Is the Pandemic a New Era for Small Businesses?

As our working dynamics continue to evolve in the face of the pandemic, can it be a gift to small businesses? explores how and why! 

The COVID-19 pandemic proved to be a game-changer in the small business landscape. Small businesses today need to consider the ease in adopting remote working practices full-time today, especially given the benefits of having a remote workforce, cost-cutting, savings, and overall flexibility. 

According to a 2019 study conducted by Owl Labs, 83 percent of workers stated that they would prefer remote working. Many respondents added that they would also feel more trusted and be able to keep down stress levels as there would be greater room and freedom to strike an appropriate work-life balance. Over 57 percent of small business owners believe that remote work will resume even after the pandemic. Meanwhile, many big corporations have announced that they hope to resume in-person activities at work. 

Challenges faced by small businesses 

“When I ran a small business, one of the biggest challenges I faced was the ability to compete for talent with enterprise organizations. I wasn’t alone, either – it’s a common struggle for many small businesses. We cannot necessarily match the salaries and benefits offered by larger organizations. Other perks such as gym memberships, generous stock options, and top-tier health insurance are also very difficult to compete with,” says Carlos Hidalgo, a 25-year business veteran, in an article written by Elite Business Magazine.

This is not shocking considering that the gap between large and small companies is growing even though the digital revolution continues to benefit small companies today. 

The graph above shows how, since 1993, there has been a growing trend of larger companies acquiring a larger proportion of the labor market. From 1996, when US companies with less than 250 employees and companies with 250 employees or more had the same share of employment, the gap has gradually widened to the point where companies with 250 employees or more have a 55.1% share of the employment. 

The struggles shared by Mr. Hidalgo above demonstrate the many hardships smaller businesses can be facing with regards to competing for talent with big enterprises. Big enterprises have the economies of scale necessary to blow the smaller competition out of the water. Unlike smaller businesses, they are able to offer financial benefits, something smaller businesses are unable to do. Has the pandemic presented smaller businesses with an opportunity to gain an upper hand in terms of employment?

It’s the trust. Usually, relationships between employers and employees in smaller businesses tend to be more informal and closer, and there’s a level of trust which goes on to the work. This element of trust is why smaller businesses can take advantage of the return to the office. What do most small businesses have which most big enterprises don’t? Trust! “We trust you to work from home!”. And some will appreciate this sense of freedom more than financial benefits, but you will have to convey it through recruitment marketing.

Young people in the driver’s seat 

As young people begin to take the driver’s seat in the startup world today, they are bringing in a new era of creative and innovative thinking. New York Post reported that nearly one in three millennials said they had some type of small business, with 19 percent stating that it was their main source of income. 

“Technology has made it easier than ever for anyone with an idea to create a home for it online and find their audience,” said Melissa Schneider, global trends expert at GoDaddy. The affordability and accessibility of technology and tools today are most likely influencing this burgeoning entrepreneurial and business spirit among the youth today especially as one can launch and run a business at home. 

Sourcing global talent

As work from home might end up being the new norm in the post-pandemic world, apart from the greater flexibility brought on by remote working and the ability to source global talent, small businesses are able to attract talent from across the globe. “Working during the pandemic has opened opportunities for our company. Since we work remotely, we have been able to source the best talent from all over the world,” said Berkeley Pharma Tech, a biotechnology startup incubator interviewed by the HireBee team. 

HireBee is leveraging technology to help small businesses and startups source and tap into the best global talent. We are making it possible for businesses to build their capacity, especially with recruitment automation, recruitment marketing, and candidate relationship management. Our many recruitment solutions help small businesses stand out from the crowd in the labor market, and virtually turn them into talent-magnets.   

Collaboration and teamwork

Moreover, remote working is encouraging more collaboration than ever before simply because employees are able to stay better connected. “While there can be challenges to working remotely, our teams prioritize communication. We use weekly meetings to check-in on progress and discuss questions, concerns, and upcoming projects,” said Berkeley Pharma Tech. 

