Tag: Recruiting and Employment

Small Businesses Recruiting Challenges and How to Overcome Them

In the US, small and medium-sized businesses are the principal source of employment. SMBs employ more than 50% of workforce and generate more than half of the nation’s GDP. When it comes to recruitment, finding skilled employees is a barrier for small businesses. In this article, we will discuss some of the recruiting challenges faced by small businesses.

  • Finding a skilled candidate: According to the survey conducted by Robert Half, 60% of SMBs are facing difficulty in finding skilled candidates. This is because skilled candidates are demanding high pay and for SMBs, it is difficult to afford. If small businesses are unable to hire skilled candidates the other alternative is to hire unskilled candidates and train them. But, some of these unskilled candidates get trained properly in your company and after a period of time they switch to a bigger organization.
  • – How to overcome this situation?
    SMBs should create better career opportunities for employees working in their organization. They should clearly define the benefits to the candidates for working with their organization. This will help them to hire skilled ones.
  • Maintaining employee morale and productivity: Employee morale is important, as it directly affects the organization’s productivity. The reason may be because of complex HR policies, not accepting responsibility for mistakes, setting impossible goals, threatening their jobs, improper performance of management systems, poor economic conditions, etc.
  • – How to overcome this situation?
    Maintain an open-door policy for the employees. This enables them to share their concerns and questions with the management. Conduct regular staff meetings to ask them questions like how they are finding the workplace, whether they are facing any issue. If you think their concerns are reasonable and valid, take necessary actions to solve them as quickly as possible.
  • One or two people managing everything: In SMBs, one or two people take care of all employee related activities, which is not a good idea. In fact the need for people in HR department is more because they are the ones that search for suitable candidates, they do all the administration related work, manages and maintains employee wage and benefit programs, etc. With all this work load, they fail to manage the gap between the employer and the employees.
  • – How to overcome this situation?
    As a small business owner, you should identify the job requirements for specific HR position, then describe roles and responsibilities accordingly. If the job description is not adequately conveying the position’s requirement or if it is too broad, the candidate will be confused and will not be able to carry out the work properly. You can also contact a recruiting agency to find an ideal candidate for the job opening.
  • Improper infrastructure for recruitment: HR department is responsible for attracting, retaining and developing high skilled employees in the organization. But without a proper recruitment infrastructure, it would be difficult for the organization to do this. The reasons may be lack of skilled or experienced HR team, not maintaining proper applicant tracking system or the lack of sources to attract targeted candidates.
  • – How to overcome this situation?
    Maintain a skilled HR team. Have a proper applicant tracking system and proper sources to do the recruitment process efficiently and effectively will help in hiring the right candidate.
  • Top officials not involving in recruiting process: With SMB owners and its top officials having the charge of focusing on core business activities, they have little time to spend with the HR team to discuss issues relating hiring of candidates. They just inform the concerned HR about the requirement and sometimes the HR team is not able to choose the right candidate.
  • – How to overcome this situation?
    If you want skilled employees in your organization, then you need to allocate some time with the HR department to discuss the issues on how to choose a candidate. This will improve the quality of the recruitment.
  • Poor cultural fit: Employers should look into two aspects while recruiting a candidate. First, whether the candidate is having the capabilities of building the organization. Second, whether the candidate will fit into the organizations culture. Most SMBs do not consider this quality of the the candidates. It will negatively impact on the organization.
  • – How to overcome this situation?
    To overcome this situation, you need to hire a candidate on a temporary contract. In the first few weeks of joining your organization, monitor the candidates performance such as how he/she is behaving, work ethics, attitude, etc. After the completion of contract period, based on the employees performance you can reduce the probation period or make him/her a permanent employee.

It is not that there is lack of qualified candidates or shortage of talent. The challenge here is to come up with some new ideas that will attract talent and retain candidates. Small businesses should get rid of old processes that are ineffective in hiring candidates and should change the way they search for skilled candidates. (more…)

Importance of Having Exempt Employees for Small Business Success

Hardworking employees are one of the biggest and strongest assets of every successful company. When it comes to small businesses, the role of such employees becomes even more crucial due to the availability of limited resources.

Employees in critical roles like executive, administrative and professional are important for small businesses success because people in those roles perform crucial duties in the organization such as managing the business, framing and executing important management policies and performing non-manual tasks that require independent judgment and discretion.

For a small business to reach its goals in less time, they need employees in crucial roles to work hard at least during the initial years of the business, or during project delivery time. If the employees in these roles are enrolled under regular employee, according to Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), they are entitled for minimum wage and overtime pay, which is one and half times the regular rate of pay.

