- Forty-one percent of small businesses plan to increase hiring during the next 12 months, a survey from Paychex-owned professional employer organization Oasis showed. Sixteen percent said they're hiring to drive business growth, while 25% plan to fill staffing gaps. Oasis polled 319 U.S. small business owners and managers from business with 10 to 99 employees.
- The survey also found, however, that most respondents (59%) plan to hire only as needed, a risky strategy for those who are also striving to grow their businesses, said Emily Welfeld, senior manager of Oasis' StaffSourcing division, said in a statement.
- "The tight labor market makes hiring external talent a challenging and complex process, especially when seeking the precise skills and cultural fit needed in a small business," said Welfeld. "Owners and managers who have a clear set of selection criteria and a highly-effective candidate recruitment process will reduce the risk that so many face in spending too much time and resources in finding the right person."
Small businesses may struggle to find qualified candidates because they compete with both small and large organizations for talent. Nearly half of small business owners in a CNBC and SurveyMonkey poll released last month said they had troubling filling openings largely due to skills gaps, and a quarter said they're losing talent to large companies that can offer better pay and benefits. Still, a third of respondents in the same poll intended to increase headcount during the 12-month period following the 2018 summer survey, despite hiring challenges.
Small business owners expressed optimism about the business climate back in March, when more than half of those in a Clutch survey said they planned to hire new employees in 2019, with most of those plans focused on sales and marketing, customer service and IT positions. However, filling those positions could be more challenging than expected, given skills shortages and a low unemployment rate.
To build the skilled workforces they need, small businesses may consider investing more in learning and development, but balancing the building and buying of talent is a tough mix that looks differently for every organization, experts previously told HR Dive. Working with leadership to determine what the future of an organization's workforce might look like can be a key step to figuring out that balance.
Employers in this group also may consider creative benefits, like flexible work schedules that accommodate parents and workers with caregiving duties and similar responsibilities. Additionally, there may be an opportunity for small businesses to use their unique cultures to their advantage: owners improve recognition programs and help employees formalize career-growth goals, connecting day-to-day work directly with the organization's growth and mission.