Ask the Expert – Hiring is the New Marketing

Ask the Expert |

This article was originally run in the Union Leader on July 24, 2023

Despite more open jobs than people to fill them, millions of Americans are sitting on the sidelines and choosing not to work. The result: 11.3 million small-business owners are struggling to find employees who can do the work they need.

That means over one-third of small-business owners can’t find workers to serve customers, restock supplies, run production lines, transport products, or do thousands of other jobs that allow owners to operate their businesses as usual. And for companies with 50 or more employees, nearly half (47%) say they can’t find new hires to help them.

While small-business owners are dealing with the challenge of attracting new team members, they’re under even more pressure to hold on to their current team members—especially in the face of competing for workers in a shrinking labor pool.

Businesses with 50 or more employees feel the pressure the most with 18.3 million small-business owners (55%) who say retaining existing staff has been very challenging. 

-Small Business Labor Crisis Report, Ramsey Solutions – May 2023

It’s obvious to the small business community that attracting and retaining employees continues to be challenging and confounding. Many businesses have to cut services and hours because they simply don’t have the staff to support their operations and/or growth as a business. 

One of the driving factors is that work and how we think about work has changed permanently. The idea that an employee should be (and will be) happy with competitive wages and decent benefits is an idea of the past. The pandemic sparked a massive shift in perception and realignment in how, where and when we work that has yet to settle. Workers are asking more from their jobs than they ever have. Business owners who understand and embrace this shift will thrive, those who don’t, won’t. 

If I have turnover, I cannot grow and scale this company. Employees need to be happy. They need to be fulfilled and not overwhelmed, in order to treat our clients the way that I expect them to be treated. It’s this cycle, right? We found our ideal client, but now we need to care for our ideal client. Which means I need to make sure I’m caring for the people who are caring for our ideal client. 

Beth Blaney, BBA Bookkeeping 

Beth gets it. She embraces the terms “Employer Branding” and “Employee Value Proposition” – and is able to add employees to her team that are aligned with her business’s mission and values. 

Beth isn’t doing anything that enterprise level companies have been doing for quite some time now. Brands like Lowes, Best Buy, and H&M leverage the power of employer branding and make it a top priority within their organization. 

The issue is that Beth, as a small business owner, is the exception and not the rule.  When you ask many small business owners what their Employee Value Proposition is, they’ll often respond: “What’s an employee value proposition?” It’s not that the employer is lazy or not trying to do whatever they can with the resources they have to attract and retain talent, the issue is that the idea that hiring is the new marketing and that you have to market as specifically, repetitively and aggressively to potential hires as you would a potential client is a new way of thinking. 

Small businesses employ nearly half of all employees in the US despite that’s over 61 million workers. There are at least 650,000 businesses with at least 20 employees. Despite the vastness of the small business footprint, many of these business owners will struggle with attracting and retaining talent not because they don’t care or are not trying, but because they don’t know how to best attract their ideal hire. 

There’s a lack of offerings in the market when it comes to Employer Branding and Creative Services for small businesses. Yes, there are some agencies out there that help enterprise clients, but there is a shortage of offerings for small business owners. 

SoHo Creative Studio continues to help small business owners attract their ideal client. We have created a new offering that will help attract their ideal hire. 

To learn about what you can to do attract, develop and retain talent check out our free guide:

 Author: Michael Cinquino is Founder of SoHo Creative Studio based in Portsmouth, NH.