NEW YORK (
) -- Small businesses are hiring.
And it's not just
scooping up workers. Businesses in consumer goods, energy services, manufacturing and health care services are just a few of the industries looking.
Automatic Data Processing's
monthly National Employment Report, businesses added 216,000 jobs in February. Businesses with fewer than 50 employees contributed 108,000 jobs to private-sector employment last month. (The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is expected to release its latest employment data this morning.)
"There are small businesses that are very positioned to grow, and that's because they either got an infusion of capital or because they spent the last couple of years thinking how they are going to take advantage once the market comes back for their product or service," says Kathy Kehoe, managing director and head of recruitment at
"I'm working with a company that has 40 employees and looking to hire 200 salespeople this year," Kehoe says. After getting private equity investment "the company has capital now to grow. They were selling their product a certain way and totally rethought that because they have the capital and people funding the business."
But some companies looking to grow just can't find enough workers with the skill sets they need. Small manufacturers, for example. "If they could find the people that have the skills they need, they could take on more business," Kehoe says.
Another example is companies in the energy services sector. "They're having the same challenges. Part of it is geography mismatches -- where we used to drill is not where we are drilling today," she says.
That's making some companies become more creative in the types of workers they hire and, on the flip side, forcing workers to become more flexible, she adds.
As more small businesses take the leap and hire for the first time in a long while, making sure they have formalized employment practices will be imperative. Employment issues are one of the top legal concerns of small businesses, according to
, an online legal services provider for businesses.
Rocket Lawyer offered six employment practices tips for business owners:
1. Make sure you get an employment agreement in writing. A lack of written contracts ranked high on the list of small businesses' mistakes, according to a recent survey the firm conducted.
2. Develop an employee handbook.
3. Create policies that clearly define and prohibit discrimination in the workplace. For example, establish a no-tolerance policy for racist, sexist and classist actions and/or language.
4. Implement a sexual harassment policy that prohibits any unwelcome conduct or advance that is intimidating, hostile or offensive.
5. Familiarize yourself with the legal requirements of the Employee Medical Leave Act.
6. Provide a workers compensation program, which can help a small business avoid costly lawsuits and out-of-pocket expenses.
In our third installment of our
series, we speak with a handful of small businesses in a variety of industries that are optimistic about 2012 and hiring because of it.