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Finding workers a concern for Columbus-area family businesses

Conway Center for Family Business
The Conway Center for Family Business’ annual Family Business Forecast shows finding qualified workers is the region’s biggest business challenge.

A hiring crunch has impacted Central Ohio family businesses large and small. Have you felt it?

Businesses across all industries have posted their “now hiring” messages on any available medium: physical buildings, online job boards, social media, billboards and many more examples. Spaces traditionally reserved to help drive business have been converted into recruitment tools in search of quality candidates to fill numerous available positions. 

Has this shift in focus hurt Central Ohio’s family businesses? Not in the short-term, according to the 11th Annual Family Business Forecast survey, conducted by the Conway Center for Family Business.

While finding qualified workers remains the single most significant business challenge reported by the majority of family business leaders surveyed, 65% of family businesses plan to increase hiring for the remainder of 2022 and more than half predict their business will be in an even better place by the end of the year.

“Recruitment of qualified candidates who fit a family business’s culture is a top pain point identified annually by the Family Business Forecast,” said Bea Wolper, president of the Conway Center for Family Business. “Even more so in 2022, our members are looking for new ways to bring in − and retain − talent in a business environment defined by rising costs and limited resources.”

The Family Business Forecast found that a majority of Central Ohio family businesses will lean on referrals and online/other job listings to help fill open positions. More family businesses than ever will use digital means, such as social media or advertising, as a method to source new hires.

Most Central Ohio family business leaders will lean on referrals, online job listings and social media to source new hires.

The Conway Center fields the Annual Family Business Forecast to gauge the economic climate – including employment and related challenges – among family businesses in the region.

Diminished outlook for state, national economy: Reasons for local optimism

Only 28% of Central Ohio family business leaders have a positive outlook on the U.S. business climate for 2022. This is a dramatic decrease compared to survey responses just one year ago, when 3 in 4 respondents reported a positive outlook.

Sentiment for Ohio’s economic outlook was slightly more optimistic, with 4 in 10 family business leaders responding with a good impression of the state’s business climate. More than 8 in 10 shared a positive outlook for the state in 2021.

Mounting threats, including hiring concerns, threaten to negatively impact regional family business performance for the remainder of 2022. An overwhelming majority of family business leaders say gas/energy costs and inflation will have a negative impact on their family business through the end of 2022. Others anticipate negative outcomes due to supply chain disruptions and pressure to increase wages.

A majority of Central Ohio family business leaders say gas/energy costs, supply chain disruptions, inflation and wage pressures will have a negative impact on their business.

Family-owned businesses have been hit by one national crisis after another over the span of a few short years. Yet, family businesses located in Central Ohio share that they are meeting and exceeding their 2022 goals and expectations.

Local leaders shared an appreciation for factors driving regional economic growth. Factors like local infrastructure, cost of living, availability of business resources and the region’s inter-business collaborative culture are among the reasons family business leaders start, and keep, their family business in Central Ohio.

Central Ohio family business leaders share an appreciation for the factors driving regional economic growth.

The Conway Center for Family Business addresses the need for shared business resources and collaboration with educational programming and peer group facilitation through its relationships with service provider experts to help family businesses address challenges, including attracting, training and retaining top talent.

“Family businesses are resilient − by investing in people and culture, family businesses foster a sense of commitment that helps performance and employee retention during economic downturns,” said Jill Hofmans, executive director of the Conway Center for Family Business. “By maintaining the values of family business and using the great resources available in our region, we are confident that family businesses will continue in their successes and play an important role in Central Ohio’s exciting economic future.”

The 2022 Family Business Forecast survey was completed by 84 family-owned business leaders in and around Franklin County.