Staffing & Employment

Staffing & Employment

The retail sector overall and small business retailers in particular are great sources of employment for many, first-time American workers. For a variety of reasons – work schedules, part-time dominated workforces, etc. – small business retailers sometimes find it hard to attract and retain good people. Because of the nature of retail employment opportunities – seasonal, part-time, minimum wage, etc. – turnover among retail workers tends to be high.

Finding and Hiring Staff

So, how do you hire good, dependable workers and where do you find them? In all likelihood, the richest source of “good” people will be students who need a part-time schedule that is flexible. If you have embraced the consulting/part-time employee model, you might target segments of the population that could be interested in continuing to work but for whom a life change has taken them out of the 9-to-5 workforce.

New parents who must provide their own childcare might be amenable to flexible, part-time employment. So might the retiree who doesn’t want to get out of the workforce completely. Both of these last two options work well if your business allows most of the work to be accomplished online or remotely. And don’t forget the relatives of friends and other family members who might be willing to lend a hand.

Because of the demographics of the majority of those employed in retail – younger, part-time, sometimes inflexible work schedules – the most important function in a retail business is to have an effective way to attract new employees. For a small business owner, that is even more problematic because small businesses cannot afford human resource and training professionals on staff. Here are some tips to help the small retail business owner find the staff needed to keep the business running:

  • Include a line regarding job information on your business cards. Use the back of the card if you need more space.
  • Post help-wanted signs at local colleges or high schools, as well in your store. Many university newspapers operate job opportunity websites.
  • Offer gift certificates, "finders' fees,” product discounts and other inducements to customers who send potential employees your way.
  • Create a staff “soft” new hire (also known as inexpensive) incentive program – tickets to the movies, dinner gift certificate, a paid day-off, merchandise, etc. – for workers who make successful referrals of new hires.
  • Tell everyone you're seeking staff: family, friends, your Facebook page, twitter groups, your accountant, customers, etc. They may know someone who's right for your business.
  • Do everything you can to keep good people. Retention in the small business retail environment is key. Your staff must clearly see and conclude that you care for them a lot. Sure, you must pay a reasonable wage and give people the hours they need or want to make ends meet, but beyond that it has been shown over and over that if people like their co-workers, think their boss if fair, friendly and cares for them, is understanding, etc., that the “personal connection” loyalty keeps people in your shop.

In today’s world, it is also a must to make certain that every person you are hiring is fully fluent, functional, trained, and adept at using today’s tools to perform work in a virtual world. This training should include knowing how to maintain the integrity of e-files, systems, e-storage, and all forms of communication medium so that the integrity of your clients’ information and data are uncompromised.

Talent Search

So, if you need to hire people who have the skills, certification, training and experience mentioned above, where do you find them? A quick internet search will give you contact information for schools and other facilities which provide training for the kinds of hires you may be looking for.

Also, with today’s social media, using your list of key contacts by letting them know you have a specific employment need will probably satisfy your talent search faster than you can imagine. If you use your search engine to query “employment agencies near {zip code},” not only will you get names of a variety of hiring agencies that can relatively quickly provide you with suitable candidates but you will also see a number of boards on which you may post your job opening at virtually no cost.

Please refer to the Human Resource information for further suggestions and ideas on finding and hiring employees and staff.