Retaining and recruiting top quality employeescontinues to bedevil American businesses. Apart from growing theirbusinesses and turning a profit, more than half of small tomid-sized companies surveyed by TAG Employer Services cited findingand keeping top performers as their greatest challenge in the yearahead.

However, while the survey revealed the importance placed onrecruitment and retention by the 400-plusexecutives of these mid-tier employers, two other challenges loomedlarge: cost control and reduction, and compliance with governmentregulations. Unlike major corporations, these smaller players don’thave the staff firepower to address compliance and cost management,and the survey highlighted their concerns in these areas.

Here’s how the chips fell when respondents were asked to ranktheir most pressing challenges in the year ahead:

  • Business growth and profit: 77 percent
  • Employee recruitment and retention: 54 percent
  • Cost control and reduction: 50 percent
  • Complying with government regulation: 39 percent
  • Building the next level of management: 31 percent
  • Management succession: 23 percent
  • Customer retention: 17 percent

Lossof key employees, a concern for any organization, isespecially troubling for companies with fewer than 200 employees,”said Joe Johnson, chief operating officer for TAG, which providesadministrative services to its clients. “When a skilled workerdeparts it is really felt by mid-market employers. They’ve got toscramble to find a new person with just the right mix ofcompetencies.”

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Dan Cook

Dan Cook is a journalist and communications consultant based in Portland, OR. During his journalism career he has been a reporter and editor for a variety of media companies, including American Lawyer Media, BusinessWeek, Newhouse Newspapers, Knight-Ridder, Time Inc., and Reuters. He specializes in health care and insurance related coverage for BenefitsPRO.