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Gene (00:02):

Hey everybody. This is Gene Marks and welcome to another edition of the Small Biz Ahead Podcast. This is my weekly podcast where I cover specific topics going on in the news. And around that really impacts you as a small business owner. And today I want to talk about finding people. I wrote about this recently. I’ve been talking about it recently. I mean, look, maybe it’s not an issue for you, right? You’re completely staffed up. You’ve got plenty of people in your business. It’s all good. You have no staff shortages. Well probably not. I mean, when I talk to business owners around the country, my clients, people that I speak to, people that are in my audience, there were two big issues that we’re facing right now. And here we are in the middle of November of 2021 issue.

Gene (00:44):

Number one of course is inflation and supply chain stuff. That’s a topic for another day. The second big issue that we’re facing is, is finding good people for our business. We’re in a big labor disruptive period. There are many people that have still not returned to work. I mean, we’ve got about more than 10 million unfilled jobs out there right now. We’re still about 4 million people behind where we were in the workforce than we were pre-COVID. And there’s a lot of reasons for this. A lot of justifiable reasons. Obviously unemployment benefits from the federal government ran out in September, but a lot of people were still kind of living off those benefits. There were stimulus payments, childcare, payments and household wealth, which has increased all of that has provided more savings to people. So they could take a little bit more time before returning to the workforce.

Gene (01:32):

Your education system has been in flux schools have been, you know, unexpectedly shut down. If COVID outbreaks happen, it’s tough for people to commit to a job. If they like they’re going to be pulled out of their job for a week because their kid can’t go to school. So that’s been a problem too. People are generally still nervous about going back to work because of their health concerns and quite a few others. And this is a topic for another day. We started businesses during 2020, and even early 2021. And I’ve gotten them to the point where they could stay out of the workforce longer, or maybe take independent contracting jobs. So all of this is, oh, and one final thing, a lot of people are retiring as well.

Gene (02:13):

So look, all these things are contributing to less supply of workers. And as a business owner, you hear all of this and you’re like, okay, I understand the reasons why that makes sense, but I got a business to run and I need people in my business and,short of investing in machines that replace them. I got to find good people, where do I find good people? So let me share with you some of the major places that I have found that people are using to find good people. Now, first of all, if you’re looking for somebody, a lot of people like to go online and the online sites are quite good. The career builders, the Craig’s lists, you know the different job sites,, even LinkedIn, which is extremely powerful.

Gene (02:59):

For finding individuals. These are all good resources for where you want to go to find good people. Just be aware that if you are going to be searching for people on those online sites, they’re pretty much cold leads. They are areas where you’re looking to find people that you don’t know, which means that they are going to be needing a lot of qualifications. And when you don’t have a relationship with those people that you’re searching for, they could tend to treat you not as well as people that you do know. So be aware of that. There are some other good resources. If you’re looking for somebody that is strong in a certain area, if you’re looking for a specific type of person, like an accountant or somebody in finance, go to your local state society of CPAs, for example, or state accounting society.

Gene (03:46):

If you’re looking for somebody in HR or admin, the society for human resources management, they all have good people available there. If you are looking for somebody that’s in operations or purchasing the Institute of Supply Management has resources for you. In other words, there are industry groups. There are groups that represent workers, professions, every profession, whether it’s marketing, whether it’s operations, whether it’s management, whether it’s PR or finance, HR, they all have their associations that represent those types of workers to educate them and support them and provide them with resources. And one of the things that those associations do is they help people find jobs. So look for a professional association, also look to your industry association to, I mean, if you are looking for people for your business and you’re in the packaging industry, manufacturing, distribution, service, landscaping, roofing, there are a lot of people around in that same industry, they’re in the same boat as you, but they might be encountering certain prospects that might not fit for their company, but could be a fit for yours.

Gene (04:47):

So reach out to your industry members go to your industry association. So again, look for professional groups that represent employees, look for industry associations. One other thing that I learned from someone I interviewed recently for a piece I did is faith-based groups of churches, synagogues, mosques. If you build relationships with them over time, those communities know their community. And they know when people are out of work or looking for work or in transition or whatever, they get new person moved to the area. Great opportunity. If you want to build a relationship with maybe faith-based groups in your area. Now, do you know the number one place, according to multiple studies where employers find their new employees, it’s their existing employees. They get referrals for their existing employees.

Gene (05:39):

I go to my clients, I see this all the time. I see employees that are related to each other, or they live in the same neighborhood or their friends that are part of the same reading group or church group or something like that. So the first place that you need to go, I mean, before you even go online, before you even start reaching out the professional groups or industry associations or faith-based groups or anything like that, talk to your existing employees, ask them if they know anybody that might be looking for work, ask them if they have any friends or neighbors or family, people that would be interested in working for you having a referral like that. Obviously there was some challenges because if you have family members or whatever, working in the same workplace there’s different issues there.

