker, to $2,785 in March or about $33,400 per year.

“This is the strongest small business employment report we have had in a long time,” said Susan Woodward, the economist who works with Intuit to create the Index. “Yet at the same time, the hiring rate has remained flat at just above 5 percent since May 2009.”

Woodward says this indicates that small business employees are staying with their current employers, rather than leaving for bigger firms. In the typical economy, the turnover at small firms is higher than at larger ones because small companies usually pay less. But Woodward says the turnover rate is still lower than normal, indicating “we are not out of the woods yet.” The compensation figures, too, indicate many employees at small businesses are still working only part-time.

Still, the positive numbers continue a trend that Intuit has been seeing for several months. February’s small business job growth rate was 0.4 percent, or 75,000 jobs added at small businesses that month, and January also saw 0.4 percent growth. In fact, jobs, hours worked and compensation have all been climbing steadily since last July.

Overall this month, job growth was strongest in the Mountain, West South Central and East South Central regions of the country, along with the Pacific Northwest. Woodward says hiring is also beginning to pick up in New York.

Image by Flickr user bpsusf (Creative Commons)



Small Biz Resource Tip: JobPoacher

February 21st, 2012 ::


Sometimes the best employees for your small business are already working somewhere else. They may be looking to get out of their current job situation but don’t want their boss to know. Now you can find them (and they can find you) through the JobPoacher website. Job seekers can post their job skills and resume information without exposing their identities, and you can list your job openings (free) with a simple format that covers what you have to offer, where the job is located and what you’ll pay. That cuts down the search time and effort for both parties. JobPoacher also monitors the listings for any inappropriate postings.


Small Biz Resource Tip: Jobvite

January 25th, 2012 ::


Job recruiting by social media is the latest trend, and social media tool Jobvite allows you to source and weed through referrals, social networks and the Web to find your perfect candidates. The Web-based structure also allows you to do things such as check and track referrals from your smartphone so you don’t miss out on a prime prospect. Search hundreds of sites for potential employees, post job openings on your company’s Facebook page, and make it easy to allow current employees to refer their friends and associates. Then check your personalized dashboard to see what recruiting methods are working the best for you.

3 Tips for Internship Programs That Work

December 1st, 2011 ::

By Maria Valdez Haubrich

Does your small business need more hands to handle all the work coming your way, but you don’t want to hire a full-time employee and deal with payroll taxes, paperwork and all the red tape that goes with it? Or maybe you don’t have the budget for a full-time worker, but you still need help. One option is hiring a student intern.

Hiring interns can be complex, however, because there are a variety of laws regulating internship programs that vary from state to state. To help small businesses create internship programs that work for all involved, the National Association of Colleges and Employers has put together a list of tips for creating good internship programs. Here are some that I thought were especially interesting and useful for small business owners:

  1. Offer flexible hours or other nontraditional opportunities. Many surveys in recent years have shown that young people want, and expect, flexible hours, the ability to work from home and other perks that help them balance work and life. College students definitely have the tech know-how to work virtually, so if you’ve got tasks they can handle at home, why not let them go for it? You’ll make your internship more appealing.
  2. Involve younger workers on your team. NACE suggests holding brownbag lunches or other gatherings where the newest hires on your staff talk to interns about their experiences at your company and their backgrounds. A small business may not have that many new hires, but it’s still good practice to let entry-level employees on your team mentor the interns and show them the ropes.
  3. Expose interns to senior management. One big perk of an internship is the chance to learn about a business from the inside out. At a small business, that’s easy. Take the intern/s out to lunch or set up some other informal session where you and the key members on your team talk to them about the business. How did you start it, how did you grow it, what are your goals? How can the intern play a role?

In addition to these tips, I have one more: Seek interns through an official internship program at a college or university. These organizations can help you understand what laws and regulations govern internships, such as whether interns in your state can be unpaid, hours worked and more.

Need more help? The NACE even sells a guidebook on the topic that covers issues such as supervising and evaluating interns and how to measure the effectiveness of your internship program.

Image by Flickr user Bart Everson (Creative Commons)