For the average small business owner, wearing multiple hats is just a part of the job — but in 2020 those hats multiplied exponentially. Business owners and managers abruptly took on the roles of counselor, risk-mitigation consultant, ethics director and health expert. Employees have also found themselves taking on more — some became teachers, while others adjusted to working from home, and many became more isolated and in some cases were given a new title, frontline worker. 

If you’ve made it this far, give yourself a pat on the back. With all these new roles and responsibilities, how do you keep your business running efficiently while also hiring top talent and retaining your employees? 

There’s no blueprint for 2021, so while we can’t predict what might happen next, we can help you stay one step ahead with actionable insights, data, tips and inspiration to motivate you as you push through your last online meeting or sanitize that final plexiglass shield. 



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Building a strong team in uncertain times

The relationships you have with your staff can mean the difference between success and failure. Below, we’ve highlighted a few ways to create an emotional connection and encourage people to rally behind their purpose at work.

Let employees weigh in

  • The challenge: Whether your workplace is fully or partially remote or serves as an essential business, your employees likely have differing expectations about the future of “the office.”

  • The solution: Surveying employees about their preferences for work as the vaccine is rolled out can help you better understand their needs (and concerns). Be it working from home, eventually returning to the office, working in the back office or limiting public interaction in small ways, you can signal your commitment to prioritizing employee happiness and well-being as you plan for the future through anonymous surveys or in-person check-ins.

Avoid employee burnout

  • The challenge: No matter the workplace, chances are everyone is feeling a heightened level of stress. Every business has constraints — you may have limited capacity for granting time off, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have options.

  • The solution: The average check-in is no longer just a chance to review business hurdles and needs. Employees have now been living in this strange reality of uncertainty and ambiguity for over a year. Consider setting aside time weekly or monthly to actively listen to the needs of your employees. To alleviate stress try setting a mandatory break schedule, or think about offering a few extra days off throughout the next year. Perhaps most importantly, acknowledge that life is going to happen — the dog may bark, kiddos may pop in with questions, people may find themselves shedding a tear when normally they wouldn’t. Leveling with the people you work with and providing everyone in the workplace with a new set of norms can allow them to relax, increasing productivity.

Embrace empathy in your daily routine

  • The challenge: Parents have become teachers and full-time caregivers, and single  employees are now more socially isolated than ever. Even some of the more extroverted among us may be feeling drained by online interactions and health concerns. Avoiding employee churn during this time may involve some major change.

  • The solution: Try not to obsess over small details; instead, focus on reasonable goals, deadlines and deliverables. Most small businesses don’t have the option of  eliminating the need to get things done, but setting a consistent working schedule for parents or giving office employees staggered lunch breaks with people they’ve bonded with at work can be lifelines when employees need them most. These may seem like small efforts, but the gesture alone can mean a lot to someone in need. Loyalty is cultivated in these moments where genuine empathy is extended.

Be your true self

  • The challenge: Being a strong leader can look different depending on your business, but the line between work and life has thinned during the pandemic. Employees who feel distant from their managers can shut down or suppress frustration, leading to churn and reduced productivity.

  • The solution: Sharing your struggles and resiliency in an authentic way can allow your employees to share their own experiences. Giving people the platform to discuss their worries and concerns and share their needs can help you form a stronger bond. While in-office culture may seem unattainable and tried-and-true methods of celebrating birthdays or honoring a milestone in person have been reduced to emails or Zoom meetings, sharing your own experience can reinforce your commitment to returning to a place where a truer, deeper culture of camaraderie can be established.

Looking for more? Check out: Finding (and Keeping) Top Talent in Uncertain Times

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Indeed goes to the Super Bowl

This year, Indeed played an ad during the Super Bowl. Featuring Christian Shelton, a 19-year-old up-and-coming musician who sings "Rise Up," the commercial is a reminder that, while the pandemic continues to impact jobs and the economy, there are still companies hiring. 

Indeed is here to help all job seekers, no matter their background or experience, and we’re here to help the people who hire. By welcoming all job seekers, we hope to help you find the talent you need, no matter the role.

