Small businesses in Canada still face challenges due to supply shortages, travel restrictions, economic changes, and political uncertainty. In Canada and internationally, many workers work from home or are reluctant to re-enter the workforce. Hiring employees for your small business can seem overwhelming.
Workers who might have taken jobs without hesitation a decade ago have higher expectations from their employers. Many workers have immigrated from abroad or changed careers in response to the economic upheavals of the last few years. In exchange for putting their health on the line and hitching their financial future to a new job, employees expect reassurance.
How can small businesses that already feel a financial pinch find the resources they need to attract wary applicants? The trick is to improve your hiring process. Provide value and security to experienced and skilled workers while keeping your overhead low. The following strategies can also help:
- Target your job posting to your ideal job candidate
- Provide a meaningful career path
- Make it easy for outstanding applicants to apply
- Provide benefits that go beyond monetary compensation
The team of insurance brokers at Group Enroll wants you to have all the resources you need at your disposal. We created this list of hiring tips so that you and your human resources team can make your hiring process as smooth and effective as possible.
Read this report from the Canada Excellence Research Chairs for more information about recruitment best practices. A sound hiring strategy, compelling job posting, and attractive compensation and benefits package can make hiring employees for your small business efficient and easy.
Table of Contents
Tip #1: Know Your Expectations, and Be Clear About Them
Many employers are unsure of what they need the employee to do or have conflicting expectations. Before you post an advertisement, take time to assess your needs, particularly if:
- You need one person to take on multiple roles
- The vacancy is temporary or transitional
- The position is new
- Job duties might change over time
Job seekers might apply for a nebulous job posting, but clear job postings offer several advantages:
- Employees can tailor their applications to highlight relevant skills and experience
- Applicants are more likely to be well suited for the position
- The onboarding process will be easier
Assessing Your Needs
As you create a job posting, speak to the employees, clients, and other stakeholders who will interact with the new hire. Ask them what they need and expect from the person who eventually fills the position.
If the position depends on familiarity with specific software systems, be sure that the posting clearly states the requirement or that the employee will receive training as part of the onboarding process.
Make the requirements flexible enough so as not to discourage suitable applicants. Avoid the following pitfalls in job postings:
- Contradictory requirements, such as asking for five years of experience with a software package that is three years old
- Including more required skills than a single person could reasonably acquire for the position that you are looking for
- Asking for experience and credentials that do not match the salary and benefits the position provides
Include separate lists of essential experience and required experience. Show willingness to work around gaps in an employee’s skill set to hire an applicant with potential.
You and your prospective employees will consider the return on investment (ROI) for a successful hire. The most effective job posting presents a win-win scenario for both parties. Consider what you and an employee would need before finalizing your job posting.
Include a clear call to action at the end of your job posting. Outline what the applicant needs to do. Without clear instructions, potential employees might give up in frustration or waste the hiring committee’s time with incomplete or incorrect applications.
Tip #2: Create a Welcoming Environment for Employees
The tone and content of the application can give applicants a sense of whether they would like to work at the company. Just as you screen applicants, job seekers will scrutinize your job postings looking for red flags and insights into what it will be like as an employee.
Convey Why the Position Has Value
The job application should illustrate why the position adds value to your business and convey that your business appreciates the employee’s role. Articulating the employee’s contribution benefits the company in several ways:
- The applicant can see how and why their skills are relevant
- The applicant will feel confident that your business will value them once you hire them
- The applicant might respond in kind by seeing value in the company
A sense of purpose can be an effective motivator for any job, and it often costs the employer little. The time it takes to share the meaning and impact of the job can pay dividends for years in terms of employee loyalty and morale.
Many employers have problems with employee turnover, poor attendance, and failure to follow instructions. However, if the posting focuses on potential drawbacks, the applicant might feel that the employer will be negative and judgmental. Frame your job requirements in a positive light.
Many prospective employees belong to marginalized groups or worry about fitting in at a new workplace. Reassure applicants that your workplace will accommodate diversity and be accessible to people with disabilities.
Some jobs have inherent limits to their inclusivity. For example:
- A job might require physical activities such as lifting heavy boxes
- A religious school might hire educators who can teach in a manner consistent with a particular faith
- Applicants might need a valid driver’s license or teaching credential
- Applicants might need to speak a language other than English or French fluently
If there are restrictions or requirements, be up front and frame them to demonstrate how the requirements relate to job function. Clearly state what accommodations you are willing to make. If you can find workarounds for some job requirements, you might expand your reach to a wider pool of talented applicants.
Describe the Onboarding Process
Some applicants might not apply for a job because they worry that the job duties will overwhelm them. Describe key features of the onboarding process, such as:
- Paid training
- Assistance obtaining credentials
If employees know the next steps, they will feel more confident and motivated to submit their applications.
