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How Entrepreneurs Can Find Great Talent Despite a Labor Shortage Having the right team in place is essential to running a successful small business.

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According to analysts at Goldman Sachs, we are currently in the middle of the worst labor shortage in over 80 years. With 4.6 million more jobs than workers, companies are struggling to keep their roles filled.

For entrepreneurs and small businesses, this is even more critical. Missing just one member on a small team can have a huge impact. The challenge is that entrepreneurs are up against major corporations with larger budgets, skilled recruitment teams and impressive benefits packages. The great news is that a little creativity can significantly improve your ability to compete against larger companies.

1. Remote working

With the pandemic subsiding, more and more companies are looking to get their workers back into the office. For many workers, this is an unpopular idea. Throughout the pandemic, employees used remote work as a way to find a better work-life balance. That balance was difficult to achieve working from a company's physical location.

Employees who want to retain this perk may be on the lookout for companies that are more open to the idea of permanent remote work. By offering remote work opportunities, you can stand apart from the competition. This is also a win-win for entrepreneurs because they won't have to pay for additional office space.

Related: Is the 4-Day Work Week Better? Evidence Points to Yes.

2. Hire third-party resources

In many cases, you don't need full-time employees to get the work done. The pandemic has opened the door for the new gig economy. Workers provide their services directly to employers on a freelance basis instead of accepting permanent employment.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 36 percent of the U.S. workforce provides freelancing services on a full- or part-time basis. This way of working benefits workers because they aren't relying on just one company for their financial security. For entrepreneurs, this presents the opportunity to secure high-quality, professional services at a lower cost since you won't need to pay for things like insurance or other benefits.

Related: How the Rise of the Gig Economy Influences the Workforce

3. Offer unique benefits

Offering competitive salaries in a tough labor market is a must. If your pay is competitive, you may have to look for other perks to attract workers. Most major corporations have generic benefits packages that can be applied to the largest number of people. Entrepreneurs and small businesses owners have more liberty and flexibility to create their own unique benefit packages.

Don't be afraid to think outside the box. Unique benefits could include things like pet insurance (or a pet-friendly office), paid sabbaticals after so many years of service, financial literacy programs, grocery delivery services and vacation travel reimbursement.

4. Leverage temps and interns

Companies often overlook candidates with less experience. That means that they are likely missing out on employees that have long-term potential. By taking a chance on a temp or intern, you will gain an employee who will be grateful for the opportunity and in turn likely be loyal. A word of caution: you should plan to spend a little more time and effort evaluating their skills through the interview process.

5. Waive formal education requirements

Today, 65 percent of positions require some form of college education as a job requirement. Some experts question whether candidates with college degrees are actually more effective in certain types of roles. In many cases, candidates without a formal degree, but substantial real-world experience, may be the better option. By eliminating the education requirement from your job posting, you will increase the pool of potential candidates. And, increase the odds of finding the right person for the job.

Related: Does a College Degree Still Matter?

6. Encourage employee referrals

Employee referrals are a great way to fill open positions within your business. People are usually happy to refer others that they know have good work ethics and would fit within the company culture. Referred candidates also typically have a better understanding of the job responsibilities and company culture before they even apply. To be effective, you may have to offer employees a small bonus or another perk (like additional vacation days) for these referrals.

7. Continuously look for talent

Many companies only look for new talent when they have an open position. With as much movement as there is in the current job market, you never know when one of your employees might leave. It's great to have a shortlist of strong candidates immediately in mind if this happens. This will help shorten the hiring process and beat other companies to make an offer. However, be careful not to waste the candidate's time with numerous interviews unless you actually have a position available.

8. Highlight career growth

For many employees, career growth and personal development are important. They want to know that companies not only offer a job but a career path. If your company has a structured career path or advancement opportunities, highlight that in your job postings and interviews. For example, if you are looking to hire a project assistant. You might mention that your goal is to find a great person who can be trained to eventually be promoted into a project manager role.

Make no mistake, having the best team you can is vital to business growth. Your product/service quality and customer relationships can only be kept at the highest levels if you have the best team.

Nicholas Leighton

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

Best-selling author, speaker & business owner executive coach

Nick Leighton believes that business owners should make more money and have more free time. He does this through his best-selling book "Exactly Where You Want to Be – A Business Owner’s Guide to Passion, Profit and Happiness," speaking and coaching. #ChampagneMoment.

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