Another organization we spoke to said, “The Sustainable Living Guide has values and a culture that is relational, co-creative, and caring. With the pandemic, we experienced both the opportunity and the responsibility to step deeper into these values.”

Remote working is encouraging more collaboration than ever before simply because employees are able to stay better connected. 

Revamping for the future 

Small businesses are making adjustments to navigate the pandemic. Businesses are using contactless deliveries to make services available online, asking employees to upgrade and learn skills to reflect new business models, adopting new revenue streams, adopting new technology processes, among others. Businesses are also able to maintain different communication channels and styles owing to the advent of platforms like Slack, Trello, and Zoom. Business owners and start-ups also often measure performance and work in a qualitative and impact-based manner, giving greater freedom and time for employees. 

Overall, the pandemic is a defining moment for many starts-ups and businesses. As the pace of technology and the war for talent only continues, small businesses and the spirit of entrepreneurship will only thrive. In a post-pandemic world, the workplace and its dynamics will look very different, a challenge small businesses are ready to face.

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How your Small Business Can Win Hiring without an HR Team

HR departments are critical for small businesses with growth ambitions in the long-term. However, small businesses might not have HR departments due to low growth ambitions and low employment. Regardless, not having an HR department shouldn’t hold you back from making the right hires. Here is how your small business can win hiring without an HR team.

Interestingly, making the right hires can be most important when the company is in its earlier growth stages, as wasting money and time on unsuccessful hires can really hamper business growth and set the company a few steps back. So how can small businesses without an HR department get out of this predicament? When there is no HR department yet making the right hires is extremely important? We believe the answer to this is automation and team collaboration!

Hiring Automation

How Automated Hiring Helps

It is estimated that 70% of small businesses in the US handle HR functions with unspecialized staff members. This is done alongside their main core responsibilities when necessary. These tasks can make up up to 13 hours a week for these businesses, and distract staff members from their core responsibilities. Usually it is the small business owners or administrative staff that take up these responsibilities.

What’s worse than having less time for your core responsibilities because of your peripheral responsibilities? Taking too much time on your peripheral responsibilities! Small businesses usually hire HR personnel when they realize they cannot handle HR functions with unspecialized employees anymore. Well, AI & automation can make recruitment before the introduction of an HR department a lot less straining than it is, and save you a boatload of time!

Tasks like candidate communication, candidate screening, reporting & analytics, filtering/searching and candidate profile creation & storage can all be made easier with recruitment software like HireBee. And the ease at which they can be implemented make it user-friendly for all users.

HireBee.AI: tool for smart and automated hiring.

How a Collaborative Recruitment Platform Helps

However amazing automated hiring is, at the end of the day, it is the human responsible for the decision-making. Simplifying and shortening the hiring process doesn’t necessarily mean making the right hires. Missing an HR department can translate to a flimsy decision-making process, with personal biases present and organizational fits not realized. 

This is why it may be a good idea to get some of the team involved, instead of delegating all responsibilities to yourself or another staff member not specialized for HR. Encourage other staff members to give their feedback on certain candidates. With a decision-making process based on multi-level feedback, you’ll be eliminating personal biases in your hiring and realizing more organizational fits with less pressure on sole individuals!

Sharing candidate profiles, leaving feedback on candidates with feedback forms, a specialized interface which makes the candidate database (that’s right, no spreadsheets) easily accessible and navigitable, in-house team communication and assigning user roles and permissions are some of the features which make team collaboration with HireBee super cosy and robust. Candidate profiles make it extremely easy to access relevant information and enable team collaboration on a case-by-case basis!

All in all, small businesses without an HR department will need to leverage technology for their hiring to ease the pressure on unspecialized staff, with automation and team collaboration being the key to success. And HireBee can enable just that, and ensure that your team stays winning on all fronts!

