19 Things You Need to Know About Finding and Keeping Talented Workers

Finding and hiring talented staff is an eternal issue for small business owners. To help alleviate that challenge, members of COSE’s Strategic Planning Course gathered recently for a roundtable discussion on some of the things entrepreneurs should keep in mind as they dip into the talent pool and also try to retain the staff they already have. Following are 19 takeaways from that discussion. 

Finding and hiring talented staff is an eternal issue for small business owners. To help alleviate that challenge, members of COSE’s Strategic Planning Course gathered recently for a roundtable discussion on some of the things entrepreneurs should keep in mind as they dip into the talent pool and also try to retain the staff they already have. Following are 19 takeaways from that discussion.

1. Identify the type of candidate you want.

2. Prior to beginning your hiring search, ask such qualifying questions as: What kind of culture am I trying to build? And does this person need to be an Internet whiz?

3. Are there people already working in your organization who might be able to refer a potential candidate?

4. Job boards such as Indeed and Career Board can be great resources.

5. Think back to what you did the last time you had to hire. What worked? What didn’t?

6. How do you acquire customers? Consider utilizing that same strategy to finding good employees. Just like potential customers might be doing business with someone else, your next potential hire might be working for someone else right now. Put yourself out there and go after that person, even if they’re employed.

7. Know what you want and know what you’re willing to give up to get what you want.

8. Related to No. 7, prioritize what you want and what’s most important to you and this job you’re trying to fill.

9. Don’t wait until you have a need to begin thinking about all this stuff. You should always be recruiting ahead of a need. Keep the relationships going with the people you interact with. You never know when you might be calling on them again.

10. Looking to entice millennials to your workplace? Think about what they want out of a job, such as telecommuting opportunities and a fun workplace culture.

11. Something to keep in mind if you have millennials already working in your office: Often times, this group of people feel the best way to get a bigger jump in pay is by going to a new employer.

12. One more thing about millennials: There is no fear factor with this group. They feel they can find a job quickly if need be.

13. Excessive turnover in your business can cause current employees to leave as well. For example, if you have trainers on your staff who are constantly training new hires, they can get burned out and then they could leave, too.

14. When you move into hiring mode, look closely at the resume of the candidate. Are there a lot of “two-year-and-out” jobs listed? That might be a red flag.

15. Turnover is not necessarily a bad thing. Some churn can be good because it can infuse your business with new ideas and a fresh perspective.

16. Word of mouth works. People know people, who know people, who know people, who knows someone who would be a fantastic fit for the job you have available.

17. Leverage LinkedIn. Find employees who have profiles similar to the people already working at your business. Again, even though these people might already be employed elsewhere or even if you don’t have a job opening at the current time. It will at least build the pool of people you have to go from when you do have something to offer.

18. Remember to tell your employees thank you. Be genuine. If someone gets a project done on time, or if they do a good job handling a customer, recognize them. And give them a specific reason why you’re thanking them.

19. Keep work/life balance in mind. For some employees, that can be more important than a raise.


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  • Next up: 2019 Cleveland Internship Summit Preview: How to Expand from Inclusion to True Diversity
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  • 2019 Cleveland Internship Summit Preview: How to Expand from Inclusion to True Diversity

    In the lead up to the 2019 Cleveland Internship Summit on Feb. 21, we are previewing some of the sessions taking place at this year's event. Today's article focuses on how to create a truly diverse internship program.

    The new generation of potential job candidates who are emerging on the scene are looking for organizations that stand for more than only making a profit, says Camila Negret, Midwest Diversity & Inclusion Leader in PwC’s Cleveland office. Rather, they want to work for organizations with a higher sense of purpose, which includes organizations that embrace the value of diversity & inclusion.

    With that in mind, it’s important that companies create a sense of belonging for all of their staff, which extends to the company’s internship program, said Negret, who will go into more detail on this subject during a session at the 2019 Cleveland Internship Summit, taking place Feb. 21 at Corporate College East from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

    In the days leading up to the Summit, we sat down with Negret to talk more about diversity within organizations, why it’s important, and what takeaways attendees will walk away from her session with. Here’s what she had to say:

    Diversity vs. inclusion

    While they might sound similar, Negret said there is a difference between diversity and true inclusion within an organization. “Diversity is a state of being”,” she explained. “Inclusion requires action and engagement.”

    Further, she said diversity is an acknowledgement of who do we want at the table and who is currently represented. Inclusion, on the other hand, moves closer to the creation of a sense of belonging for all people and giving everyone on your staff the permission and confidence to be themselves.

    Inclusion benefits

    As mentioned above, one of the most obvious benefits of an inclusive work environment is it can help companies attract qualified talent who will help the business succeed.

    Beyond that, Negret said, another impact of an inclusive culture is that when it creates an environment that is safe and comfortable for all, that kind of environment is conducive to business benefits such as innovation, creativity, best practices and accelerated learning and development for employees.

