Small Business, Great Jobs

4/27/22 12:36:19 PM — Photos of Mother Road Market, NOMA, Meadow Gold and Adams Apartments. TAEO images of midtown and downtown Tulsa. Photo by Shane Bevel

Grow Your Business with Great Jobs

High-quality jobs can create real cost savings for your business’ bottom line. Not only that, quality jobs provide your employees with greater financial security, enhanced productivity, and supports professional and personal success. As a small business owner, you have the opportunity to shape the quality of jobs you offer in a way that works for your business and your employees.

Improving job quality in a small business isn’t easy. You contend with thin margins, a competitive labor pool, and significant time and resource constraints. However, small changes over time to job quality can enhance your business’ performance.

Your employees are your most valuable asset. Job quality can provide you with better customer service, more qualified people, and a stronger bottom line.

  • Employee Recruiting
  • Employee Compensation
  • Retaining Talent with a Competitive Wage
  • Steps Toward Improved Wages
Employee Recruiting
10/29/18 4:08:58 PM -- Fall Colors and social media scenes from the Gathering Place.Photo by Shane Bevel

What makes your business run every day? Great employees. The following resources can help you find new talent across the Tulsa quickly and easily.

Good talent can be found through Oklahoma Works, where their JobMatch can help connect you to job searchers throughout Oklahoma. Additionally, they can provide training to give your staff a solid base of knowledge as they enter your workforce.

For tech recruiting, inTulsa Talent provides a free local resource for growing Tulsa businesses. InTulsa is your on-the-ground resource making it easy to connect with key hires and launch operations in Tulsa with talent, relocation, and growth solutions.

Tulsa Community WorkAdvance  (TCW) provides connections to local talent through RetrainTulsa and other programs. TCW graduates receive one to two years of free, personalized career coaching. TCW partners with your HR team to support graduates, helping them understand workplace dynamics and how to excel in any environment.

Employee Compensation
4/14/22 10:27:55 AM — Photos of Tulsa Authority of Economic Opportunity projects. Photo by Shane Bevel

Competitive compensation is essential to attracting and retaining the talent that makes your business thrive. But figuring out how to pay your employees a salary that they consider fair and competitive is no simple task. With rising minimum wages and increasingly competitive labor markets, it can be difficult to keep up with what’s considered fair compensation in your market or industry. According to a recent poll, low compensation was the primary reason employees listed they have left or would leave a job.

Retail businesses often operate on thin margins, meaning that changes in employee compensation—often your business’s biggest cost—can have a significant impact on your bottom line. However, providing competitive wages can also be a long-term investment that boosts employee stability, which can reduce costs from high employee turnover and rehiring.

Your employees are one of your most valuable assets. Higher compensation, paired with other improvements in job quality, can lead to greater productivity and improved customer service, as well as attract qualified candidates—helping not only your employees, but also your bottom line. While the true cost of employee turnover can be hard to calculate due to the numerous intangible and time involved, some studies estimate the cost to replace a $10/hour retail employee is about $3,330. With a median turnover rate of 67% for part-time retail workers, turnover could cost an employer with 10 employees over $20,000 annually.

Retaining Talent with a Competitive Wage
4/14/22 9:20:28 AM — Photos of Tulsa Authority of Economic Opportunity projects. Photo by Shane Bevel

Providing a competitive wage can be essential to attracting top talent—and keeping them. However, compensation rates can vary greatly within the retail sector depending on location, skillset, and experience. For more detail consider Why Companies That Pay Above the Minimum Wage Come Out Ahead.

First, make sure you understand what the minimum wage laws are in your city and state by using the U.S. Department of Labor’s interactive minimum wage map. (For additional detail What is an Hourly Employee? provides helpful information on the difference between exempt vs. non-exempt employees.)

Next, find out what’s considered competitive compensation for your employees in your industry and city. A Living Wage is considered the gold standard of fair wages because of the quality of life it enables wage earners to attain. While there is no single, definitive way to calculate a living wage, the MIT Living Wage Calculator identifies typical expenses and wages to determine the living wage for a given location. You can also check out Salary Comparison: How to Know If Your Small Business is Paying Fairly—a step-by-step resource for small business owners to guide employee compensation, including interactive salary comparison tools like this one from Indeed.

After review, if you see that your employee wages are below industry standard, the next section is a great starting place for ideas on how to improve wages. If your business is paying a competitive hourly wage—that’s great! We encourage you to consider the benefits of investing in your workers and see if you can continue to move the needle on employee compensation, ideally toward a living wage.

Steps Toward Improved Wages
4/27/22 12:28:01 PM — Photos of Mother Road Market, NOMA, Meadow Gold and Adams Apartments. TAEO images of midtown and downtown Tulsa. Photo by Shane Bevel

Looking for direction on how to improve wages? Below, we’ve listed a few considerations toward making a wage bump more feasible:

  • Decrease employee costs in other areas.
    As a first step, it’s critical to understand what your employees value the most—is it health benefits, a higher wage, stable schedules, or discounts? If a wage increase is the top priority, you can make an informed decision about which benefits, if any, could be scaled back to improve wages. If you’re considering making changes to staffing, hours, or benefits be sure to consult the Small Business Administration’s guidance, “Understand the Law Before Dropping or Reducing Employee Benefits.” 
  • Get employee buy-in on increasing sales targets.
    Increasing sales targets can be an effective tactic to help your business afford providing a higher wage. Every employee knows that you want your business to make more money, but it’s critical to communicate to your workers that receiving a higher wage is directly tied to their ability to support increased sales. You can also boost employee ownership of this goal by brainstorming as a team on strategies to increase sales, and assigning employees specific tasks to help reach goals.
  • See if other business expenses can be cut.
    Other means of cutting expenses can include reviewing high cost supplies, assessing facility costs, and identifying losses. Engaging your employees in saving money and time can improve your bottom line, make their jobs more interesting and build critical skills.
  • Increase your prices—and be transparent about it.
    Retailers across the country, especially in the clothing and food sectors, are raising prices to help cover the cost of increased employee wages— and they’re being open about it. Studies have shown that consumers are willing to pay more for great customer service and knowing employees are being paid fairly. Consider your customers and current pricing to determine if a price increase could be appropriate for your business.

If it turns out that increased compensation doesn’t work for your business, also consider other potentially less costly ways to support your employees. Implementing these programs can help indirectly boost the value of employees’ total compensation. Options include offering other benefits, such as health insurance, stable scheduling, or training and career development.