Gene (06:24):

But at the same time here, you can find somebody that could be vetted already. They know your employees are telling them all about your business as well. So at least the person comes to your business with their eyes open. And you’ve got a referral from an existing person. That’s a friend or a family member or a neighbor. It helps a lot. So if you’re looking for people besides all those other different places, talk to your employees first and not just your employees reach out to your network. If you are active on LinkedIn, if you’re active on Facebook, go and make a posting, I’m looking for somebody for my business in this position, or I’m looking to pay this amount or looking for this type of a person, you would be surprised at how many people will reach out and say, oh, I have a friend that is also looking, or I know somebody that might be interested.

Gene (07:09):

Your network, your community will certainly reach out to you. There’s one final place that I want to mention where you can find good employees and it’s right under your nose. And it’s always been right under my nose, and I never really appreciated this, but it’s really true. And let me tell you what that place is. I’ll tell it to you by telling you a story. I was recently a couple months ago out at a big show, a big exhibition for people in the windows industry. There are a lot of windows in this country, by the way, on residential buildings, commercial buildings, storefronts. And you can imagine there’s a multi-billion dollar industry out there of people that make and install and deliver windows. Right, right. Anyway. So I talked to a guy who runs a windows company. I think it’s like somewhere in Ohio, really good guy.

Gene (07:51):

He said that he never worries about finding employees. He’s always in good shape with employees for his business. And you know, the reason why it’s because he pays attention when he goes out just socially, when he goes out shopping, when he goes to the supermarket, when he goes out to restaurants, when he goes to a fast food place, when he is walking around and gets a coffee, he tells me that he is always keeping his eyes open for prospective employees and unabashedly. He says to me how he likes to steal employees from some of those other places, because he runs into employees working at hourly jobs, a server, you know, a shop attendant that catches his eye. And he says, you know what? This person has got some energy. They’ve got some intelligence there. They care about their job.

Gene (08:36):

They’re showing good customer service. And his attitude is listen. I can teach anybody how to sell windows. I can even teach anybody how to install windows. I can’t teach anybody to have great attitude and great energy and show up to work and be a really good employee. So when he bumps into somebody that has those innate skills, he pounces, and oftentimes those employees are younger. If they’re, you know, an hourly employee. And when he offers them an opportunity to come to his company, it involves making a lot more money and having a career and a future more so than the coffee shop or the fast food restaurant that they might be working at. So you should be doing the same and you know what? So should I, we should all be keeping our eyes open when we’re in and about our neighborhoods. When we go to the shopping malls, even when we go out to eat, we’re looking for people and we get served by a good meal, really energetic, good knowledgeable server with a really great attitude.

Gene (09:31):

Come on. You can’t tell me that you can’t teach that person how to fulfill a role in your business. You can’t teach that person how to do accounting work or financial work or marketing work, or PR work, or even work on your shop floor. And you can’t tell me that you wouldn’t be providing a better longterm opportunity for that person. Of course you would. So keep your eyes open and be like my friend, look for people when you’re out and about. I think you might stumble on I’m going to start doing that as well, because it is amazing who you can find that’s out there. So let me recap for you. Obviously, we’re looking for people. It’s our biggest issue that we’re all facing. So number one, sure. Go to the online sites, but just remember if you’re going to do that, it’s really cold, cold leads.

Gene (10:14):

So you’re going to be spending a lot of time trying to qualify people, reach out to professional organizations that represent employees again, human resources, finance, your state, CPA societies, your purchasing managers, societies, people that associations that represent operations or project managers, those societies, those associations all have resources to try and get their members hired, reach out also to your industry association. Maybe you’re in the windows industry, maybe you’re in manufacturing or service or packaging, reach out to your industry association because they might have connections. Reach out to faith based organizations in your area. This will take a little bit of time to make that relationship, but go ahead and have a relationship with local churches, synagogues, mosques in your area. And so you could reach out to them to see if they’ve got anybody in their community, looking for work. And then the big chew at the very end ask your employees.

Gene (11:11):

Cause that’s the number one source of new employees. It comes from your existing employees. And number two, keep your eyes open when you’re out and about shopping, going to restaurants, walking around the mall, getting a coffee, like my friend, the guy in the windows industry. There’s some gold out there. You could find really good people. All you need to do is train them to do their jobs in your company. Let’s face it. You’re not building the space shuttle. Neither am I. You can train them, but you just can’t train somebody to be a really good and dedicated employee. Hope that helps. You know, just the final words on all of this. This situation is never going to fully go away. We had employee shortage issues before COVID, there’s always going to be that case. People need to get more skills and that way there’ll be more valuable to employers.

Gene (11:54):

And that’s something that, that will be important for employees to do. And employers, you should be looking at technology to mitigate some of the employment issues as well. There are many, many different forms of it from workflow automation and artificial intelligence to robotics that might be useful in your warehouse or in your store that could save on labor. So just keep that in mind. Cause a lot of people are doing that. Hope this information helps. My name is Gene Marks. You have been listening to the Small Biz Ahead podcast. If you are looking for tips, advice, help for running your business. We will see you again next week. Take care.

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