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10 Tips to Help You Pick Your Next Great Employee

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In its recent monthly jobs report, the National Federation of Independent Businesses revealed what many small businesses already know: finding quality labor is a challenge.

In fact, the report noted that filling open positions is the single largest issue facing small firms. Nearly one-quarter of owners said the worker shortage is affecting their ability to fill open positions and limiting their ability to grow.

Among the respondents, 46% said they were unable to fill job openings in September. That brings the number of unfilled job openings to a historic high.

While finding the next great employees may seem futile, it is not impossible. Contrary to popular belief, there are qualified candidates in the market. It’s just a matter of knowing where to find them and capturing their interest in a compelling way.

Sourcing talent requires a strategy and creativity that reaches beyond posting positions online and praying for a rush of candidates to apply. A more effective approach is to unearth passive candidates who may not be looking for a career move but would entertain the right position. That means searching for high-performing individuals through trade associations, events, universities and even those who may be working in another industry but whose skills are applicable to the open position.

Related: How Entrepreneurs Can Find Great Talent Despite a Labor Shortage

Here are some proven ways to re-energize your recruitment process and unearth candidates with the skills and passion for your business:

1. Revisit your company’s mission and values to use as selling points in attracting talent

As a business owner or department leader, you undoubtedly are familiar with your company’s mission. But do you understand what separates your firm from others in your industry? That is, does your company have a unique product or service, a nurturing culture or a penchant for giving back to the community? Use this information to craft a compelling company story that will pique the interest of job-seekers and passive candidates alike.

2. Audit your brand to find out what others are saying about you on popular websites and social media platforms

Shoring up your reputation with positive reviews from current and past employees and customers will go a long way in selling a position to a potential new employee.

3. Put yourself in the candidate’s shoes

Why would someone want to work in this role? What are the opportunities for advancement (a key consideration for job candidates)? In what ways can the employee contribute to your company’s mission and the greater good? Equip your hiring team and recruiting partner with details that serve as selling points for the organization.

4. Consider what’s most important to candidates in a changing work environment

Pay remains a top driver in attracting quality candidates to jobs, but work-life balance and an opportunity for employees to do what they do best rank high on the list too. In a study among 13,085 U.S. employees conducted by Gallup earlier this year, 61% of respondents said greater work-life balance and personal well-being were important — a steady rise since 2015. This includes more flexibility in how and where they work. It may sound obvious, but workers also want to focus their efforts on areas where they have strength and training. As such, hiring leaders must be in sync with what candidates want, and in the words of Gallup “sell what employees want to buy.”

Related: Why Small Businesses Struggling to Hire New Employees Should Embrace Gig Workers

5. Plan for your hiring needs today and devise a strategy for filling open positions

Some things to think about: What is the budget for recruiting? How will you plan to find candidates in a tight labor market and for hard-to-fill positions? And what does your company’s diversity hiring plan look like? Answering these questions before you begin the recruiting process will help crystallize your hiring plan and move the recruiting process along quickly and efficiently. Remember to start the search now for positions that need to be filled in the first quarter. And consider engaging an outside recruitment partner to get a fresh perspective and uncover candidates in unexpected places.

6. Before initiating a job search, understand the candidate’s journey

Where do they congregate? What are their circles of influence? How do they get their information? Then put your detective skills to work by searching for “passive” candidates – those who may not be actively looking for a job but may consider the right opportunity for a career change online, through professional networks and even cold-calling.

7. Ensure your company and the candidate are aligned

If you are wondering about the focus on passive candidates, it’s because some of the most desirable individuals are not looking for work. Oftentimes, their skills are in direct alignment with the open role. They are also transparent, sharing exactly what they want in their next career move, including opportunities for advancement, plus how they would approach the job at hand.

8. Create a story that humanizes your company and piques your candidates’ interest in the job

For example, share ways the company engages employees, celebrates success and gives back to the community. Using information gathered in your fact-finding exercise for the company and the position, craft an interesting “pitch” to attract best-in-class talent to your company.

9. Strategize ways to keep in touch with top candidates

Your candidates are probably entertaining multiple offers. Find reasons to check in and do it in ways, such as texting, that are effective without being intrusive.

10. When the search is over, create customized, in-depth candidate profiles

Include details on their skills, abilities and passions that may not be evident in a resume. Highlight silver medal candidates who may be a perfect match for your next job opening.

Recruiting new staff members can be a laborious task. But the investment you make into recruiting will pay dividends in the form of stellar employees who can help your business prosper.

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10 Things Every Working Woman Should Do This Year

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Self-care has become an all-encompassing term that has strayed from the importance of everyday commodities that keep us in good health and spirits. Though pampering and “treat yourself” moments still have value, here are ten ways to invest in yourself to produce long-lasting, positive results.

Related: 8 Self-Care Tips From Wildly Successful Entrepreneurs

1. Put money into a 401(k)

It’s never too early (or too late!) to start saving for the future. Depending on your employment status, there are different retirement savings accounts. 401(k)s are the most common since these are employer-sponsored and often come with an employer match. However, freelancers also have options, such as a SEP-IRA or a high-yield savings account, to put away extra, tax-free dollars for retirement.

2. Schedule a health checkup

Self-care first includes taking care of your physical health. It’s easy to discredit regular checkups when you’re feeling healthy, but make this the year to get your blood work done. It creates a baseline for your health to identify areas needing improvement or extra attention.

Also, choose areas in your life where you can make small changes. Improving your health doesn’t always mean a drastic overhaul; it may be as simple as drinking more water or adding an extra 30 minutes of exercise to your day.

