Many low-cost services cater to employers

Dear Working Wise: I own two quick-service restaurants and I am always struggling to find good people.

Dear Working Wise: I own two quick-service restaurants and I am always struggling to find good people.

Is there any help out there for small businesses who need staff? — Exasperated Entrepreneur

Dear Exasperated: Alberta’s vibrant economy has turned the “Help Wanted” sign into a permanent fixture at most quick-service restaurants — even during the recent recession.

The ongoing challenge of attracting, training and retaining enough dependable staff to keep the doors open can be exhausting for weary managers. And the staffing challenge is only expected to get tougher as we recover from the recession and more baby boomers begin retiring.

Fortunately, there are a number of free and low-cost services available to help Alberta employers.

You might want to try posting a free job ad on the Canada-Alberta Job Bank website (www.jobbank.gc.ca).

Take advantage of free local job fairs or Employer Connections events. Employer Connections events are mini job fairs that allow you to profile your business and job opportunities to local career counsellors and job-seekers (http://employment.alberta.ca/employerconnections).

Check out the staff attraction and retention tips in the Employer Tool Kit (http://employment.alberta.ca/etoolkit).

Or get in touch with your local business and industry liaison. Alberta Employment and Immigration has business and industry liaison staff who specialize in helping employers navigate all of the available services and tackle staffing challenges.

A business and industry liaison can help by:

• Providing information on how you can tap into hidden labour pools;

• Offering helpful publications full of staff attraction and retention tips;

• Informing you of upcoming low-cost staff recruitment best practice workshops;

• Guiding you toward useful statistics like wage surveys and labour market forecasts;

• Explaining how the Disability Related Employment Supports program helps employers hire and retain employees with disabilities; and

• Introducing you to programs that allow you to hire foreign workers if you can not find any staff locally.

Get in touch with your local business and industry liaison today and put their expertise to work for you. Call your nearest Alberta Service Centre and ask to speak to a business and industry liaison.

You can find the Alberta Service Centre nearest you by clicking on http://employment.alberta.ca/offices or by calling 310-0000.

You can also learn more about all of the available free and low-cost employer services by visiting http://employment.alberta.ca and clicking on the Business & Industry tab.

Good luck!

Working Wise is compiled by Charles Strachey of Alberta Employment and Immigration (charles.strachey@gov.ab.ca) for general information.