Disaster Preparedness Economy Operations Team

Finally hiring again? Small businesses need a plan and we’ll help get you started

Scenario 1: Many small businesses, particularly in the hard-hit restaurant, travel, event planning and retail sectors, had to lay off or furlough most of their workforces when the economy was largely shut down. Now they may need to hire a number of employees again – and the competition is tough out there.

Scenario 2: Some businesses found a way to trim their expenses enough that they didn’t have significant layoffs and were able to hold onto key talent, perhaps with the help of the Paycheck Protection Program. Soon, they may be in the position to hire one or two more employees and they don’t want to lose their key employees.

Scenario 3: Then there are fortunate small businesses in industries that actually accelerated during the pandemic and they are able to capitalize on that momentum and accelerate their hiring as the pandemic drags on.

Regardless of which scenario your small business falls in, this is key: As you rebuild your business – or begin to build onto it again — you want to hold on to your key talent and your next hires are very important. Although your interviews will likely be virtual, the process is the same: Have a plan for each hire you want to make.

Small business owners and experts put an exclamation point on all of this during a recent webinar by Florida SBDC at FIU and Prospera. Sharing their wisdom was Orlando Espinosa of Emineo Media; Raju Mohandas, an SBDC at FIU consultant; Kizzy Dominguez of KPC Consulting; and Karen Vieira of Med Writers. Here is some of their advice.

First, evaluate your current situation. Have your current employees stepped up for you in this time of crisis, have they gone that extra mile (or 3)? These are the employees you want to retain and build upon. Are they in the role that you want them to play going forward? Have conversations with your key talent about what is most important to them to stay with you. Consider a raise or promotion if you can. Now more than ever, employees need to feel like they are valued, heard and trusted.

Then you can begin brainstorming with your team on the best path forward and begin planning your recruiting strategy for the talent you need.

It’s easy to get in panic mode but slow down and be very deliberate in your hiring or rehiring, Vieira said. Whether it is one hire or 50, you need to have a plan — and job description – for each hire. You should identify not only the tasks but also the outcomes you are expecting from each hire with timelines – so that the applicants know exactly what they will be responsible for. If the job is going to be remote, there may be other qualities to consider such as whether they are a self-starter. Are there jobs you think you need that are better outsourced?

Create job ads that convey why your company is the best place to work. If you have a strong company culture, convey that. In addition to job sites, use your social media platforms to get the word out about your openings.

At the screening and interview stage, be sure to do background checks and check references. Depending upon the job, pre-screening can include skills tests or questionnaires, requests for writing samples or personality tests. The video interview process – though likely now virtual — should include more than one team member and should allow plenty of time for questions.

Find the perfect hire? Do these things first, the panel of experts said:

Developing your new employees through cross-training, mentorship, or more formal on the job training. At the same time, keep your current and new employees happy by giving them opportunities to further their careers – as well as be themselves. Dominguez’ company uses the platform Slack, but it’s not all for business. Employees have a book club through Slack and there is also a wellness group. It doesn’t have to be so structured and formal, she said. Most importantly: Look for opportunities to praise your employees. If you use results-based rewards, be clear how they will be measured.

The right talent is out there, but you need to know what you need.

More advice is available by viewing the HR in the Age of COVID-19 webinar here:

Here are some of the free upcoming Florida SBDC at FIU webinars you can register for:

Opportunity Zone

Date: October 6th, 2020
Time: 1:00PM – 4:00PM
Registration: go.fiu.edu/zone


How to Make your Business Bankable

Date: October 8th, 2020
Time: 6:00PM – 7:30PM
Registration: go.fiu.edu/aochurch


Step Up for Your Startup

Date: October 20th, 2020
Time: 1:00PM – 2:00PM
Registration: go.fiu.edu/stepup


Finding & Winning Local Contracts

Date: October 22nd, 2020
Time: 6:00PM – 7:30PM
Registration: go.fiu.edu/aochurch


Building Networks to Successfully Secure Local Government

Date: October 29th, 2020
Time: 1:00PM – 2:00PM
Registration: go.fiu.edu/local





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