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CREATE BRIDGES Partners Host HR Training for Small Businesses

by Brandon Mathews - July 19, 2021

The CREATE BRIDGES regional steering committee understands the importance of providing human resources training and support to small businesses. 

Business owners across Fulton, Izard and Sharp counties in Arkansas shared during business retention and expansion interviews and focus groups that they had difficulties trying to master HR issues, trainings, finances and marketing.

In response, the regional steering committee has made HR training and support a priority in one of their strategic goals for CREATE BRIDGES. The Spring River Innovation Hub and Arkansas Small Business Technology Development Center recently hosted Fishing for Talent: Recruitment & Retention for businesses across the tri-county area. 

Spring River Innovation Hub logo

Glenda Caton, owner of Caton Consulting, provided attendees during the session advice on ways to attract, hire, and retain talent. Below are three takeaways from the training that address business concerns discovered through past CREATE BRIDGES research.


  • Job seekers are attracted to more than 401ks and healthcare. Small business owners told the CREATE BRIDGES team they did not have the resources to provide competitive retirement and healthcare plans to employers like their larger counterparts. While these incentives are attractive to prospective employees, Caton said small business can make up ground with employees by offering better work/life balance and flexible schedules. While flexible working schedules are not always feasible, business owners may find value in reevaluating the rigidity of their work schedules and consider making changes where applicable. 

  • Employees want structure, defined roles, and expectations. Have you ever heard someone say, “If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself?” This saying is usually evoked when someone fails to perform a task to the desired level of satisfaction of another. This sentiment played out in the CREATE BRIDGES data among small business owners. Employers expressed frustration with training employees and getting the results they wanted. 

    In the workplace, not having clear goals, job roles, or responsibilities can lend itself to unrealized expectations. Employers should review their policies and handbooks to see if they are still current and relevant to the job, Caton said. If a business does not have a handbook, it is never too late to create one. Having these tools can set clear expectations, improve productivity, and ensure greater accountability for both employers and employees.

  • If you are having a difficult time hiring the right candidate, your hiring pool might be too small. As businesses continue to re-open at full capacity, the demand for workers is high. Many business owners lament the process of trying to find qualified workers. Expanding your hiring pool to include workers you might have “passed” over previously can reward an employer with highly skilled and dedicated employees.

    Caton covered five different employee groups to consider outside of your normal applicant pool. Two specific groups you may not have thought about before include:
    • Veterans thrive under pressure, exhibit versatility, and are often team-oriented due to their service careers. No matter the job, these types of skills are beneficial in all positions.

    • Second chances. These individuals may have a criminal record, but that should not disqualify them up front. These prospective employees will often show greater appreciation for a job, learn to be adaptable, and can have less turnover than employees without a record. There are many programs and organizations that can support a business, and in some cases, tax incentives.  

Click here for more information about the Arkansas Small Business Technology Development Center and their free business services.  

Caton Consulting logo

If you are a business looking for entrepreneur support, coworking space, or reliable high-speed internet in Fulton, Izard or Sharp County, check out the Spring River Innovation Hub here. 

For more information about Glenda Caton and Caton Consulting, LLC, check out their full range of services here.