Part of a series about ideas for businesses to recruit and retain their workforce


We all know that hiring is difficult during this recovery and has impacted hours of operation as well as sales and profitability. Here are some hiring best practices that, if implemented, can help you develop a workforce to move your business forward.

Who are you?

Your company culture can set your business apart. Make sure your current employees are on board with your corporate culture and communicate to potential hires what that culture is.

What are your values, beliefs, and attitudes? How does your business participate in the community and with non-profit efforts? Do you encourage volunteerism? Employees want to be a part of something greater than themselves. Working for a company that is respected in the community is a source of pride.

What is your culture of learning? Perhaps your business lends itself to teaching from within - learning the trade from a professional. For example, a professionally trained culinary specialist might take time from running the kitchen to take one on one time with employees who seek further training. Perhaps an internship or apprenticeship program can lead to a stronger employee base, depending on your industry.

Shout out who you are – to prospective employees

With this tight labor market, your good marketing strategy that attracts new customers needs to be balanced with a marketing strategy to attract a full staff so that you can serve all your customers.

There is a lot of competition for the same employee, so your help wanted ads are really a marketing opportunity. Find ways to set your company apart from all the others searching for the same employees. Utilize your network, including staff referrals, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Indeed. Depending on the skills you are looking for, use your email list to get the word out. Customers who love you might just be your next best employees.

Sell your company through your help wanted ads:

  • Always be consistent in your messaging.
  • Include mention of competitive wages and great working conditions, but these are standard and do not set you apart.
  • Talk about your company culture, and what makes you a step above.
  • Use strong keywords, such as mentoring, knowledge transfer, and collaborative environment.
  • Mention your community involvement.


Having a full staff will often create better customer service, shorter wait times, fewer backorders, and more inventory control. One of our current labor shortage results is an upward trend in wages, so understanding your budget when hiring is very important.

You should be ahead of the curve and try to pay more than your competition. To cover that adjustment, understanding the elasticity of your selling prices has a lot of value. Can you increase some of your “non-commodity” items to pay for a higher labor rate? Efficiencies can set you apart from your competition because your company can now deliver as promised as opposed to your understaffed competition.

One common misconception for retail and restaurants is that it is less expensive to close certain days of the week or times of the day than to pay more in wages to ensure hiring and retaining staff. We are all finding restaurants that are closed some days because they cannot find help. Paying a little more in wages and opening your full hours that have demand can make you money. Simply being open can set you apart from your competition. If you are one of the few restaurants in the area that are open 7 days a week, more traffic will be directed to your business during the slower days. This opportunity to attract customers helps you to build on your customer base by focusing on your ability to provide excellence once the company is fully staffed and trained.  

Retention Bonuses

Discussed a great deal recently, paying retention bonuses can be a part of an effective hiring strategy in today’s environment. The bonus should be set to a period during which they are employed with the company, for example, 90 days. By the end of three months, assuming the company can execute some of the strategies discussed, the employee will be trained and ready to stay with the company. For a full-time employee, a retention bonus can be $250 - $500, with part-time workers receiving a percentage of that amount depending on the hours they work. Try creating an employees’ referral bonus plan for referred and retained hires in good standing, with a 90-day timeline. Or, offer a sought-after consumer item as a retention bonus. This could be a new laptop, tablet, or any other technology with a reasonable price tag.

Next Steps

NH Small Business Development Center’s business advisors can offer your business confidential, individualized advice on hiring during these challenging times at no cost. NH SBDC is the leading resource for business advising and education for small to medium businesses in the Granite State. Work one-on-one with one of our business advisors to develop hiring strategies and other management solutions.

Hiring and retention is not a new business problem, however, the workforce shortage is being felt keenly across the country at this time. Be proactive. It will have a long-term positive impact on your business.


Business Advisor
Phone: Office (603) 862-2200
Office: UNH Peter T. Paul College of Business & Economics 10 Garrison Avenue, #265B Durham, NH 03824