Skip to Page Content

Atttracting TOP talent to Your Small Business

    You’ve probably heard that big businesses have the advantage when it comes to luring top talent simply because of their brand recognition. For example, Google lures top programmers, web marketers, and other Internet specialist based on name recognition and for being known for their culture of being a fun place to work. The same can be said about Southwest Airlines. From the leaders on down, Southwest employees believe in “The Golden Rule,” which means treating each other the way they want to be treated. When potential employees hear about that kind of culture, it makes them eager to join.

    So the question is, “How do you, as a small business owner, mimic big businesses and attract the same talent?”

    First - Make your company’s value known. What are your current successes? What is your culture? What are your products and who is your customer base? Additionally, candidates and current employees should understand your vision for the future and what you expect your business to look like five years from now. Overall, explore and define what your company can tout as an employer differentiator.

    Second - Make sure candidates understand the advantages of working in a small business. Specifically, they’ll become a voice in the company’s vision and mission, and will help steer the course. Additionally, there is value in having a closer relationship between the owners and the employees.

    Third - Show the candidate how small companies often offer more flexibility, job sharing, and are usually more understanding of personal needs. For example, if an employee needs to work from home due to personal reasons, the small business owner is likely to be more flexible.  

    Fourth - Make sure the candidate knows your company will allow them to play to their strengths every day. For example, during the interview, you discover the candidate doesn’t like cold-calling face-to-face but enjoys interaction over the phone. Immediately, you know they are not suited for outside sales. However, this candidate may be perfect for facilitating teleconferences. As another example, you may discover that the candidate has a knack for the creative and for seeing the big picture, but falters when it comes to details. Steer this candidate toward your strategy and quality improvement initiatives and away from your process documentation and repetitive data entry efforts.

    As a small business owner, you understand allowing employees to play to their strengths, minimizing boring staff meetings, and making sure you have daily one-on-one contact with your employee will net real results.   

    Fifth - Regardless of the position, the candidate will need to know that their skills will contribute to the success of the company, that they will be respected more as part of the family, and that they sincerely add value instead of being just an employee ID number. Make sure the candidate knows that their accomplishments will be recognized and highlighted through mediums such as formal and informal recognition programs, newsletters, meetings, and appraisals.

    Finally - Take advantage of social media outlets, such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube to highlight your company’s employee events and your community involvement. Tie these events back to your vision, mission, and values. Prospective employees will be scouring the internet for more information about your company, and you’ll want them to have something to latch on to in order to become engaged and interested in the unique culture of your particular small business.

    Invest the time and resources to share your culture and the advantages of working in a small business – such as flexibility in scheduling, skill/job matching, and an inclusionary work environment. By doing so, you’ll find the talent you attract to your small business will be the kind of talent that can push your company to greater success.

    Submitted by:

    Jonathan Jarrell, PHR

    “JJ” is the Director Human Resources for Performance Food Group and is the chapter President for the NCF-SHRM.

    Blog Categories: