How a small business can attract & retain top talent

Friday, 29th September 2017

When it comes to offering incentives to your team it can be difficult for smaller businesses to compete with the global companies. When they can deliver health insurance, generous pension plans, lavish meal allowances and exclusive gym memberships, what are small businesses to do?! Technically they could offer the same benefits, but there would be no profit. No need to despair; there are ways to attract the top talent out there and retain them for your small business. Often you will find that you end up with that personal touch that big corporations just cannot provide.

No boundaries

From an employee's perspective being involved with different facets of the company is valuable and something that larger companies cannot provide. They can gain vast experiences and knowledge this way making them appreciate the opportunities you have given. Any ambitious person can explore HR, sales, finance or marketing while working within a small business and can learn so much more than the rigid structures big organizations enforce. The corporate world forces them to go through specific channels and levels to obtain any upward movement. You can give this to them with much more ease.

Make it personal

Larger companies have too many employees to allow them for personal touches or special treatment. HR processes are meticulously followed and keep a very rigid structure in place. Small business owners have the flexibility to offer training and development for each individual person. There are less rules so you can cater to an employee's interests and needs, helping them to develop a particular skill and their overall potential. It makes it easier and quicker for them to attain their goals and they can rise to higher levels in the business and in return get more in terms of responsibility and shares.

It is not uncommon for small business owners to help their employees develop skills, such as sending them on courses and conferences to learn new things. When you can empower your employees to better themselves, they develop a sense of loyalty to you and the business. As you work more closely with your team each day, it is easier to identify their talents and needs. You can then offer them incentive packages that best suit them; working from home, later start times, flexibility during holidays and much more. You are able to develop and foster a closer relationship with them which will serve individuals and the team as a whole much better.

The fear of loss

Of course, there is always the risk that when you invest so much into a person, they can take their skills and knowledge to a competitor. While this can seem like a loss, you need to consider the individual. There is only so much progress a person can mane within small businesses and you don't want to hinder someone’s full potential. You may recognize certain employees as having a bigger future that you just cannot provide. In these cases, it is always best to continue to support them and maintain a positive relationship. You never know, they may be back with new insights that can take your business to the next level.

It is not fair to make promises to them that you cannot deliver so if you see their potential, tell them. When you are not able to deliver on your promises you risk creating mistrust and a bad professional relationship. Rather than forcing them to look elsewhere, offer your support and encouragement. This enhances your business reputation as well as your own as a manger. You will have a loyal ex-employee that may return and you now have a reputation for treating your staff well; this will mean you have more recruits lined up and ready to join you.

Plan your potential

When you monitor your talent closely you can easily identify those that need a challenge and those that are holding you back. It is recommended to use a nine-box grid system you can figure out which category your staff belong in. As an example if you may have a highly talented individual ready to advance, the high-performed that does not show much more potential or desire to grow but will work steadily and efficiently. You can also have the average performer who needs a little support and direction and also the low performer that needs to be managed or removed.

When you spend effort and money on a person you accept the risks that come with it. In the business world, there is no way to protect yourself from every loss. You also need to beware of those with bad character that can easily take advantage of your good nature. When you work closely with people, you develop a bond and it is important to nurture that. Discover their needs and help them to better themselves; they will end up providing valuable services for you in return. Good talent is hard to come by, so when you find it you need to hold on to it for as long as you can. Just remember that when the time is right, you may need to let them go and this is not a bad thing.

Making sure you have the talented team you’re looking for

Building your own team of talented individuals is a great way to help take your start up to a small business, and drive forward in your industry. Take a look at what your company has to offer, add benefits if you can but if you can’t just yet, take a look at why your business is different to your competitors, you’d be amazed at how elements such as sheer drive and ambition can help to attract talent to your business.

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