When traveling around the country, you will notice that many small businesses have closed, in many instances due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a recent study by economists at the Federal Reserve, 200,000 U.S. business establishments shut their doors during the first year of the pandemic in addition to the 600,000 businesses per year that permanently closed. Many states have reported that 40% or more small businesses have closed in their state (Congressional Research Service, April 2020).

However, even more disturbing than the number of businesses closing is the difficulty in staffing positions across the country. The hospitality industry is especially hard hit, as well as personal service businesses such as barbershops and nail salons. In this paper, the author discusses the issue of hiring and retaining employees in the new post-COVID business environment and offers recommendations for rebuilding a culture of employee engagement.