Often, we hear from many of our 4,000 members that finding and retaining a good workforce is an ongoing issue in their businesses. As an association, we've heard many fresh, creative, and inspiring ideas to solve this issue, so we compiled them into a list below.
For a pdf version of these tips, download the file at the bottom of the page.
UTILIZING EXISTING PROGRAMS
1. Build Dakota Scholarship
Beck Motors in Pierre became an industry partner for the scholarship program created for skilled scholars entering high-demand programs at South Dakota technical colleges. Visit www.builddakotascholarships.com for more information.
2. $1000 SDRA Workforce Incentive
A $1,000 workforce incentive paid directly to an employee hired from out-of-state to work in a Retailers Association member-business. Fifty members have already used this program. Visit sdra.org/1kworkforce for more information.
Applications no longer be accepted after November 1, 2023.
3. Hiring Employees with Disabilities
The state Division of Rehabilitation Services offers technical assistance and solutions for recruiting, hiring, retaining, or advancing employees with disabilities. Learn more at https://dhs.sd.gov/rehabservices/ .
South Dakota has programs to help businesses with internships and apprenticeships. Dakota Seeds is a program of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development that connects students with employers. The Start Today SD Apprenticeship Program helps businesses develop Registered Apprenticeship Programs to develop fully trained employees. For more information visit https://sdgoed.com/partners/financing-incentives/dakota-seeds/ or www.starttodaysd.com .
5. Partner with a High School Program
Schulte Subaru & Harrisburg High School have partnered to help teach students automotive technology by bringing Schulte Subaru cars to the high school to allow students to learn on real cars. Contact your local high school about potential opportunities.
6. Junior Achievement
Volunteer to teach students in grades 3-12 about work and career readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy, while talking about your own business. Exec. Dir. Nathan Sanderson is a state board member and many staff and members teach JA to reach potential future employees. Visit southdakota.ja.org for more information.
7. Week of Work
South Dakota’s Week of Work introduces middle and high school students to career opportunities in their own communities and across the state through job shadows, industry tours, and other business-classroom connections. Visit weekofwork.sd.gov for more information.
ProStart® is a two-year, industry-backed culinary arts and restaurant management program for high school students. Operated by the Retailers Association, there are 21 schools in South Dakota utilizing ProStart®. Restaurants find ProStart® students to have many of the skills needed for success in their restaurants. For more information visit sdra.org/prostart .
HIRING & RETAINING LOYAL EMPLOYEES
9. Reward Employees with Experiences
Dempsey’s Restaurant and Brewery in Watertown and Montgomery’s Furniture provide trips and other “experiences” as incentives, rather than financial bonuses. They’ve found that employees remember those memories longer than bonus money.
10. College Bound Program
Dairy Queen in Pierre offers the “College Bound” program, where high school students earn money for college in addition to their regular wages while working at the business. Other businesses assist with student loan repayments. For more information as to how you can set up your business for the College Bound program, visit www.collegeboundinc.com
11. Creative Benefits
Implement creative, nontraditional benefits for your employees. Some businesses give time off for an employee’s birthday; others offer free food, or massages, or books; some provide flexibility during the day to run errands or pick up children; others offer in-house daycare, or partner with other businesses to provide a central daycare for more than one business. Others allow pets to come to work too. The sky’s the limit!
12. Traditional Financial Benefits
Many businesses are offering 401(k) retirement benefits, or health, vision, or dental insurance. The South Dakota Retailers Association offers discounted rates for these and a variety of other services that employees appreciate.
13. Hire Customers
Regular customers already enjoy your business, and they can become valuable members of your team as well. Recruit good customers to share their enjoyment of your business.
14. Hire the Unexpected
Former prison inmates often appreciate the opportunity to get back on their feet and demonstrate their efforts to become contributing citizens. Lutheran Social Services is one point of contact for connecting with these individuals. lsssd.org/what-we-do/re-entry-services/index.html . Also, individuals at retirement age may be interested in fulfilling part-time work. See www.activegenerations.org for more information about hiring retirement age employees.
15. Job Sharing
Have a part-time employee that wants to put in more hours? Partner with another business to have that individual work part-time in both yours and your partner’s businesses. A winning situation for all!
Download 15 Workforce Tips PDF here: