Lonnie McQuirter, owner of 36 Lyn, says the first thing when trying to entice potential employees is taking stock of current offering and making sure you’re acknowledging the hard work of current employees. Examine the compensation structure and ensure the package for new hires doesn’t leave current employees asking questions such as, “Why are they doing so much for all these new people to come in when we’re picking up the slack right now? I don't feel as appreciated now because they’re bending over backward to bring new people in while the people like me, who have stuck out through some hard times, don’t feel we’re being acknowledged,” McQuirter says.

Elsewhere, employee wellness and health is growing as part of McQuirter’s HR strategy. In recent years, he has been more aware of what days an employee might want off during the holiday season—Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa.

“Nowadays, you need to be more explicit about what things they value most,” he says, adding that he inquires about this during interviews. “I’m more sensitive about what they need from me as an employer, coach and mentor.”

Finally, there’s his T-shirt initiative, which received its share of media coverage and boosted employee morale during the pandemic. The shirts read: “The world is short staffed right now. Be kind to those who show up.”

“A lot of people have really grown attached to the shirts,” McQuirter says.