Tip #3: Offer a Path to Career Development
Most job seekers want to know that they will receive a long-term career boost by taking a job. Show applicants that you can offer them a future through:
- Promotions within the company
- Skills and experience that make them eligible for better positions
- A collegial and supportive work environment that promotes growth
A job posting focusing only on day-to-day job responsibilities might not satisfy ambitious job seekers who need long-term security. If high turnover and difficulty with staff retention have been problems in your workplace, consider providing more professional development opportunities.
If your position is entry-level, provide examples of skills that the employee will acquire and the skills that they need from day one.
For example, you could say, “Employees should have PowerPoint experience, which they will use to develop presentations for our clients. There will be opportunities to give presentations to our clients as part of our management training initiative.”
Showing a process of continuous improvement prepares employees to expect opportunities for growth. Hiring employees for your small business is just the first step in maintaining employee loyalty and engagement.
Tip #4: Find the Right Match
Your job posting or recruitment effort will only be successful if it reaches candidates who suit your business needs and have the talent and experience to do the job well. Setting up a profile and posting to a job board or networking site can connect to the right pool of applicants.
Remember, you will never see an application from the perfect candidate if a competitor gets to them first.
Many websites, such as Monster and Indeed, match listings to potential employees. Their algorithms send targeted recommendations by email, allow prospective applicants to save and polish resumes, and maintain searchable databases of job postings.
Some job search websites provide educational resources and assessments that allow job seekers to demonstrate essential skills and bolster their online resumes.
Qualified and talented workers are more likely to give serious consideration to job openings if they have a personal connection with the company. Consider recruiting from the following applicant pools:
- Graduates of the same university as current employees
- Local community organizations
- National or provincial trade organizations or professional societies
If you need multiple recruits or need to reach many applicants, consider operating a booth at a local job fair. The ability to interact face to face with potential recruits and answer their questions can outweigh the time and expense.
The Canada Job Bank
For over forty years, the Canada Employment Insurance Commission has offered the Job Bank as a resource for job hunters and employers. Over 200,000 businesses have profiles in the Job Bank. Although the number of postings varies from day to day, the vacancies often exceed 100,000.
Many Canadians and foreign immigrants are eager for work but have yet to find openings that match what they have to offer. The Job Bank facilitates the job-hunting process by connecting employers with job seekers who have the skills they need.
Many job seekers already receive assistance from the government. The job bank is often their first stop before turning to a for-profit job. Why let your competitors have the first chance to attract high-quality, motivated applicants? Make sure that your job posting is the first one they see.
Visit the Job Bank website to set up a profile for your business. Take advantage of employer resources on the website. If you plan on hiring international applicants, be familiar with the immigration process so that you can help your employees navigate the system.
Tip #5: Offer Competitive Benefits
Employees nowadays want more than just a paycheck. They expect their job to offer protection if an emergency arises, as their children grow up, and as they plan for retirement. A comprehensive benefits package can attract future-oriented, qualified applicants.
Consider the recurring themes in the requirements section of job postings. Employers want dependable, educated, experienced, proactive, and attentive employees. Ask yourself these questions:
Would a dependable person allow their spouse or children to go without complete health or dental coverage?
Would someone who has invested in their education and professional development take a job that did not offer a return on that investment?
Would a proactive employee leave their retirement planning to chance or expect their employer to do so?
Would someone who pays attention to details overlook an inadequate benefits package in a job posting?
Expect your employees to manage their personal lives and prepare for their financial futures with the same diligence that you expect them to demonstrate in the workplace. When job hunters read your posting, be sure that they see benefits such as:
- Supplemental health care, vision, and dental insurance coverage
- Retirement savings or pension plans
- Insurance in case disability renders them unable to work
- Options for life insurance and disability insurance
Each employee has unique circumstances and challenges in their life outside work. Flexible coverage options and assistance in choosing the right plan make it easier for prospective employees to find the best benefits.
Visit our article on keeping your employees motivated to maintain a productive workplace environment.
Group Enroll Helps Canadian Businesses With Custom Insurance Rate Quotes
For competitive insurance rates on customizable health insurance plans, get started with Group Enroll today. Group Enroll is an insurance brokerage that helps small businesses like yours set up group insurance plans for their employees.
The process is simple. Fill out the Group Enroll quote form on our website. You’ll provide information about your business and its insurance coverage needs. You’ll have a chance to talk with us for five or ten minutes.
Based on what you tell us, we’ll contact some of Canada’s leading insurance companies. Within a few days, we’ll get back to you with the quote that is the best fit for your business. Our partners in the insurance industry sell policies that include:
- Health insurance and HCSA
- Dental insurance
- Disability insurance
- Life insurance
- Extended health care
- Retirement savings
When you are hiring employees for your small business, your job posting should make a compelling case. With rate quotes from Canada’s best insurance companies, you’ll keep your costs low while winning over Canada’s top talent.
Do you have questions about Canadian insurance? In addition to submitting the web form, you can reach us by email at [email protected] or send correspondence by mail to 10 Great Gulf Drive, Unit 5, Vaughan, ON, L4K 5W1.