ST. LOUIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Recruiting and retention are among the top challenges facing small and mid-sized businesses according to a recent Enterprise Bank & Trust Think Tank survey. Responding to an increasing need for companies to gauge staffing recruitment and retention practices, Enterprise Bank surveyed 110 of its corporate clients to learn of shared challenges and opportunities. The survey results provide rationale for what’s happening in today’s economy and offer solutions for achieving improved efficiency and financial goals.
"The financial repercussions of inefficient staffing practices spread beyond budget categories," said Jim Lally, President and CEO of Enterprise Financial Services Corp (NASDAQ: EFSC). "Ultimately, they can cripple a company's overall profitability."
Strong Economy Making Recruitment Tough
Recruiting and retention were among the top three business issues for 80 percent of the survey respondents.
Finding the right people is far more challenging than retaining them or managing them, according to the survey. The most compelling statistic impacting staffing is that unemployment has fallen below 4 percent for the first time since 2000, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
At Phoenix, Arizona-based SmartPractice, a family-owned health care services company, VP of Human Resources Michelle Shaw says the company maintains a top notch wellness program including onsite clinic, gym, educational classes and counseling. "Our wellness benefits are a reason people come to us, and a reason people stay. We work hard to be innovative in retention so that joining SmartPractice is a career move, not just the next job."
"Turnover is costly for many reasons, which is why we heavily focus on developing and engaging our current staff. This benefits our bottom line and supports the livelihood of our culture,” Shaw said.
For smaller companies with under $1 million in revenue, 83 percent listed that finding the right people is the most challenging issue. “Smaller companies wind up having to work harder to communicate why candidates would want to work there,” said Larry Weinberg, president of staffing firm, Accounting Career Consultants in St. Louis, Missouri.
Specific issues include the shift of employee expectations, especially among the millennials and underqualified workers that require additional training and skills development to meet job expectations.
Construction and distribution industries report the greatest challenges finding qualified workers.
“We have ventured into a greener and less experienced market,” said Mollee Wilkerson, human resources manager at Ernest-Spencer in Meriden, Kansas. “That’s why we established the Ernest Spencer Welding School. We have a welding expert on staff dedicated to working with entry-level employees and developing them. Potential employees can apply with very little experience and if they have good attitudes and life skills, they can take advantage of this opportunity.”
Low employee engagement and morale was ranked in the top three challenges by 45 percent of respondents. The healthcare industry reported an increased challenge with low morale, with 67 percent.
Workplace Culture – Investing in the Emotional Needs of Staff Beyond Salary
Companies often do a good job of addressing the rational needs of employees. Salaries and bonuses were ranked as the most effective way to address staffing issues among 53 percent of the respondents. What companies often fall short on are the emotional components. This involves thinking about a nurturing culture, which is subjective and different by industry, but was mentioned frequently in the survey feedback. While some aspects of culture are about attitude and approach – being respectful, inclusive, communicative and trustworthy – other opportunities can be simple and fun.
“This is where small and midsized companies can create a real advantage – by being more nimble,” said Jeff Fromm, president at FutureCast in Kansas City and co-author of three books on consumer trends and millennials. “Things like leadership training, team-building activities, flexible work schedules and even bring your dog to work day can create a more desirable environment for some employees.”
In addition, training and coaching ranked at the top for companies in both the $1-5 million and $5-50 million revenue ranges. Increased manager coaching was reported as the top tactic for companies with more than $100 million. While not ranking as high among small and mid-sized businesses, coaching is one of the tools being used to address staffing issues among all revenue brands.
Things to Consider: A Checklist
Based on the survey’s results, Enterprise Bank & Trust derived an actionable checklist to help companies increase overall efficiency and profitability. Considerations include:
- Audit internal process
- Invest in training and coaching
- Evaluate culture
- Mentor both ways
Enterprise Bank & Trust has a complete survey report including a detailed analysis available upon request.
About Enterprise Bank & Trust
Enterprise Financial Services Corp (NASDAQ: EFSC), with approximately $5 billion in assets, is a bank holding company headquartered in Clayton, Mo. Enterprise Bank & Trust operates 28 branch offices in the St. Louis, Kansas City and Phoenix metropolitan areas. Enterprise Bank & Trust offers a range of business and personal banking services, and wealth management services. Enterprise Trust, a division of Enterprise Bank & Trust, provides financial planning, estate planning, investment management, and trust services to businesses, individuals, institutions, retirement plans and non-profit organizations. Additional information is available at enterprisebank.com.