Monday, Jan 2023
An Economic Perspective.
As Covid’s impact eases across Canada, business owners must start building plans to fortify and capitalize on what could be an exciting rise of in-province travel and tourism. 

In 2022, relaxing Covid restrictions allow consumers to get out of their houses and return to the world. This impending return to normal, fueled by the 2022 Staycation Tax Credit and a stir-crazy population, means optimism for tourism and commerce. The Niagara region’s ideal position for northern-US and Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTAH) visitors to seek nature and picturesque, boutique escapes from the confines of their home.

After two years of challenging headwinds and the continued uncertainty of the next 6 months, business owners need to think about fortifying their workforce while considering the current demographic and economic landscape. With half of the population in the region either between the ages of 20 and 39 or over 65, two key workforce segments require very different recruiting and retention strategies. Younger populations are showing their willingness to leave Covid isolation early and are prime candidates for positions that allow for schedule flexibility as young families still face a lot of school disruptions and childcare challenges. Larger industries like Canadian airlines are still slow to recall furloughed employees and, with restrictions dropping, the number of young people open to work continues to rise. Job opportunities that work with local school schedules will be a meaningful draw. Layer in conscientious scheduling practices and solid on the job training and you can lock down this pool of talent craving opportunities to work where they live.


Keeping demands balanced and stable

The second stage of a savvy workforce development plan is how to appeal to the 65+ year old population, more and more of whom are seeking a retirement career that keeps them mentally and physically engaged with minimal stress. Creating streamlined, intuitive workflows for frustration-free onboarding will appeal to older workers who bring with them decades of business and customer service experience. Retaining this workforce often means finding the right balance between taking suggestions or keeping demands balanced and stable. There is no better substitute than a robust initial interview to understand the candidate’s motivations so you can match them with the right role.

A consistency across both groups of workers is the expertise they bring to your role. As workers become more passionate about finding a job that engages them, your understanding of their interest and motivation are key to designing an engagement strategy. These strategies are not tedious to build but require a straightforward understanding of what motivated your employee to seek out a job and an understanding of their individual strengths. A winning strategy takes these two points and pairs them to a need within your business. A furloughed teacher who joins your customer service team may find additional purpose in helping you refine your onboarding packet and the new hire training materials. A retired tradesman who becomes floor staff in your shop could add value by helping customers talk through their ideas with an expert, and giving them the encouragement and opportunity to provide that additional service can build deep connections with local customers.



Grow your business

The next six months will be critical for small and medium sized businesses in the region. The country is reemerging from a two-year hibernation with a hunger for experiencing life and all the province has to offer. With this changing likely to come in gradual phases, business owners need to understand their needs, how the various segments of the population are being impacted, and how to weave those together into a strategy that keeps you on firm footing and ready to take advantage of the next opportunity to strengthen and grow your business.

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