    Session takeaways

    Negret said her goal for the session is to make it a practical conversation and arm attendees with no-cost resources that they can take back to their own organization.

    For example, one such resource Negret plans to mention is the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion, an organization of business leaders seeking to advance diversity within the workplace. She will also touch on the “I Act On” pledge and why that pledge should matter to your business. 

    Learn more about this topic, as well as other ways to build and improve the internship program at your company, at the 2019 Cleveland Internship Summit on Feb. 21. Click here to learn more and register.

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  • Next up: 3 Key Differentiators of COSE’s New Health Benefit Option That You Need to Know
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  • 3 Key Differentiators of COSE’s New Health Benefit Option That You Need to Know

    The COSE Health and Wellness Trust is a unique benefit option for small business owners. Learn about some of the features of the plan that helps sets The Trust apart from others on the market.

    You’ve already learned how COSE’s new benefit option—The COSE Health and Wellness Trust—has a number of benefits available to COSE members who participate. We’ve also provided you with a general overview of the plan and its features. But you might have lingering questions about how the plan works.

    Here’s a more detailed look at three ways the COSE Health and Wellness Trust, a multiple employer welfare arrangement or MEWA, stands out from other benefit options.

    • The plan is self-funded. This means The Trust can offer rate stability, flexible benefit options (including both health savings accounts and health reimbursement accounts), and recognition of preferred health status.
    • Costs are kept low. Costs associated with The Trust are kept low because MEWAs are not subject to some of the Affordable Care Act’s mandated benefits and taxes. In many ways, The Trust acts as if it were more like a large company insurance plan.
    • Regulated and protected. The Trust is regulated by the Ohio Department of Insurance. These state regulators monitor the COSE MEWA to ensure appropriate surplus is available to cover unforeseen risk and protect its solvency. The COSE MEWA also maintains stop-loss insurance coverage to provide additional protection to plan participants.

    For more information on how COSE’s new benefit option stands apart, watch this video of Dan Polk of Medical Mutual, COSE’s longtime health insurance partner, explain why The Trust may be a good fit for your business.

    Learn more at CoseMEWA.com

    And for a deeper dive into how the COSE MEWA works and why it may be the right plan for you and your business, access all the information you need on our education page at www.cosemewa.com. Here  you can view videos, access frequently asked questions, view plans and additional information that will help you make an informed and easy decision for your business.

    For more information, contact the COSE Benefits Team at Medical Mutual at 440-878-5930. Or email the team at cosebenefits@medmutual.com.

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  • Next up: 3 Steps Employers Must Take When Engaging in the Interactive ADA Process
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  • 3 Steps Employers Must Take When Engaging in the Interactive ADA Process

    Here are three things to keep in mind when responding to requests for extended leave that will help your business avoid unnecessary legal proceedings and costs.

    Employment and labor relations attorneys across the country took notice when the U.S. Supreme Court recently decided not to review an appellate court decision regarding leave of absence from work. The appellate court held that a leave of absence lasting several months is not a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). A reasonable accommodation is defined as a change to an employee’s job duties that allows an employee with disabilities to perform his/her job. That decision came from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin.

    The plaintiff in Severson v. Heartland Woodcraft, Inc. requested that the Supreme Court decide whether a finite leave of absence of more than one month is a reasonable accommodation under the ADA. Mr. Severson had taken a 12-week leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to deal with serious back pain. At the end of the 12-week FMLA period, he had back surgery and told his employer that he could not work for an additional two to three months while he recovered. The employer denied his request and later terminated his employment. Mr. Severson brought suit against his employer, alleging that they had violated the ADA by failing to grant the additional leave as a reasonable accommodation. The trial court granted the employer’s motion for summary judgment, which is a judgment entered by the court without a full trial. The Seventh Circuit affirmed that ruling, reasoning that an extended medical leave would not assist Mr. Severson in performing his job, but would actually keep him from working. 

    RELATED: Check out other articles by the legal team at Walter | Haverfield by clicking here.
    When the plaintiff requested that the Supreme Court hear the case and express its opinion on the issue, the court declined. Without the Supreme Court weighing in, there is contradictory authority depending on the employer’s jurisdiction. Outside the Seventh Circuit, multiple courts of appeals (including the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) have held that a finite leave of absence can be a reasonable accommodation under the ADA. Further, the EEOC has even indicated that placing a limit on the amount of leave to which an employee is entitled is a violation of the ADA.  

    Without the Supreme Court's input or consistent guidance on the issue, employers should always engage in the ADA interactive process with employees to evaluate possible reasonable accommodations, including finite leaves of absence. Here are three key recommendations for employers to follow when responding to requests for extended leave:

    Recommendation No. 1
    Consider all laws, regulations and policies that may apply to the request. The ADA, FMLA, state and local laws may operate to provide leave for the employee.  Additionally, check your handbooks and policies to see if the leave request fits into any of your company’s leave provisions. 