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Human Resources and People Networking Concept

Why You Should Use Recruitment Software in 2021

Recruitment software (or talent acquisition software) has increasingly become more popular as more and more people have realized its benefits. By the end of 2019, it was enumerated by Jobscan that 98.2% of the Fortune 500 companies use an applicant tracking system. Still, the practice isn’t as popular amongst smaller businesses, and a lot of this may be attributed to the fact that such businesses think that they have no need for such a system, perhaps due to the traditional association with such systems being exclusively catered towards big enterprises; sporadic and low-volume hiring; or simple unfamiliarity with or uninterest in the software. Today, we are here to make an argument for recruitment software by substantiating why you don’t need to think this way.

Why You Should No Longer Exclusively Associate Recruitment Software with Big Enterprises

Whilst it may not have been wrong to be under this assumption some time ago, when ATSs were a true novelty, and when cloud computing was underdeveloped, now, with cloud computing vastly improving, many new ATS vendors have appeared and offer scalable services for SMBs (small-to-medium businesses). In fact, many of the relatively modern recruitment software solutions explicitly target SMBs as their target market. Such ATS vendors include HireBee, Workable, Breezy HR, and many more. These vendors allow you to explore their free trial, which allows very limited job posting, so that you can empirically assess the features of the ATS, and understand whether this is an appropriate solution for your recruitment needs.

Why Sporadic and Low-Volume Hiring Shouldn’t Discourage You from Using Recruitment Software

The importance of HR shouldn’t be undermined, even in small businesses where the relationship within employees and between employers and employees may be more personalized and informal. Having an advanced and comprehensive recruitment strategy with the appropriate specialized tools will help ensure that you are capable of making the most optimal hiring decisions in a manner efficient for time and cost. Getting the right talent onboard can truly be invaluable for small businesses which use intrapreneurship to stimulate innovation, and delegate their staff to act more independently. 

Additionally, the amount of time saved by ATS due to their user interface being specialized for recruitment (unlike spreadsheets or other alternatives used to keep a database of resumes and candidates) and its many thoroughly designed features, which will only continue to become more optimal as the ATS market grows and becomes more competitive, can be leveraged by making urgent and hasty hires to realize temporary business opportunities, and simultaneously making the hire with sufficient data.

Why You Should Care

Well, now you may be thinking; okay, the ATS market has expanded and now its services are compatible with the needs of SMBs, but why should I care? Well, here’s why.

With recruitment software solutions, you can:

  • Have a centralized location for all things recruitment. With plentiful integrations and features, almost the entire recruitment process can be managed through the platform. Even if a specific ATS misses some functionality (which other ATSs may or may not have), you can request for this feature to be implemented.
  • In turn, have recruitment specialized data storage and data entry. With data storage specialized for recruitment, your talent pool can be kept in check and organized better, with information of candidates being easier to access with intuitive navigation through the database. Data entry specialization makes sourcing and manual insertions of candidates and other information about candidates easier.
  • Have searching, sorting and filtering capabilities, along with creating shortlists of candidates. The data inputted, or data parsed from the resume with resume parsers which the system may or may not have, can then be used to match the candidates’ data with your searches, filters and sorting fields. Additionally, you can screen candidates with knock-out questions, or have recommendations for the most qualified candidates according to the strength of matching of the required skills for the job and the candidates’ skills to weed out the irrelevant applications.
  • Maintain visibility of the entire recruitment process with data analytics & reports. Identify your best sources for candidates and assess your recruitment strategy with other interesting metrics. View your pipeline, with the number of applicants in each stage of the hiring process enumerated, to make sure no candidate is falling through the cracks.
  • Create workflows, complemented by email templates and triggers, to easily change status of applicants and keep them informed throughout the process with automated communication. Some ATS also offer integrated SMS communication.
  • Easily manage your job postings, with integrated job boards and social media postings. ATSs make job posting easy and faster with multi-posting.
  • Collaborate with your team with interview scorecards and feedback forms.

In conclusion, all of these benefits combine themselves to present you with a single key benefit for your organization: saving time and money on your investments into talent acquisition. Therefore, if it is in your agenda to invest into acquiring the best talent, it may be worth investing into recruitment software.

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