How small firms can attract and retain talent

Job seeker

Soraya Shaw, managing director of Springboard Coaching, looks at how small businesses can become a magnet for talented individuals.

When up against the global reputations and massive marketing budgets of established City firms, smaller firms can get overlooked by ambitious high-fliers. However, you don’t have to lose out; recognise and enhance your attributes as an employer and then use them to attract those priceless individuals.

Making the most out of small company culture

Do you know what’s great about working for your company? Ask your people and think about what you’ve got that big firms lack. For example new recruits can often feel their contribution gets lost in a blue-chip company, whereas playing a part in a small company’s growth can be very appealing. You can gain a reputation for giving people a real role in steering the company into the future by enhancing the opportunities for new recruits to make their mark.

Some benefits of working for a small company include more varied roles, greater involvement. the scope to innovate, greater flexibility, more personable and promotion opportunities.

Robert Half

Many job seekers are prioritizing flexible work arrangements. Research shows demand for flexible work is growing: 81% of UK employees feel that flexible working makes a job more attractive to them; 79% believe flexible working would make them more productive; 92% of millennials identify flexibility as a top priority when job hunting; 35% of UK employees would prefer flexible working rather than a pay rise; 80% of women want flexibility in their next role and 52% of men want flexibility in their next role.

Bridge the incentive gap

Many large and established companies will offer a range of material incentives to attract talented new recruits such as a company car or a free laptop. Smaller companies can rarely offer these kind of expensive extras, but luckily that’s not all talented individuals are looking for.

Professionals at the start of their career want a working environment in which they can flourish and a company which they feel proud of. Small companies can bridge the incentive gap by offering new recruits a rewarding environment, where everyone can really see the progress they are making and the vital role they are playing in the larger context of the company.

“Organizations should ground their rewards strategies in their organization’s unique culture and objectives and focus on curating employment brands that highlight how their rewards are different from those of their competitors. For example, organizations that need to attract large numbers of highly educated early-career workers might promote its innovative approach to helping employees deal with student debt. An organization with a business model built on agility, meanwhile, might highlight its frequent compensation review cycles and agile rewards offerings compared to organizations with a more typical year-end process.”

An ethical approach

Ambitious people want to be a part of something good and strong company ethics are much easier to maintain in a younger organisation. Instilling strong values and ethics that are lived throughout your business can help attract and retain the kind of talented employees that will be an influential part of your business’ future.

Almost half the workforce (42%) now want to work for an organisation that has a positive impact on the world, according to research carried out by consultancy Global Tolerance. The survey of more than 2,000 people in the UK found 44% thought meaningful work that helped others was more important than a high salary and 36% would work harder if their company benefitted society.

Matthew Jenkin, The Guardian

Offer real responsibility

Talented individuals are looking for a chance to make a difference through their professional life so it is vital that your business is prepared to listen to people on the lowest level and act on their best ideas from the very beginning. The best people want a chance to steer a company towards its future goals, so if you want real talent you have to offer real opportunities.

Create a supportive environment

It is vital that new recruits feel engaged and very much part of the company culture. If your core values are lived and breathed through the management and communicated to all levels of the organisation your company will become a nicer place to work.

Company ethics, a positive internal culture and opportunities for new recruits to make a difference have all become factors when it comes to attracting the most talented individuals. Focusing on these things will help secure a sustainable future for your company.

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