You would think with today’s economy that all you would have to do to attract employees would be to stick a sign in the window of your business that said “Hiring” or place an advertisement in the local newspaper and then pick a new employee out of the hundreds that applied. However, as needs become increasingly more technical and specialized, jobs for businesses small and large are going unfilled – even with today’s surplus of available labor.
However, this situation doesn’t mean you should give up on hiring new staff. In many ways, small businesses have an advantage in hiring because all things being equal, there are many qualified candidates who would prefer to work for a small business. The following tips for attracting employees will help you increase your company’s chances of finding the specialized staff that you need.
1. Find out what the going rate is for the available position and insure that your company is at least matching it.
One common mistake many small business owners make when creating a position is to base the salary on their budget rather than market realities. This strategy serves to insure that their employee recruitment efforts will be unsuccessful. Why should the most qualified prospects work for your company at a lower wage when they can earn more with your competitor?
2. Offer a comprehensive employee benefit program; and remember, not all benefits cost money.
In situations where a prospective employee has the qualifications that allow them to pick and choose, an excellent employee benefit program can move your company into the preferred position. For successful employee recruitment, your company needs to offer employees life, medical and dental coverage at a minimum. If your small business does not have an employee benefits program, it’s time to speak with your insurance company about setting one up. You can often achieve cost efficiencies in the purchase of those benefits by joining business organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce where you can take advantage of their larger group rates for members. Additionally, don’t forget about the small things that can be of big importance to employees because they add to their quality-of-life; items such as: flex-time, birthday’s off, personal days, paid time off to perform community service work, bringing pets to work, etc. can provide a nice incentive that set you apart from other companies competing for these highly-qualified employees.
3. Make lifestyle part of your employee recruitment offer.
Since many employees today are just as concerned about quality-of-life as they are about the amount of money a position offers, the area your business is located in can be an added benefit toward luring prime employee talent. If you’re fortunate enough to be located in an area with great skiing, beaches, extensive hiking/biking trails, excellent golf courses, limited traffic issues, great weather or other attractive features, be certain to emphasize those benefits during conversations with prospective employees.
4. Emphasize the benefits your small business offers that many companies do not.
Make your company more attractive to potential employees by offering things such as work-at-home or flex-time options, Adoption Assistance, Education Assistance, On-site Daycare, In-chair Massages, or other benefits that provide the potential employee an added incentive to join your company.
5. Find creative ways to offer perks similar to those of ‘the big guys’.
As a small business, you may not be able to offer the perks large corporate companies are able to offer their employees due to cost – but you may be able to offer a reasonable facsimile. For instance, many large companies offer on-site health facilities such as a fully equipped gym. Chances are good that as a small business, you’re not going to be able to add one of these to your premises, but you might be able to offer employees coupons to use local gym or spa facilities, or a company-paid gym membership.
6. Offer employees opportunities for advancement.
Most employees aren’t looking for jobs where they’ll do the same thing for the next thirty years. Typically they are seeking a position that offers opportunity for advancement, as well as a way to insure they achieve that advancement. For example, will your company offer the chance to develop new skills? Do you have an actual career-path designated for new employees which insures their ability to advance? Do you offer a mentor program in which they can learn the best ways to succeed within the company? All of these programs provide added incentive for a prospective employee to choose your company.
7. Create an employee incentive program to drive performance.
Employee incentive programs not only reward good employee performance, they also give prospective employees something to look forward to if they select your company. Whether it’s an annual company-paid retreat, a program where employees collect points that they can trade in for cash, or awards that are highly-recognized and coveted within the company and/or your industry, employee incentive programs can increase your chances of attracting the most qualified employees.
8. Institute a profit-sharing program.
There’s possibly no better way to incentivize an employee’s performance and loyalty than to give them a stake in the company’s success. A business that appears to be on an upward trend – and provides profit sharing – can be a powerful inducement to motivate quality recruits to join your firm.
9. Sweeten the pot – up-front!
When competition for the best employees is fierce, a plain old signing bonus may be what’s needed to move the needle in your direction. If you elect to add such a program, there are two things to keep in mind: 1) The signing bonus has to be large enough to matter, and 2) the signing bonus must be contingent upon remaining with the company for “x” amount of time or it will require repayment. (Otherwise you’ll have a revolving door as people sign up, take the money and run.)
10. Broaden the scope of your advertising.
It’s not enough anymore to place an ad in the ‘Help Wanted’ section of the local newspaper. In today’s hiring environment, it’s imperative that you place advertising in online job boards, in trade association publications/online media, and that you post them in a wide variety of social media such as LinkedIN and Twitter.
It also helps to get your current staff involved in the employee recruitment process as they already have knowledge of the company culture and can typically identify those who will ‘fit’ and those who won’t. Signing bonuses can be made available to those who successfully refer a new employee.
There are many qualified people who can do the work you need done, no matter how specialized; you just need to develop the right incentives for them to select your company over others they may be evaluating. Make sure you utilize every conversation with an employee as an opportunity to ‘sell’ the advantages of working for your firm to insure that you can build the best-qualified, most highly-motivated team possible.