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Midstate small businesses share creative ways to recruit, retain employees

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Allowing office pets, creating an alumni club and jazzing up job descriptions to hook millennials are among the creative ways small businesses in the midstate are recruiting and retaining workers, according to the CPBJ Small Business Activity Index for Q3.

The index is a quarterly measure of conditions and expectations for Central Pennsylvania's small-business community. Responses for the third-quarter index were collected between July 5 and July 14 from representatives of 67 small businesses.

One business admitted recruitment and retaining strategies are works in progress.

“Still working on that one. We’ve been inviting the local schools and tech schools to our facility.”

Another business aims to go above just offering a competitive salary.

“Offer more of everything than anyone else in our industries but not on salary. It is not the end-all be-all motivator.”

Here are other responses collected in the survey:

  • “That has never been an issue for us. By providing a good working environment and providing benefits, we have been fortunate to not have a high employee turnover.”
  • “Offered flexibility in the workplace - hours, dress, office pets, office events.”
  • “We hire only based on referrals and reward those who bring on qualified people.”
  • “Began an Alumni Club.’”
  • “Offer complete schedule flexibility within meeting client needs.”
  • “Writing unique job descriptions to appeal to millennials.”
  • “Lunch and learns. Bring in outside speakers to address all staff on key things that affect them health issues, retirement, Microsoft Suite training, etc.”

Those unconventional techniques could prove useful in the coming months, as the surveyed businesses are amping up their plans to hire workers for the second half of 2017.

Nearly two thirds of small businesses surveyed, or 65.7 percent, expect to add workers over the next six months, up from 48.4 percent who expected the same during the second-quarter index, published in April.

Nearly three quarters, or 73.8 percent, had less than 50 employees. The remainder had between 50 and 100 employees.

Cumberland County accounted for a quarter of the responses, at 25.4 percent, followed by Lancaster County at 23.1 percent. York County made up 17.7 percent, Dauphin was 16.4 percent and “other” was 17.9 percent.

See the rest of the survey results in the slideshow below.

The next survey will take place in September, with results to be published in October. If you are interested in taking part, email The index serves as a snapshot of confidence and an indicator of the local economy’s future direction.


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Fake It Till You Make It September 14, 2017 12:50 pm