5 Hiring Tips for Small Business Owners

2023 marked an important year for hiring managers, as it brought challenges with labor shortages, looming retirements, and a demand for evolving skills for small to medium sized businesses. But this year, the tide is turning. CEOs of smaller businesses are remaining optimistic about the future of hiring in the coming months due to a more positive economic outlook. In fact, a recent study showed that over half of CEOs at small businesses plan to hire more in 2024, and almost three-quarters intend to maintain or increase employee pay. With this, there are a few factors SMB owners should keep in mind. With talent acquisition evolving, staying ahead of the curve is crucial as hiring remains a challenge across the board.


Use Online Job Boards and Platforms / Social Media

From a straight exposure standpoint, it’s important to be visible to your potential candidates. Ads for open roles should be placed on popular job boards and platforms like LinkedIn, Indeed, and Glassdoor, as well as in specialized industry forums. Additionally, social media is the new universal hiring tool. Don’t be afraid to post on Facebook or X, and even reach out or message those who engage with or “like” your posts.

Keep DEI&B Top of Mind

Diverse hiring is non-negotiable. Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEI&B) programs are increasingly popular for small businesses across the country, and job seekers are taking notice. Fostering a sense of belonging not only gives your business an advantage in recruitment, but it also improves overall employee productivity and community. For DEI&B to be impactful, it must be at the crux of the organization’s culture – including hiring practices – not only through one-off campaigns. A business’s commitment to diversity and inclusion should be reemphasized and clearly demonstrated throughout the interview process.

Consider Flexible Work Arrangements and/or Flexible Pay

If possible, consider offering flexible work through a hybrid schedule or via flexible hours. A job that supports a good work-life balance is an expectation for today’s job seekers who are focused on working to live, not living to work. On top of that, flexibility has been  proven to be beneficial for women and working parents.

Even for jobs that may include shift work, SMB owners should be open to flexible/adjustable hours. Lean into the benefits of any technology your company may offer that lets employees alter or “jump in” for others if someone wants to adjust their schedule at the last minute. Leaders may also explore  flexible pay, which can give employees the option of being paid in real time with same day payments, or on a weekly basis. Especially with the high cost of living, providing this type of financial flexibility can translate to better financial security for employees, especially for those who are living paycheck to paycheck.

Embrace AI

If possible, and if your budget allows, leverage the power of AI to streamline the hiring process. This includes easing the burden of often time-consuming tasks such as analyzing resumes, assessing candidates, scheduling interviews, and evaluating candidate fit. This way, hiring managers can focus on interviewing and onboarding.

Leverage a Local SBA Office

Especially for smaller shops, the legal work associated with hiring can be daunting. Questions around payroll, taxes, labor laws, and workers’ comp are often difficult to address on your own. A great place to start is the local Small Business Administration (SBA) office – a government run agency providing support and resources to small businesses and entrepreneurs throughout their hiring journeys. They can be a life-saver in terms of filling in knowledge gaps.

While major news outlets tend to cover hiring and talent acquisition trends for public companies and big tech, it’s crucial SMB owners hear more about their current hiring needs. Today, the U.S. has over 32 million SMBs, with nearly half of all Americans employed by these businesses. To address continued labor shortages among small businesses, hiring managers and company leaders should equip themselves with technology, tap local resources to find candidates, and emphasize the employee experience first through DEI&B and flexible work. In creating a better hiring and onboarding process, SMBs are signaling longer-term career growth and an investment in the candidate’s future.

Born in New Haven, Connecticut, Nathaniel Stevens has always focused on what awaits beyond the horizon, looking to new advancements and conceptions through technology, media, and business opportunities.  

Nathaniel’s journey began while attending the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where he concentrated on Economics. He proved to be a keen member of the entrepreneurship and technology community, and in 2005, Nathaniel’s acceptance into Wharton’s Venture Initiation Program allowed him to start turning creative ideas into commercial realities. Nathaniel began to develop Yodle, an enterprise that would enable small businesses to increase profits through accessible Internet advertising. As the CEO and Founder, Nathaniel was responsible for driving Yodle to become a leader in its industry by driving innovation and originality throughout the company. By 2009, Yodle had become an enormous hit, with reported revenues of $45.9 million in 2009. Fast-forward to 2011: Yodle now counts over 10,000 small businesses among its customers.  

Nate’s passion for exploring the next frontier would inevitably guide him to his next venture, Punchey Inc., a one-stop Point of Sale platform designed to help promote, market, and advance trade between local businesses and consumers through a cloud-based payment system. With this approach, Nathaniel aims to help consumer-facing companies streamline their businesses over the counter, over the phone, or on the go.  In tandem with Punchey, Nate also founded Stevens Ventures, an investment fund offering the possibility to explore new and innovative models in consumer markets by providing private equity investments in early-stage private companies run by exceptional entrepreneurs.  

This brings us to today! In addition to the initiatives above, Nate has brought his expertise to the family business as the new President of Stevens Ford in Milford, CT, continuing the leadership of a community staple that has been serving the area for over 60 years. Even still, Nate continues to look ahead to see what opportunities await just beyond the horizon. 

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