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Be Innovative in Your Talent Acquisition and Retention

July 6, 2021

By Sarah Miller, originally featured in SBAM’s FOCUS Magazine

Michigan is once again open fully open for business. While many of you have had your doors open throughout the pandemic, Summer 2021 represents a turning point for many small businesses. There are no more restrictions requiring remote work; MIOSHA workplace rules have been loosened; and capacity restrictions are set to sunset this month.

But now that we’re all “back to work,” it’s clear that many employers are struggling to find the talent they need to operate their businesses at full capacity.

SBAM member Patti Eisenbraun owns Brown Iron Brewhouse with locations in both Washington and Royal Oak. Her struggle to fill employment spots was documented this spring in an interview with CNN. “We’re trying everything we can,” Eisenbraun said. “There’s just not the people out there right now.” SBAM president Brian Calley added, “There is no longer a shortage of jobs. I have never heard or seen this level of frustration and concern over the inability to find or fill open jobs.”

So, what’s a small business owner to do when already stretched thin with regular responsibilities? This issue of Focus offers some insight into how you can find the talent you need and retain the talent you have.

Sheri Welsh is a longtime SBAM member, Board member, and leading expert in the field of talent management. Her article provides valuable insight into the unintentional bias that may be holding you back from finding the perfect person. While you may think bias only relates to diversity, equity or inclusion, it is so much more. Interview bias occurs anytime an interviewer judges a candidate on ANY unspoken or conscious criteria other than skills and competencies. Because bias is an unconscious action it can be difficult to recognize. Welsh breaks it down for us and offers guidance to make good hiring decisions.

Beki Fraser’s article on how to specifically retain women employees speaks to one major consequence of the pandemic: the disproportionate exit of women versus men from the workforce. She shares tips for retention strategies to help you keep your top talent.

When looking to add to your team, think outside of the box. AARP shares more about their program “Experience for Hire” that matches semi-retired professionals with employment opportunities. A recent survey showed that AARP members aged 50 and over were highly interested in returning to work in their areas of expertise. What a valuable way to fill talent needs with a seasoned veteran!

In our SBAM Member Profile, Jenny Brown of Dutton Farms shares her inspirational story of building a business to specifically employ those with developmental disabilities, including her sister who has Down Syndrome. Brown has found a home for many to work, earn money and be contributing members of society. Maybe this story will inspire you to think about Michigan’s “hidden” talent pool.

Of course, it’s crucial to make sure your employee benefits are attractive to find and retain talent. SBAM’s Kellie Neirynck offers some great insight into the types of benefits you can offer that will make a big impact.

Remember, SBAM has tools and resources that can help you navigate all the ins and outs of running your business. For more, including additional resources on talent, visit

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