Economists maintain that future demographic trends will contribute to a shortage of high quality employees and small business jobs will go begging.
Economists maintain that future demographic trends will contribute to a shortage of high quality employees and small business jobs will go begging. But that doesn’t mean that you should just give up on hiring any new staff because as a small business, you don’t have a chance of attracting high quality employees. All things being equal, there are many people who would prefer to work for a small business. These tips for attracting staff will up the odds of attracting (and retaining) the people you need.
How to Recruit Employees for Small Business
1. Find out what the going rate is for the position and match it.
One common mistake small businesses make when creating a position is to base the salary on their budget rather than on the market realities – in effect making sure that their employee recruitment efforts are going to be unsuccessful. If a retail sales person in a starting position in your area normally makes $10 an hour, why would someone want to accept that position in your company for $9 an hour?
2. Make lifestyle part of your employee recruitment offer.
Many employees are just as concerned about the quality of life as they are about the amount of money a position offers. If you’re fortunate enough to be located in an area with great skiing, beaches, extensive hiking/biking trails, excellent golf courses or other attractive features be sure to play them up when you’re trying to recruit employees.
3. Emphasize the benefits your small business offers.
Make your company more attractive to potential employees by offering things such as flexible hours and/or work at home options. Among the more unusual benefits some small businesses offer are being able to bring a pet to work and allowing employees to power-nap during the day.
4. Be creative with perks.
As a small business, you may not be able to offer the perks large corporate companies are able to offer their employees – but you may be able to offer some creative perks that big business can’t offer.
Here are 10 perks that you can use to attract the talented employees you need—without breaking the bank.
1. Empathy and Support
Sometimes employees need time off with super short notice.
Or come in to work upset over things that are happening in their personal lives. Small business owners and other staff can make positive differences in the lives of employees experiencing problems, sometimes just by listening and sometimes by providing active support. And that sense of “family” can really bind employees to your company.
2. Flexible Work
For many employees, this is the most attractive perk that any company can offer as flexible work gives them more of the work-life balance they need. And as a small business, you may be in the position to offer the most flexible work arrangements of anyone.Besides offering employees tailored work schedules, such as four day weeks or being able to leave early each day to pick up children in daycare, you may also be able to offer work from home or telecommuting options.
3. Team Appeal
It’s one thing to have a job. It’s entirely another to be, as Gene Marks describes it, a member of a team trying to change the world against the evil Goliaths.Feeling that you’re doing something important that might make a difference to the world at large is a powerful motivator for many people, so if your small business is able to offer this, it’s a huge leg up in the talent competition.
4. Training and Development
Talented people are often ambitious and want to be able to learn the new skills that will further their careers.
If your small business can’t offer in-house training and development programs, you can still offer the training your employees want by reimbursing some or all of the costs for them to take appropriate courses or workshops elsewhere.
5. Volunteer Time
Volunteering has many rewards and many people want to do it, but can’t fit as much of it into their lives as they’d like to because of work. So giving employees x number of hours per week or month to volunteer can be a much appreciated perk—and creating happier employees while helping your community is definitely a win-win.See below
6. Pet-Friendly Premises
Everyone seems to have a pet now and assuming no one working at your small business has pet allergies or that public health rules forbid it, many employees would love to be able to bring their pet companion to work. If you don’t want to make this a general policy, you could make a day of the week “bring your pet to work” day.
7. Casual Work Dress
Big organizations often have Casual Fridays. But as a small business, you could offer the opportunity to dress more casually 365 days a year! Managers especially might appreciate the chance to shuck the suit.
8. Transport Passes
Is your small business located in a place where employees are able to commute to your premises by bus, train or subway? If so, Opal passes can be a much appreciated (and inexpensive) perk.
9. Fitness Opportunities
Employees of all ages like to stay fit. Don’t have an in-house fitness centre or pool? Then offer your employees memberships at the local fitness centre instead, or cover the cost of individual fitness classes for them. Many small businesses have also had a lot of success fielding their own teams. Netball? Touch Footy? Roller derby? Find out what your employees would like to play, set up a team, and let the fun begin.
10. Creative Individual Tailored Perks
Often the most appreciated perks are not the flashiest or the most expensive.Instead, they’re the perks that show that management appreciates an employee as a person.
Mary Cantando’s experience as a manager is inspirational. She spent the time thinking about her employees and choosing employees each month that she was going to do something personal for that month. Normally that “something personal” was something as simple as taking an employee out to lunch or buying someone tickets to a game. But the results were amazing.
“In a highly competitive industry, I didn’t lose a single A player in over four years, because I had a system for taking care of [employees] that went above and beyond the standard employee reward program,” Cantando says.
The Importance of Perks
Most experts agree that perks overall play an important role in the relationship between employee and company, especially in recessionary times. “Perks hold people to an organization. If an employee likes his or her boss and the work is challenging, and if the company has a set of perks that are adapted to what that person needs, then it’s hard for the employee to leave. He or she may not be able to replicate that situation in another organization. That’s the situation you want your employees to be in—and perking up your perks can help you make that happen.
5. Offer employees some way to move upwards.
Most employees aren’t looking for jobs where they’ll do the same thing for the next thirty years. They’re looking for positions that offer opportunities for advancement.What will the position you’re offering offer? The chance to develop new skills? A stepping stone to a position with more responsibilities? More money after a certain amount of time on the job? Whatever it is, in terms of attracting high quality staff, be sure to get the future possibilities on the table.
6. Create an employee incentive program.
Employee incentive programs not only reward good employee performance but give prospective employees something to look forward to if they come work for you. Whether it’s an annual company-paid retreat or a program where employees collect points that they can trade in for cash, employee incentive programs can increase your chances of attracting the people you want to hire.
7. Institute a profit sharing program.
It’s not for every business, but there’s no better way to give employees a stake in a company’s success. For businesses that look like they’re going somewhere, profit sharing programs can be a powerful inducement to come work for you instead of for someone else.
9. Sweeten the pot.
When competition for employees is fierce, a plain old signing bonus may be what’s needed to attract the high quality employee you want and get that person to work for you rather than for some other company. If you choose to do this, there are two things to keep in mind. The signing bonus has to be large enough to matter, and the signing bonus has to be contingent upon X amount of time of employment. (Otherwise, you’ll be running a revolving door as people sign up, take the money and run.)
10. Widen the scope of your advertising.
And if you have other employees, don’t forget to get them involved in the employee recruitment hunt. You can, for example, offer signing bonuses to those who successfully refer a new employee.Make Yours the Offer They Can’t RefuseThere are qualified people out there who can do what you need done – you just need to attract them to the positions your small business is offering. Developing an employee recruitment policy based on the tips above will give you a better chance of attracting the high quality employees you’re looking for.