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By the numbers:

Significant stats from Indeed to help you understand what employees like yours might be feeling.

We surveyed 804 employees from a variety of sectors and job levels around the U.S. in November 2020 to get a read on how job seekers are feeling during the pandemic. Here’s what they told us:

Want to know more? Read the full report: Annual Confidence Index: The Impact of COVID-19 on Worker Confidence

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Looking for new talent

Every entrepreneur knows it takes courage to build an authentic business and stay true to your core values. You need a hiring partner that can support you because each person matters tremendously. Here are some tips for hiring in the here and now. 

3 Ways to Reinvent Your Hiring Strategy to Support Work’s New Realities:

Finding candidates with the right skills to push your business forward every day

1. Consider the possibilities 

  • Above we talked about the future of the workplace; this is also something to consider when it comes to attracting talent. Depending on where you’re located, your offer might be more attractive if you're willing to let someone work remotely. Adjusting to a fully or partially remote workplace has opened the door for a new way of working. Some occupations lend themselves to being fully remote, allowing you to recruit from a much broader pool of candidates. While salaries might vary based on employee location — or become uniform across all places — it’s easy to see how in some circumstances remote work could be in your favor.

2. Use virtual hiring to your benefit

  • Video calls are becoming more common when hiring. Unlike the average meeting, screening candidates and conducting interviews is a unique experience. Indeed provides a solution that can support candidate management and allow you to easily connect and take notes in one place. The goal is to simplify the process of scheduling, connecting and providing you with templated questions that make interviewing easier.  Learn more about our virtual hiring solution..

3. Open up your talent pool 

  • Is your company launching new projects? Are you shifting to serve demand?  Are you known for your culture of inclusivity? Candidates who are looking for forward-thinking companies may be intrigued by your entrepreneurial spirit or their opportunity to help shape the company culture. Be sure to highlight the traits that make your company unique. At a time when a number of companies are in maintenance mode or have paused hiring, workers entering the market or passively looking might be more open to hearing from those who can enable them to make a move. 

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“People Geek” Nicole Davidson on hiring rocket scientists (and more)

Workplace culture is changing. Job seekers are looking for mission-driven companies and diverse perspectives. Learn the inside secrets behind finding, hiring and retaining the best talent out there from Nicole Davidson, Recruiter and Retention Specialist on our “Behind the Talent” podcast.

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They can’t all be good days, and the last year had a lot of not-so-great ones. Everyone needs a boost every once in a while, so we’re sharing some of the recent moments that made us hopeful for the future and inspired us to dig deep.

An optimistic future:

If there’s one takeaway from 2020, it’s that we become stronger and more resilient when we work together. Empathy and acceptance are increasingly important pillars of workplace culture. We’ve taken a look at some of the changes that occurred this past year and outlined the more optimistic outcomes and best practices moving forward. 

Learn more about how business owners, managers and employees are moving forward together in our 2021 Forecast: A Look at Employer Optimism 

Getting creative:

We often talk about creativity as if it’s an innate quality: You have it, or you don’t. We think that creative innovations, whether technological, artistic or scientific, only come to the chosen people in moments of inspiration, and the rest of us are out of luck. But is this true? 

Entrepreneur and author Allen Gannett says otherwise. In his “The Creative Curve: How to Come Up with the Right Idea at the Right Time,” Gannett argues that, given the right tools and knowledge, we can all learn creativity — as well as when the time is right to share our ideas with the world. Check out our interview with Gannett to learn how creativity can be fostered individually and at work to inspire innovation. 

Powerful TED talk:

How do you effect change? Luvvie Ajayi Jones is the queen of speaking up and encouraging people to do better. Her inspiring journey to “being the domino” has motivated us to follow suit and make change happen. Learn more about facing fear and actively pursuing what fulfills you by watching her TED talk.

Get comfortable with being uncomfortable with Luvvie Ajayi Jones

Photo: Luvvie Ajayi

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