Why small businesses need to think big this summer hiring season

(BPT) - Finding great employees hasn’t been easy for small businesses lately. And this summer, the competition could heat up even more.

Thanks to a healthy economy, unemployment levels are low across the country. Many companies will be adding even more jobs as the weather warms up — especially those in seasonal industries such as tourism and hospitality, and other professions that are weather-dependent. While some of these positions may be filled by new graduates, this year employers can expect a fight for top candidates in any role.

Small businesses in particular will feel the brunt of the hiring squeeze, as they often can’t match the compensation and benefits offered by their larger competitors. This forces them to get creative to attract and retain the best.

One way many businesses get a leg up on their competition is with a small-business loan. Companies like Funding Circle offer working capital loans that allow businesses to get fast, affordable financing to expand their teams and achieve their goals.

Here are three more tips that can help small businesses gain an edge this summer:

Hire strategically

What are the different seasonal roles you need? While many businesses will be hiring for customer-facing positions, don’t stop your planning there. It may be worth taking the time to ensure your systems, website and marketing campaigns are up to snuff too as you head into a summer rush. With today’s gig economy, it’s easier than ever to hire high-quality, professional seasonal employees like web designers, marketing managers and accountants on an independent contractor basis.

You should also be creative about how you find the right candidates. Online, think carefully about the job description you post. It shouldn’t just be a list of responsibilities, but a chance to market your company to your future hire. Offline, get your current employees to help with the search by offering a recruiting bonus. And rethink your preconceptions about what work actually needs to be performed onsite — roles like administrative support, marketing and bookkeeping can now be done remotely with ease, which can widen your talent pool and be more appealing to prospective applicants.

Do everything by the book

Before making any job offers, acquaint yourself with state and federal fair hiring practices and job discrimination laws — and know how to implement them. If you have questions about any employment laws related to seasonal employees, talk to a lawyer.

Second, make sure you’re correctly classifying your seasonal employees according to state and federal laws (think: part-time vs. full-time, or contractor vs. employee). You could end up facing problems down the road, like being held liable for payroll taxes, if you’ve misclassified any workers.

It’s also important to make sure you get all employment agreements in writing. A lack of written contracts, including work for hire or consulting agreements, is a common small-business mistake, and a little effort upfront can save you a lot of headaches later.

Build your employer brand

Right now, the best candidates can afford to be picky about where they work. Every employer, big and small, has a reputation, and yours can either be a secret weapon or an Achilles' heel in your hunt for new staff.

Your employer brand encompasses all the ways your business is perceived by staff and applicants alike. This can be shaped by everything from the interview process to the perks you offer, your policies, working conditions, company values, culture and more. Ensure that you’re consistently communicating that your business is a great place to work, even if only for the summer. When done right, you’ll get good employees to come to you rather than the other way around.

For more tips and information about small business loans, visit FundingCircle.com.


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