This kind of laws not only prevent the companies to discourage long working hours, but also make it difficult for the company to achieve its objectives on time.

Exempt Employee Act
To prevent such instances, you can make use of ‘Exempt Employee Act’ under which FLSA provides exemption from both minimum wage and overtime pay for employees who are employed as bona fide executive, administrative, professional and outside sales roles. A few sections under the act also exempt certain computer employees.

Eligibility for exempt employee status
Job title alone do not determine exempt status. For an employee to get qualified they should pass certain tests with respect to their job profile and salary according to Department’s regulation. Though job profile varies from one job to other, a common rule is exempt employees should be paid on salary basis and the minimum salary should not be less than $455 per week.

Only for ‘white collar’ employees
According to FLSA, only ‘white collar’ employees who satisfy the job profile and salary tests become eligible for exemption. The exemptions do not apply to ‘blue collar’ workers who do manual labor whose work involves repetitive tasks with their hands, skill and energy like that of employees in production, construction, maintenance fields and in occupations such as carpenters, mechanics, plumber, etc. These employees are entitled only for minimum wage and overtime pay.

The Act is also not applicable for employees in various public service departments like Police, Fire Fighters, Paramedics and other First Responders.

Benefits of having exempt employees
Exempt employees in the afore mentioned roles can enjoy a more flexible work environment than non-exempt employees, who typically finish their work in the scheduled shift.

  • – FLSA prohibits the employer from requiring the exempt employees to “punch a clock” or work in a particular schedule, or make up the time lost because of absences. So, whenever required, the employee can stretch extra hours, work on weekdays and holidays.
  • – At the same time, the department also doesn’t limit the work an employer can expect or require from an employee.

How exempt employees make you win?
Back in 1987, Amgen, an American multinational biopharmaceutical company headquartered in California was ready with its breakthrough product – all the background work was done – the invention, testing, trails, everything is done and the product is ready. Only thing pending is the approval from FDA. But before applying for approval, they need to document the details. Otherwise the approval gets postponed just like what happened with another biotech company, Genentech.

But documenting is not a small process. They need to prepare a detailed report which typically contains 1000s of pages, which takes a great effort and long time. Within this span of time, any of their competitors may secure the approval. So, there were two challenges before them – one was to prepare the report with perfection and other was to submit it before anybody else.

For this the Amgen FDA application team that started its work at their office soon shifted to Simi Valley to avoid unnecessary distractions. At that point of time, nothing was more important for them except the challenges, so they became “Simi Valley Hostages.”

All the employees in the team would work in the morning, have a brief lunch break, would work till 6.00 p.m. After a short dinner break they worked in the night. The schedule repeats until the close of the project. This way they worked for 93 continuous days without any personal life and finally created a 19,578 page document, shipped it off to FDA, and got approval.

Imagine how tough it would be for the company if the team of employees are non-exempt. The point we are trying to drive home is you may face such challenges in your business. For small businesses, deadline for a project delivery is a challenge. Unless you have hardworking, committed team who are exempt, you will not be able to deliver results on time.

If you are still having non-exempt employees in key roles, better late than never, convert them into exempt and leverage the talent effectively. (more…)

Necessary Skills Required for a Manager

A Manager should be a skilled person for small as well as large businesses. Managers manage the entire team and run the business by increasing the profits. Managers should have the capabilities to take the right decision at the critical situations. Managers at the business operations need more skills for proper planning, decision making, controlling, directing and problem solving.

Few necessary skills for managers are:

Team oriented:

Managers should interact with the employees and executives, discuss with them about the work and also work with them.

Strong interpersonal and communication skills:

These skills are very essential because as a manager you have to interact with your employees and your customers. Managers need good communication skills for handling the situation and motivating their employees.

Good system skills:

Now a days technical skills are necessary to every one similarly managers require the computer skills especially on MS office. They can check the company performance with these technical information.

Good presentation skills:

As a manager the project presentation is compulsory. So, managers should acquire the good presentation skills. Managers requires professional presentation skills for creating more impression.

Problem solving skills:

Managers should have the good problem solving skills because they are the experienced persons and they have proper experience, so they should be able to solve the problem easily.

Manager should be optimistic:

Manager must interact with the others and meet to explain about the productivity. Start the day with the optimistic mindset, start work with the right attitude.

Manager must take the wise decision which provides benefits to company. A manager should respect his team members and motivate them. (more…)