Related: 3 Key Tips for Optimizing Your Physical Health as an Entrepreneur

3. Review health insurance benefits

Many people with health insurance aren’t sure exactly what it does and doesn’t cover. If you’re unsure, talk with your HR representative or your health insurance provider to get an overview of deductibles, co-payments and other supplemental benefits you may not be aware of. Then, decide if the health care plan makes sense for your current lifestyle.

Are you paying for benefits you don’t use, or do you need additional benefits that aren’t covered? Selecting the right plan will help ensure you have what you need without paying the extra expense for anything you don’t.

4. Ignite your curiosity

Maintaining healthy cognitive functions through new pursuits gives a boost to the brain. Get curious and find what speaks to you. This can be anything from exploring local museums, embarking on different hiking trails, learning a new language or reading more books.

There’s no limit to what you can do, and these activities can ignite more creativity and motivation in your work. While it may be helpful to look to others for inspiration, make them enjoyable so you’ll want to make them a regular occurrence.

5. Prioritize mental health

Mental health has been at the forefront of people’s lives over the past few years, as many have experienced burnout. We often equate productivity with a value that drives us to go beyond our means and leads to anxiety, stress and depression. Take note of your everyday stressors and see how to reduce or eliminate them. Then, replace them with relaxing outlets that allow you to recharge.

There are various ways to prioritize mental health, from practicing positive self-talk to meditation to scheduling an electronics-free day. You may have to try different solutions before you find one that fits.

Related: 5 Ways to Protect Your Mental Health as an Entrepreneur

6. Implement good sleep habits

Consistent sleep is one of the essential factors of good health but one that is often overlooked. For many, it can be challenging to wind down from the workday. Therefore, you must “train” your body to prepare for sleep by getting into a nighttime routine.

Create a sanctuary for yourself to improve your sleep habits. Enjoy a soothing cup of herbal tea, perform a skincare routine, and snuggle in with a good book rather than scrolling through your phone. Additionally, ensure your bedroom is dark and cool for ideal sleep comfort and turn on soothing sounds if it helps lull you to sleep.

7. Try something new

What have you wanted to try but have always held back? Maybe it’s public speaking or contributing to a blog. Whatever “new” has been on your to-do, make a plan, schedule it on your calendar and go for it. It’s common to hold back from these activities due to fear of the unknown or failure, but trying new things helps create confidence and can be the catalyst you need to push you to the next level.

8. Learn to set boundaries

Boundary setting is crucial to relationships yet can be difficult to master. It doesn’t always involve simply saying no to people’s requests. Instead, it requires protecting your own values when people violate them. Setting boundaries may mean spending less time with certain people, removing yourself from toxic situations, or declining invites to events that don’t improve your life. Explore areas where boundaries will help you grow, and keep in mind growth itself is a work in progress.

Related: How to Set Boundaries to Build Thriving Relationships

9. Spend quality time alone

Learning how to enjoy time spent alone is a valuable gift. We are inundated by a false sense of connection through the internet, which often makes us feel lonelier than ever. Then, we overschedule our calendars to make up for human connections, only to feel drained afterward. Slow it down and plan a few solo dates a month to see how it feels to be truly present with yourself.

For those who aren’t used to spending quality time alone, it can feel awkward and uncomfortable initially, but these stem from your own perceptions. Take in a matinee, sit in a coffee shop and read, or enjoy a concert or event you’ve wanted to attend. Alone time has been linked to improved stress management and greater life satisfaction, so it’s worth trying to give yourself more time.

Related: Turns Out, Those Who Like Being Alone Can Be More Creative

10. Get active

Getting active can take on several directions. It can be physical, emotional or spiritual. The point is to engage with people and pursuits that feed your soul. Whether volunteering within your community, setting yourself an exercise goal, or learning more about personal development, there are endless ways to get active and invest in yourself this year.

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Are You a Winner? How to Truly Define Winning in Your Business

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Businesses gauge their performance typically with dozens of goals and metrics. But you can’t do everything at once. The challenge is to get people focused on the one thing that’s most important right now. If it moved in the right direction, it would eliminate a weakness (or capitalize on an opportunity) and improve financial outcomes. You improve that, and you win.

However, not every company clearly defines winning. A catalog of goals can pull the organization in multiple directions and stretch finite resources. Numerous goals can inherently be at odds, working against each other and for conflicting purposes. For example, a cost reduction goal might undermine an innovation goal requiring a significant investment.

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Gen Z Is Making Ugg Boots Fashionable Again: Report

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Ugg boots, the furry, sheepskin boots that defined the 2000s are back, apparently, with spiking interest and Gen Z cachet, according to data from shopping website, Lyst.

The site’s annual quarterly report that highlights the “hottest” 20 fashion brands was released on Thursday, and, as Insider noted, Ugg is on it for the first time since the index began in 2017.

“Gen Z shoppers are breathing new life into once dormant brands … with over 1.2 billion mentions on TikTok — Ugg’s influence is undeniable,” the report notes.

The boots were also sold out of stores during the holidays, it added.

Generation Z, or people born between 1997 and 2012, has demonstrated a penchant for bringing back old technology and trends, from flip phones to “vintage” headphones with cords.

But Ugg boots go back much further — the word “ugg” is actually a general term in Australia that means boots made from sheepskin and fleece, according to the BBC.

The company that created the “UGG” boot, Deckers Outdoor Corporation, is based in the U.S. and has tried and failed to trademark the word in Australia (where a court decided it was a generic word and thus could not be trademarked), the outlet added.

The company says the boots began to gain popularity in California in the 1980s. They were first featured on Oprah’s Favorite Things in 2000 (a huge brand-maker back then) and became “cherished commodities” early in the decade, according to Vogue.

The boots later gained prominence again with a fashion movement that prioritized “ugly” clothes, and have since become an unironic Gen Z favorite, per Insider. Kylie Jenner was also spotted wearing them in November.

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