BUSINESSBRIEFS BY SARAH HOBAN
Caregiving and the Workplace:
What Are Small Businesses Doing?
Most small business owners and employees will face the issue of family caregiving sooner or later. A recent AARP study of more than 1,000 small business owners revealed that more than 70% of owners or employees had provided care for a loved one. Two-thirds of those responding said that they believed that the issue of family caregiving in the workplace is important today and in the future, and 94% agreed that supporting caregivers in the workplace is the fair and right thing to do because it “strengthens employee morale,” “provides work/life balance,” and “reduces employee turnover.” However, the study also revealed that only 18% of owners surveyed had a formal written policy to address the issue. Other respondents noted that they used unwritten, but consistent policies or an informal case-by-care approach, but 19% said they had no policy at all. Reasons varied; some were financial, while others said they worried about being taken advantage of or about the effects on other employees. However, many simply didn’t know what benefits or resources to provide. One observation did emerge, however. The workplaces deemed “most supportive” were ones that had formal, written policies. The most common solutions offered by employers included flexible schedules, “open door” policies, and unpaid time off. Another clear finding was that respondents were very interested in free or lowcost guidance for making their businesses more caregiver-friendly. Solutions included tip sheets, DIY toolkits, online training, and local workshops. A complete copy of the report can be found at bit.ly/2Z3K42P.
Succession planning can weigh heavily on small business owners’ minds. Whether you’ve started to think about retirement or just want to cover all contingencies, you should have a plan in place to ensure your business continues without interruption. SCORE and MassMutual have created a short downloadable guide to help business owners create a path toward exiting their business. The guide also explains exit options such as transferring ownership to family members and selling to a partner or employee and ways to make the transition process run smoothly. You can find the guide at bit.ly/2wtLaIV. 40 Smart Retailer AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2019
Saucy Sales If sauces and condiments are part of your merchandise lineup, take heart: new and bolder versions have made them a hot commodity. Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz, a Chicago Tribune business writer, reports that thanks to a burgeoning Millennial market — with a hankering for bolder flavors — sauces have become a growth category. Longtime industry leaders such as Hunt’s and Heinz are debuting premium barbeque sauces; condiment hybrids, such as mayonnaise/ketchup or mayonnaise/mustard blends; and all-natural ketchups. Spicier sauces that are gaining shelf space include chili sauce, curry ketchup, and wasabi mayo. One industry executive noted that the souped-up sauces are a way for Millennials at home to duplicate the zesty flavors they’ve become accustomed to from dining at ethnic restaurants.