Hiring and Retaining Good Employees in a Tight Job Market

job-concept-2-1140644-639x602When you own and manage a retail location, the pay range you offer to employees is typically minimum wage to just a little bit above minimum wage. College students, high school students or recent grads make for great employees in this pay range. When the economy is good, business is good, and more employers than ever are hiring, which all makes hiring and retaining not so good. In years past a help wanted ad at one of our local universities would garnish me about 20-plus applicants that I could whittle down to 3-4 to interview and eventually hire. I was in the driver seat, I could be picky….well in today’s environment not so much. I recently placed a help wanted ad and I got….(drum roll please) 4 applicants. That is more like a turkey drum roll if you ask me!

To find staff and keep the good ones, I have had to get creative and here are a few things that I am finding that works.

Transparency- I am completely honest and tell employees I cannot offer you more money, I know you have a lot of job opportunities, you probably might find some that can offer you more money but what I can offer you is…..

Flexibility – I am willing to work around another part-time job you may have, school schedule, your high school dance, your boyfriend’s grandma’s 80th birthday, whatever is important to you. I tell them I do not want you to miss these things in life, so with enough notice (key phrase) I am willing to be flexible.

Work towards PTO – Paid time off is a nice perk that is usually not offered in retail or part-time environments. Rewarding your employees with a ½ day or a personal day paid time off can be just enough to keep them from job hopping. After 90 days of employment you can start earning credits for paid time off. Average part-time person will receive 1-2 paid days off in a year, so this isn’t a huge sacrifice on the business.

Food- Well who doesn’t like food? I frequently reward the staff with pizza lunch. The key here is to do it just to say I appreciate you and not always tied to achieving a goal.

Ask their advice– I do not have the answers and I employ people who are good in their departments. Involving them in the process makes them feel important, needed, wanted, and you will find your employees have good ideas as well.

Roll Up your own sleeves– In times of being short staffed, I roll up my own sleeves and jump into production. This makes the employees realize you do care what they are going through every day and in turn helps them care more about your business.