The forecast for 2014 summer hiring this year is sunnier than it has been in a long time.
The dark cloud hanging over small business owners during the recession has just about dissipated. There's a new feeling in the air called optimism and it's continuing to fuel private companies' growth plans for 2014, according to PWC's Trendsetter Barometer.
If your small business is positioned for growth this year, now's the time to plan your 2014 summer hiring before Memorial Day comes along. Here's how to begin.
Develop a hiring plan. During the recession it was easy to shoot from the hip in terms of hiring. If your business picked up, you could simply place a "We're hiring!" sign in the window and by the end of the week the position would be filled.
This is no longer the case. It's going to be a challenging summer hiring season if the past quarter is any indication of what's to come. An improved economy means that summer job seekers have a lot more choices than in the past.
Knowing how to hire the right candidate will allow you to quickly extend job offers to those who you believe are a good fit for your organization. This will also help to ensure that you don't wind up having to re-staff positions midway through the summer hiring season because poor employee performance.
Be nimble. 2014 summer staffing will require agility. The winners this year will be companies who remove the roadblocks that prevent great people from reaching them.
Millennials, who make up a good share of summer hires, frustrate easily. If they have to jump through too many hoops they'll look elsewhere.
Take a closer look at your hiring process. Are there steps that can be eliminated? Are candidates able to apply for work at their convenience as opposed to yours? If not, now's the time to streamline your hiring process.
Start early. Summer camps and amusement parks are well on their way to being fully staffed, which means they are one step ahead of you. But don't despair. If you start immediately, and keep your foot on the gas pedal, you can make up for lost time. That's where having a disciplined approach can be an advantage.
Set aside 90 minutes every other day to devote to your hiring efforts. Add it to your calendar to keep focused on the task at hand and you'll be fully staffed in no time.
Refresh your website. Just about every job seeker these days will look at your website before they decide to apply for a job. What does your website say about your business? Is your website old and tired or is it vibrant and inviting?
Do your job descriptions accurately reflect your organization and the type of people you are seeking?
Now is the time to spruce things up so that when you invite people to apply, they do so because they feel a connection to your business. And while you are at it, add a feature that makes it easy for applicants to apply with Monster.
Reward employees for employee referrals. Let's face it. Everyone could use a bit of extra cash in his or her paycheck.
The ideal time to establish an employee referral plan is right before you get ready to hire. Why? Because these plans tend to work best when there is a level of excitement and this usually happens when new plans are introduced.
Don't despair if your employee referral plan has been in place for a while. You can get the excitement back by bumping up your referral fee (it doesn't have to be by a lot) and by sending out reminders to your team regarding this awesome benefit. Continually remind people until such time as you are fully staffed.
Bring in some extra help! It may sound strange that I'm recommending that you bring in some extra help when you don't have the time to hire the help you need, but this is exactly why I am recommending this approach.
Most small business owners are stretched to the max and could certainly benefit from an additional pair of hands during peak times. Partner with a temp agency to help you staff your summer hiring needs or hire a contract recruiter whose sole job is to take care of the hiring for summer 2014.
Forecasts are always in flux, but one thing that never changes is the need for summer hires. The temperature is heating up around the nation. Before you know it straw-hat season will be here, along with a spike in your business. Here's to being prepared!
Roberta Chinsky Matuson, president of Matuson Consulting, is author of the best-selling books Talent Magnetism: How to Build a Workplace That Attracts and Keep the Best and Suddenly in Charge. Her company helps leaders in the Fortune 500 as well as small and medium-size businesses achieve dramatic growth and market leadership through the maximization of talent. She is frequently quoted in business publications and is a top-ranking blogger for Fast Company and Forbes.