The Impact of the Pandemic on Small Businesses.

The impact of the pandemic on small businesses has been enormous. It radically changed business operating procedures, planning, and investment. The good news is that those who endured have shown themselves to be resilient, innovative, and adaptive.  Those who adapted, scaled back, and hunkered down now face another challenge: a labor shortage. The reasons for this situation are manifold, but, whatever the case, businesses must respond.

In addition to income, employees essentially work for three reasons: they just need a job to pay the bills, it furthers their career objectives, or they are passionate about the work.

Likewise, employers have employees for certain reasons. These can range from just needing more manpower, to adding/replacing a particular skill/ability. 

Both employee and employer have certain criteria to be met in their search, which differs depending on the objectives of each party. Consequently, all methods for seeking employees/employment are not equal.

Those looking for employment will use the source that is most useful to their objective. In other words, don’t go seeking employees in all the wrong places. If the job attracts people passionate about the work, chances are there is a social or community network pertaining to that interest. Advertising/listing in these sources prepositions the attractiveness of the employment opportunity in the eyes of the job seeker. Those without defined career objectives will seek less specialized work on community job boards.  Word of mouth (including through your current employees) can also be incredibly successful, as well as local job fairs, roadside signs, and contacting high schools and colleges.

Some people will trade-off a higher wage for flexibility. Can you, should you, offer that inducement? Are there any other incentives that might contribute to someone applying for the job? What of hiring those who fall outside of the traditional workers you hire? Seniors, youths, the developmentally challenged, and physically handicapped persons can and do make reliable employees. Decide whether this makes sense for an available position.

The assessments, re-evaluations, and adjustments small businesses made in response to the pandemic are likewise required for the labor challenge. There is nothing about business that is usual anymore. Remember that much has radically changed for the employee too. They are compelled to evaluate the job as a help or hindrance to their needs in response to Covid. These considerations were not part of the pre-pandemic job calculation, but they are now.  

So, small businesses are compelled to adjust, yet again. It is cold comfort that large businesses also face this issue. Evaluating your situation regarding labor needs (i.e. critical, now, soon, etc.), then seeking employees who align with the circumstance, helps with contingency planning; if (A) doesn’t happen then what? 

If the pandemic taught small businesses anything it is the need to think carefully about every aspect of their business. To that, they can now add how to respond to labor issues.

Written by Blog Contributor: Brad Lena