Katie Fitzpatrick, Executive Director of Programs for the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, talks with Chicago area small business owners every day about the challenges they face in growing their business.

In an Op-Ed published by Crain’s Chicago Business this week, Fitzpatrick uses data from Chamber surveys and insights from small business owners she has worked with to create a road map small business owners can use to effectively attract and retain top talent in Chicago.

From her Crain’s Op-Ed:

To help manage these ongoing talent challenges, triage your workplace:

• In the absence of a human resources department, make sure you have a good lawyer to ensure your company abides by basic rules and regulations and is reflective of your industry competitors. This due diligence is worth the price tag.

• Invest in technology platforms to maximize business operations and free up employees for strategic priorities that challenge and engage them.

• Take advantage of free public resource initiatives. Last summer, the chamber launched an internship program in conjunction with CompTIA and Chicago Public Schools to provide assistance to small businesses that lack the budget or staff to address technology issues. In its first year, 12 businesses were successfully matched with students, who helped create web pages and marketing platforms. This is one of numerous local initiatives that small businesses are invited to participate in free of charge.

• Above all, nurture a multigenerational, multicultural workforce and enjoy the benefits that dynamic skill sets and perspectives bring to your business and employee morale, including workforce retention.

Click here to read the full Op-Ed.