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4 HR Challenges for Small Businesses in 2021

Find out here four of the biggest HR challenges facing small businesses this year


What is one key thing that all businesses, regardless of size, have in common?

It’s simple, the need for an effective HR strategy.

Whether your company is made up of 5, 50, or 500 employees, it’s essential to dedicate whatever resources you can to cultivating a workplace that is inclusive, supportive, and ultimately geared towards your employees’ needs. But, as a small business, it can be difficult to find the time and budget to run a specially dedicated department.

So we’ve pulled some tips together that might help.
We’re taking a look at 4 of the biggest HR challenges facing small businesses this year, and how to best overcome them using whatever resources you have available.

Maintaining work culture in a hybrid world

2020 saw a massive shift in the way we work. Companies across the globe were forced to adapt quickly, pivoting to a completely remote set-up almost overnight, and the effects of this will likely stretch long into the future.

Although we can’t say exactly what the future holds, we do know that businesses across all sectors are exploring a more hybrid way of working. Hours are becoming more flexible, and the traditional idea that an employee must be in the office in order to be productive is fast becoming a dated one.

As a result, HR teams must work to ensure that office culture is still a priority, even without the office, and this can be done in a multitude of ways, whether you’re managing one employee, or one hundred.

It can be as simple as compiling regular employee surveys to ensure your team feels they have a safe space to feedback on any workplace concerns from wherever they happen to be working at the time. If your employees feel comfortable with it, consider hosting in-person team days or assigning set days in the office to boost morale.

For those who choose to keep the shift to remote working permanent, consider how you can nurture workplace culture for your employees at home. Are you holding regular check-ins? Have you made sure to send them everything that they need to be productive remotely? Are you encouraging your team to stay in touch with each other virtually?

Keeping hold of your best people

Talent retention has always been a priority for HR teams, but in 2021 it’s more important than ever. Finding and keeping top talent means reduced admin hours, fewer hiring costs, and saved resources in general. For small businesses looking to save money where they can, talent retention is crucial.

Effective talent retention starts at the recruitment stage. When hiring new staff members, consider their potential to stick around long term. Ask yourself, do they align with your company’s values? Are they likely to be a good fit within the team long term? Is there room for progression for them within your company?

Additionally, make sure you’re checking in regularly with your current employees.

It’s never a bad idea to schedule regular 1:1s, or host an open forum. Team members who feel valued, listened to, and comfortable are far more likely to stay in a role.

Recruitment is more competitive than ever before, and in order to stay competitive, you must ensure you’re offering everything that the modern employee expects from their workplace. A flexible working policy, and the opportunity to work remotely if necessary is no longer a ‘nice to have’, it’s a must-have for companies that want to retain top talent.  

Training and education

As well as making sure your employees feel like they have a space to voice their thoughts, any effective HR strategy should have a focus on training and educational opportunities.

Your staff want to learn. Making sure that they have the opportunity to do so will pay off in the long run. When management works with their employees to further their development, everybody wins. Ask yourself, have you got regimented development plans in place for your employees? If not, consider how you can begin implementing these.  

Whether you create your own training plan which employees can complete in-house, or make use of external courses and workshops, the more your employees feel they’re gaining from your business, the less likely it is that they’ll consider leaving.

Diversity and Inclusion  

At our recent event, #ThoseWhoDare, CEO of the Inspired Leaders Network, Rene Carayol stated that “diversity and inclusion has always been the right thing to do, but today it’s the smart thing to do”.

There’s no doubt that we should all be working to a diverse, inclusive and progressive workspace because it’s morally the right thing to do, however studies show that companies which fail to do this are actually putting themselves at a disadvantage in terms of productivity, too. Research shows that when employees trust that they’ll be treated well regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation, they’re 9.8 times more likely to look forward to going to work, 6.3 times more likely to take pride in their work, and up to 5.4 times more likely to want to stay a long time at their company.

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