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Small Business Owners Closing the Talent Gap

SCORE study: Retailers among those making headway against larger rivals with improved wages and supportive cultures




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Six in ten small-business owners report increasing wages to hire and retain workers but worry higher costs are “not healthy business-wise,” according to a new report from SCORE, a resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration. To maintain profitability and employee satisfaction, entrepreneurs are finding compensation isn’t the only solution, the SCORE research finds.

“The pandemic brought challenges with hiring and retention for a multitude of businesses, but entrepreneurs excel at exercising creativity and flexibility when they need to do more with less,” said SCORE VPr of External Relations Betsy Dougert. “By capitalizing on their innate strengths, small-business employers can motivate and inspire their existing teams, attract new talent and grow to new levels of success.”

To draw such conclusions, SCORE’s “Spring 2023 Megaphone of Main Street: Employee Engagement” report surveyed more than 1500 small business owners from a variety of sectors on employee-related challenges in today’s competitive environment, including the impact and cost of disengaged employees. The small business surveyed included retailers, with more than 98 percent of all such companies employing fewer than 50, the NRF reports.

While small-business owners are more optimistic now than pre-pandemic, more than half (59.2 percent) still feel that employee-related challenges will continue for at least another year. In the face of these challenges, small business owners are taking action.

In addition to increasing wages, they are:

  • Building connections to their company culture, mission and values (46.2 percent)
  • Offering professional development and training opportunities (41.3 percent)
  • Providing bonuses and/or profit sharing (39.2 percent)
  • Incorporating flexible and/or remote work options (36.8 percent).

Click here for the full “Megaphone of Main Street: Employee Engagement” data report.

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