    Recommendation No. 2 

    Talk it through. Explore whether another accommodation, such as a revised work schedule or frequent breaks, would allow the employee to perform the essential functions of his/her position.

    Recommendation No. 3
    When in doubt, consult an attorney.  Determining whether any request, including a leave of absence, is a reasonable accommodation can be complicated, and requires consideration of many factors. 

    Following these recommendations will help employees receive required reasonable accommodations under the law. They will also help employers avoid unnecessary legal proceedings and expense.

    Rina Russo is an attorney with Walter | Haverfield’s Labor & Employment Services practice group. She can be reached at 216-928-2928 or at rrusso@walterhav.com.

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  • Next up: 3 Steps to grow and improve your business in the new year
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  • 3 Steps to grow and improve your business in the new year


    A new year means new business goals and exciting opportunities to take a business to the next level. Business owners have a chance to evaluate where their business is, how they want to grow and then put a plan together to achieve their objectives. It’s important to establish a plan to attack the market in the coming year and to re-evaluate and adjust that plan when circumstances change. Sometimes that process is aided by getting the input of key business partners, like your banker.

    Business owners who put together a plan, execute that plan and find ways to work successfully with partners should be able to leverage favorable market conditions to grow their business.

    Kurt Kappa, chief lending officer at First Federal Lakewood, shares three steps they can take to get started. 

    1. What financing opportunities should business owners consider and/or potentially act on in the new year? 

    When exploring financing opportunities for the new year, there are two areas business owners may want to consider — their current cash position as well as utilizing debt. 

    Businesses should look at their cash position and how it sets them up for future growth, and keep in mind that it’s possible to fund growth via loans or lines of credit instead of cash. If a company is cash positive at the moment, it is a good time to talk with your banker about tapping into a working line of credit.

    However, depending on the economy and if debt is inexpensive, it may be a good time to fund a business expansion, whether that’s through organic growth or through acquisitions. When it comes to the latter, inexpensive debt can be used to help fund an acquisition, but the high company valuations might mean it will take buyers time to find the right opportunity. 

    2. What unique opportunities or conditions exist in the market and how could they affect a business? 

    Many businesses are entering succession planning and ownership transition periods. This is mostly because baby boomers who are in leadership or ownership positions have reached an age where they are looking to transition, either through succession planning or through a sale. For these owners, now is a good time to really evaluate which path is best: a sale of the business or by growing and bringing on other team members to run the business in their place. 

    3. What conversations should business owners have with their bankers this year to get the most out of the new year?

    Business owners should talk with their banker about all that is happening, and what they would like to happen, with their business — what their growth objectives are, what could hold back their growth and how they can navigate those obstacles to achieve their goals. 

    It’s common for business owners to get so caught up in running the day-to-day operations of their business that they often struggle to step back and take a bigger picture look at the organization and where it should be headed. Taking some time to talk with a banker can create the opportunity to have an in-depth conversation about the strategic vision, get some outside perspective on how they and their organization are currently set up to achieve it and build accountability into the plan.

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  • Next up: 3 Things to Know: Employment Law
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  • 3 Things to Know: Employment Law

    Correct classification, smart use of business tools and dealing with workplace misconduct—as a business owner, there’s a lot to know when it comes to employment law. We’re looking back at some of the articles that touched on this topic from Mind Your Business.

    We’ve written a lot about employment law and covered a variety of related topics. Here are three things we think you need to know.

    The first thing you need to know: Correct classification is crucial. Misclassifying employees can be pricey with taxes and penalties that can add up. One common misclassification is treating contractors as employees. Be aware of the distinctions between your employees and your independent contractors. Another step in avoiding major lawsuits and other costs is to understand the differences between exempt and nonexempt employees as laid out in the Fair Labor Standards Act. And, here are 10 things you should know about mitigating exposure to employment-related lawsuits.

    The second thing you need to know: Be smart with your business tools. There are many forms, contracts and other tools that are helpful to your business—if you use them correctly. Non-compete and non-disclosure agreements are often regarded in the same light, but you’ll want to know the differences in how they work and why they are important. If you feel overwhelmed when it comes to the many different types of employment contracts, agreements and lingo, join us as we take this deep dive into the 13 essential employment contract provisions.

    The third thing you need to know: Dealing with workplace misconduct is part of the gig. Ideally, you’ll have pretty good success at keeping the peace in your workplace. But in the event that you find yourself in a sticky situation, here are some guidelines for dealing with employee misconduct. If a sticky situation escalates to something more intense, be sure to know when, where and how to conduct employee workplace searches. And no matter what kinds of situations arise, as a business owner it’s necessary to know the limitations of employment at will.

    Join us for BizConCLE 2018 on Nov. 1 as we offer workshops that delve into such topics as the top 10 HR mistakes to avoid and much more. Click here to learn more and register.

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