Attracting Young Workers

Are you having trouble filling positions at your small business? As a business owner, do you fear that your younger employees who entered the workforce during the pandemic-affected economy may quit tomorrow without notice? You’re not alone.

The recent years of stagnant wages and rising inflation are taking their toll on workplace employment, especially in certain labor markets like transportation, health care, social assistance, recreation (including amusement parks like Kings Island) and food service.

June 2022’s unemployment rate was 3.6% compared to 14.7% in 2020. In June, the U.S. job market struggled to find people to wait tables and staff factories. The demand was so high that employers tried to lure older workers who left the workforce during the pandemic to return, if for no other reason than to keep up with inflation after an unsteady stock market has left their 401(k)s in jeopardy. 

The conversation young workers used to have about their “dream job” now gets the response “I don’t dream of labor.” They tend to be anti-capitalism and view work as a financial necessity where they are overworked, underpaid, and under-appreciated. According to Business Insider, Gen Z workers are more likely to change jobs more often than any other generation, especially if it means a higher salary. Loyalty is replaced with disdain for a what they refer to as a “toxic workplace” whetheror not it actually is.

The National Review recently published some quotes from young TikTok users:

“Life is about so much more than working yourself to death. I don’t want to keep working 40 hours a week, coming home only to have four hours a night to spend with my kids and boyfriend, and do it all again the next day.”

“I don’t want to be a girl boss. I don’t want to hustle. I simply want to live my life slowly and lay [sic] down in a bed of moss with my lover and enjoy the rest of my existence reading books, creating art, and loving myself and the people in my life.”

“I don’t have goals. I don’t have ambition. I only want to be attractive.”

According to Forbes, millennials value flexibility and freedom, and GenZ cares about job security. Read the article and share your thoughts with us. 10 Ways to Attract Young Talent to Your Company »

Small Business Holiday Celebrations

December launches the happiest (or most stress-filled?) time of the year for small business. Regardless of which holiday your employees celebrate—Christmas, Hanukkah, or perhaps another, it’s a festive time for office decorating and party planning. Expressing appreciation during the holidays contributes to a fun, cohesive work culture, especially for those offices that were forced to adapt to working remotely during the Covid pandemic. 

Even if you simply celebrate the season without consideration for tradition, your employees will notice the effort and enjoy the camaraderie. Employee gifts are always appreciated, whether it be in the form of individual tokens like a small gift, office party with food, or a long lunch hour at a local restaurant. If you plan to give employees a Christmas or end-of-the year bonus, now is the time to confirm that funds were included in the annual budget.

A recent survey indicated that only 41.5% of small businesses plan to give a holiday bonus this year “if they can afford it.” So many are looking for alternative ways to inspire employees and make the season special.

Decorating the office and being creative are good places to start. More suggestions include holding a Christmas sweater contest, Christmas cookie bake-off, or hosting a catered lunch, potluck, or no-fuss restaurant luncheon. What might be the best motivational idea of all? Volunteering for a non-profit organization or having an office party where, instead of a gift exchange among employees, have everyone bring a backpack full of school supplies, or another item that is relevant to the charity that the gift exchange will support. Giving back is a winning way to bring your team together and still have fun. Plus, it’s a great PR opportunity for your business. Ideas might also include selecting a charity to help raise funds, working in a soup kitchen, or collecting donations for a toys, food, or clothing drive.

If you manufacture a product or provide a service that has general appeal to consumers, offer it to a nonprofit as an auction item. 

The important thing to remember is that it’s been a tough couple of years. It’s time for good cheer and holiday celebrating. What’s your idea this year? Let us know.

Dare to Think

We’ve all heard the phrase: think big. Big goals are achieved far more often than small goals. Not because they are easier (they aren’t), but because they matter. In business, we set big goals to get things done.

Small goals are more attainable, comfortable, and achievable. Our ToDo list is created from small goals: return calls, clean out the inbox, write checks, meet with managers and teams. All safe, all attainable, and all within our comfort zone. 

When it comes to goal setting, big goals stretch us and push us past our comfort zone and enable us to do something that we may have thought impossible. 

Set a big goal and you are actually thinking “big commitment, big action.” If that big goal feels uncomfortable and scary, you’re likely to work harder to attain it. A Big Goal achieved makes us work harder, think smarter, and make things happen. 

The ’60s controversial psychologist Timothy Leary (or was it Socrates, 400 BC?) coined the phrase “question authority” as a reminder for us to develop a healthy skepticism of the status quo. In business, it’s a reminder to follow your own path — never blindly follow what someone else says, especially if it’s at odds with your own instincts. Just because someone says something is true doesn’t actually make it true. Learn to discern the difference.

Never make excuses. If everyone used their common sense to make everyday business decisions, the world might be better off. Instead, we often let our fear of failure get in the way. We make excuses why something can’t happen even before it’s had a chance to happen. 

Companies rarely fail for lack of talent or strategic vision. They fail for lack of execution. Instead of daring to think, we make excuses. Some may play the victim card. Others may rationalize why something won’t work and never even hear themselves making excuses. 

As small business owners, we have to decide: no excuses (because a good excuse is still just an excuse).

It takes courage to take responsibility for what happens, to own it, and stay in complete control of our choices. But success, prosperity, doing good for others…it’s all worth it.

There are no mistakes, only lessons. But we can talk more about that another day.