Small Businesses Challenged to Attract Employees and Offer Competitive Benefits in the Year Ahead

Study Cites 2019 Workforce Priorities for SMB Owners

Small business owners believe ‘attracting strong, competent management and dedicated, capable staff’ plus ‘offering competitive compensation and benefits’ will be the top two most challenging issues they face in the next 12 months, according to a study of nearly 300 U.S. small business owners by Oasis Outsourcing, a leading Professional Employer Organization (PEO) and HR solutions firm.

Compared to the past year, which of the following HR administration 
issues do you believe will become more challenging for your business over 
the next 12 months?


Attracting strong, competent management and dedicated, capable 


Offering competitive compensation and benefits


High employee turnover


Developing employees and future leaders for succession


Building a positive brand and culture


Maintaining ongoing regulatory compliance


Measuring and managing employee performance


Managing the hiring process and tracking applicants (e.g. posting 
jobs, tracking flow of applicants, onboarding, etc.)


Creating operational efficiencies with overall HR administration

“Small businesses need to compete in a tight labor market with much larger employers – that can offer more robust compensation and benefits packages to lure and retain the best talent,” said Gerald Purgay, Chief Marketing Officer with Oasis. “This issue was of greater importance to those small business owners/managers employing more than 20 people (32%) who had been in operation for 10 or fewer years (35%).”

“Running a small business requires leading a motivated group of people to be as productive as possible so you can drive growth and manage and reduce costs,” said Purgay. “But finding and keeping quality talent is tough. As the survey results demonstrate, people management can be time-consuming, complicated and costly. To find and keep the best people, small business owners need to continuously explore options to offer great benefits and competitive compensation – these are the table stakes. But it takes more than this to attract the best and brightest. Today’s job seekers consider all aspects of a company – fit, culture, reputation, and the ability to have a work/life balance.”

Purgay observed that savvy SMB owners outsource nonrevenue producing tasks like HR administration. “Only 14% of survey respondents said they had experience with outsourcing HR administration, and a further 7% reported they ‘didn’t know this was an option.’ Which opens opportunities to more broadly socialize the value of having an HR partner to help drive their workforce and people initiatives and help them to keep a competitive edge.”

For those with experience in outsourcing HR administration, the top three services most frequently outsourced were ‘payroll administration’ (58%), ‘401(k)’ (42%), and ‘benefits’ (40%).