You're an entrepreneur and you love what you do. But that means you also run a small company, and it can be frustrating when trying to find and land the best employees. The "cream of the crop" talent, who everyone covets, have many options—so how can you find the best candidates and make them choose you?
Do you need to offer better-than-average salaries? Do you need to create the same perks that a big company can offer? Not necessarily. If you look closely, you'll see that you can have just as good a chance of hiring top talent than any large corporation.
As for me, I've been on both sides of the table. I've worked in very large companies and now, as an entrepreneur, I run very small companies. While I don't have the budget to pay larger salaries, I do make it a point to learn from my team members what is important to them. Do they want to work on an exciting project? Do they want the freedom to stay home? There are many things beyond a high salary and a fancy game room that you can offer employees (and contractors) to help you recruit amazing talent on a small budget.
I'll share some specific actions you can take to do this, but first, let's begin by pointing out some truths.
Money is not the only deciding factor for whether someone accepts a job offer.
In our culture, we are so focused on how big our bank account is that we often overlook the desire for a quality life. Many people who can afford mansions, fancy cars and exotic vacations barely have any time to enjoy any of these things. They work long, hard hours and barely see their families.
These days, companies are coming to understand that employees want a work/life balance. They want options, such as the option to work from home. Don't stress if you don't have the budget to match a big-name company. Instead, focus on the non-monetary rewards you can offer your employees instead.
Employees don't want to feel like a number—they want to feel part of something bigger than themselves.
The larger a company gets, the more employees can feel disconnected from the company mission. How often does the average worker talk to the owner of the company? Do they even know the name of the CEO or what he or she looks like?
Humans want connection. They want to feel like they belong. They want to feel like their actions make a difference. So, if they are part of a business where most people don't even know their name, then they may not feel a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. In a smaller company, you can give less-senior employees the chance to learn and grow with you.
Actions You Can Take to Help Attract—And Keep—The Best Employees
1. Give big jobs to new employees.
No one really wants to start at the bottom. Let's face it—most people want to start somewhere up the corporate ladder, not down. In smaller companies such as your own, you can do that. You have the freedom to give qualified candidates whatever jobs you think they are capable of doing. That's attractive to many job seekers.
2. Give them flexible schedules.
This one is huge for most employees. Our society is getting to the point where many people can work virtually from their home—and many do. Also, if you're hiring young talent, they almost expect that to be an option. They want as much flexibility as they can get, so give it to them if you can.
3. Give senior management a higher title—they might be willing to sacrifice higher pay for it.
The title that someone carries can have a sense of prestige attached to it (or lack thereof). For example, let's say it is someone's job is to hang signs at a retailer during the third shift. If they are called a “Sign Hanger" that doesn't sound very attractive. But if they are a “Signing Specialist," that sounds like they have more responsibility and it will make them feel better. It's not just about the play on words. People can feel a better sense of self if they have a higher job title. And as a result, they may perform better work, too.
4. Offer competitive salaries to stay on par with the big companies.
You might not think that's an option. (Or, as discussed, is not the primary criteria employees look for anyway. But it does still matter to some.) So how can you possibly match the budget of the large corporations? Of course, it might not be easy, but this is where you will have to get creative. Maybe you could charge slightly higher prices so you can afford to attract and keep top talent. It might just be worth it.
The Bottom Line
Hopefully, by now you realize that attracting high-quality employees isn't as difficult as you might think. There are many things to consider, and these are just a few ideas. But if you put some thought and energy into implementing a recruitment plan, you can be just as attractive to job seekers as larger corporations.