Merchant Advance Blog

Blog Article: Finding Talent: Canadian Small Business’ Biggest Challenge?

If Canadian small business owners were to be surveyed right now and asked what they thought was the biggest challenge they faced in 2015, the answer might surprise you. What do you think it could be? Access to capital is certainly high on the list. Finding new customers and growing retention, also of significant importance. Let’s not forget growth and expansion into new markets! However, a recent survey by Sage showed that 38% of Canadian small business owners were most significantly challenged by the need to find and start hiring great employees.

What can you do to overcome this challenge?

  • Stop Searching For Unicorns

I’ve been delving into the world of online dating lately, and it seems like certain people are so selective in their criteria for a good match that it would be, frankly, impossible to get along with them. These people don’t want a partner, they want a unicorn! And so too it is for businesses. Conceptually, the idea that there is a perfect employee waiting out there, with exactly the right mix of skills and zero training required, is tantalizing. Maybe they do exist – but how many great people would you have to turn down to find them? How much of a waste of resources and time would that be? Also: consider that the process of training and building a relationship with a new employee is part of what helps to create their attachment to your business’ culture and identity.

  • Be a Great Place to Work

Employers would do well to perform the necessary background research on any potential hire, but job seekers should not be counted out in terms of the research they do about the environment they hope to work in. What makes your small business stand out as a place where people can feel productive, appreciated and part of something great? Find these qualities and talk about them in a way that goes beyond the standard industry boilerplate for a job offering.

  • Speak the Language

Use the channels that make sense to reach the demographics you want to reach, and challenge them with things that pique their specific interests. The language and approach you might use to hire a web whiz, for example, would differ significantly from the strategy you might use to discern whether someone would make a great customer representative.  If someone clicks with your message, they might also click in your workplace. Google famously sought out math-savvy engineers with a puzzling billboard that directed job-seekers to “{first 10-digit prime found in consecutive digits of e}.com.”

You don’t need Google’s cleverness to find the right people that fit your small business’s HR needs, even at a time when it’s becoming more challenging to attract new talent. Start by thinking about the personal elements, be realistic and create a relationship from the get-go.

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