Small Businesses Still Facing Some Hiring Issues

These days, with the economy slowly improving and more small business owners expressing a larger amount of interest in taking on new workers as they attempt to expand their firms, many issues related to finding and hiring the right employees may still linger.

Today, more than two-thirds of small business owners say that the general employment market is meeting their needs in terms of both the quality and education of applicants, but at the same time, the remaining 32 percent feel the opposite way, according to the latest Workforce and Immigration Survey from the National Small Business Association. And at the present time, more than one-third of all small businesses employ between just one and five workers, while another 31 percent have between six and 19 employees.

And when it comes to hiring new workers, employers are now taking the time to be a little more vigilant for potential red flags that could indicate an applicant isn't right for the position, the report said. For instance, 84 percent of employers say they run criminal background checks on workers, while more than half also run credit checks. And because some companies are slightly dissatisfied with workers' education in general, more are now engaging in their own training practices, with about four in every five providing some on-site instruction, and slightly less than one-third also offering to help pay for continuing education or certification programs. This comes despite the fact that the vast majority of businesses are now putting new hires to work rather quickly; about one in five businesses wait two weeks or more to do so, while the rest act within one week or less.

But problematically, the vast majority aren't aware of any state or local tax incentives they may be able to tap when extending offers for additional training or education, with less than 16 percent responding in the affirmative, the report said. This stands in stark contrast with the two-third of small business owners who say they would certainly take advantage of such incentives if they existed.

What are the takeaways?
All this information may be incredibly useful to small business owners trying to craft the best hiring strategies for their companies going forward. For instance, those that do not offer on-the-job training, or have somewhat limited programs for doing so, may want to consider the benefits that expanding these initiatives might have in helping employees to more ably tackle the tasks they face in their new positions, and potentially feel more satisfied with the work they do as a consequence.

This may also be a good way to attract potential workers, particularly for companies hiring those with limited educational backgrounds – the survey found that nearly half of all small business employers required only a high school diploma of applicants, while another nearly four in 10 mandated technical or vocational training. These workers in particular may relish the opportunity to acquire valuable real-world experience in their chosen field, and having this type of training in place might, in turn, make such positions more desirable.

Further, because many states now incentivize putting these types of programs in place, it can be a good idea for small business owners to research whether doing so will put them in line for any potential tax breaks in the future.

Of course, before hiring new workers, owners should take the time to consider whether they are financially capable of doing so, as this may add to their small business insurance costs might necessarily rise. This may be particularly true with regard to employees' healthcare premiums, or those for workers' compensation insurance.