The top hiring challenges small and medium businesses face today

Posted Sep 6, 2013 by David Silverberg
From inspiring a lax sales team to running strategic training programs, many challenges can hamper the growth of a small- or medium-sized business. Learn how to identify the main issues and what do to get over these humps.
A photo of Startup Weekend in Phoenix
A photo of Startup Weekend in Phoenix
Via flickr user curtm95
It's not easy being an SME looking to hire the best talent, to misquote Kermit. Financial hurdles could force CEOs to scale back on boosting salaries for new hires, and HR managers could be concerned about where to find the top staff.
Not to mention, soft domestic demand has slowed the pace of hiring in recent months in Canada and is expected to continue to limit hiring in the near term, says a report released Thursday by the Conference Board of Canada, according to media reports. Still, growing companies need to energize their workforce with passionate and determined workers.
Among the many hiring challenges indundating businesses, which ones are the most concerning? We look at what several experts are saying about the many tests enpreneuers face daily.

Small- to Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs), tell us how you handle hiring challenges. Which strategies work best for you? How have you found your dream candidates? Please comment or fill out the poll below and let us know!

Sales is top of mind for many SMEs, and a lacklustre sales team can be dead weight on an otherwise booming business. Matthew Cook writes in Profit how CRM software can help track sales people to make them more productive. "It organizes opportunities, accounts, leads and where they all are in the sales pipeline...The CRM is a warehouse for all sorts of data points on your customers. Data that can be used by your sales team to help determine who they should be speaking to each day," he writes.
Acquiring a steady stream of leads is essential in keeping a sales team hungry. "By implementing an inbound marketing strategy where you leverage your web assets (website, white papers, blogs, case studies) to drive traffic to your website and convert visitors to leads," Cook adds.
Once a CEO decides solid talent is required to elevate the business to the next level, what then? Hiring Boomers is an option that could be beneficial, considering the experience someone in their 40s or 50s can bring to the team. Consider the contacts and networking a Boomer may have acquired over the years, as this article states.
Then again, in some markets the age gap between buyers and sellers is something companies need to consider.
Savvy SMBs will realize placing the ad and conducting the job interviews are only half the hiring story. Reeling in quality talent means running a training program to best harness the professionals newly added to the team.
"Specific job training should come primarily from the workplace, building on the broad educational foundation developed through the university experience," writes Max Blouw in the Globe and Mail.
Training new employees will cultivate an atmosphere of driving the business towards its mission, in turn inspiring staff to focus on their specific responsibilities without being mired in confusion. Experienced training professionals could act as mentors long after the program is over; and didn't we all benefit from having someone to clarify situations we dare not bother The Boss about during his lunch hour?