Best Practices for Recruiting and Retaining Employees in the Post-COVID Economy

The Virginia SBDC Network curated these suggestions and approaches to support employers as they navigate through the challenges of recruiting and retaining employees as the economy reopens.

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Job Posting and Hiring

Emphasize company values and culture

Promote to underemployed populations – ie: retirees, military spouses, caregivers, college students/recent graduates, individuals with disabilities

Include the wage/salary, benefits and job duties in the job advertisement

Highlight flexibility (ie: hours, work from home)

Offer time-delayed signing bonus and other one-time incentives

Offer competitive salary/wages and benefits

Evaluate your interview questions and communication style


Employee Retention

Provide competitive salary/wages

Contribute toward employee benefits

Offer a referral bonus for successful hires

Define a career path to incentivize long-term work, provide on-the-job training, and other personal growth tools

Substitute salary with non-cash reimbursement that can be written off as business expenses, such as: phone credit; travel credit; health and wellness credit

Provide employees the tools they need to do their work. 

Ensure good and open communication (vertical and horizontal) across the organization

Re-evaluate the people managers and train them to be effective at leading employees (one of the top reasons people quit jobs is a bad boss)

Value the employees; they are the ones who will make the company successful. 

Be inclusive and solicit and value input and ideas from everybody in the company.  Many times, the best ideas come from those closest to the customer (and usually at the lower level of the company hierarchy)

Offshoring and outsourcing work impacts morale and results in turnover

Offshore wages cannot/should not be used as a guide for domestic pay (I have seen this at some startups). 

Company leadership personalities, egos, transparency can drive people away. 

Establish formal and informal employee mentoring, to help with personal and professional growth

Provide timely feedback for an employee’s performance 

Open door policy for the discussion of work place issues

Consider a bonus for current employees to recruit employees that stay at least 6 months. Good people typically have wide circle of friends


Business Model (SBDC Tools and Resources)

Leverage resources, ie: tax credits, job training incentives (Virginia Career Readiness Center, VEC)

Analyze financials for cost savings or new revenues to off-set increase in personnel costs (GrowthWheel sheets, Profit Cents analysis)

Move business model toward high revenue streams (GrowthWheel sheets, Profit Cents Analysis)

Understand local hiring conditions and competition (Virginia Career Readiness Center; VEC)

Understand industry trends (SBDCNet and IBISWorld industry research)

Communicate with consumers and pass along costs as a Fair Wage Fee 

Additional Resources

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