5 Ways Small Businesses Can Attract and Retain Top Talent

As a small business owner, you’ve probably struggled to attract the right employees for your business. You may have also experienced difficulties of trying to keep top talent engaged, motivated and satisfied once they’ve been hired. Don’t worry, you’re not alone.

Many small and medium-sized businesses across Canada face the same difficulty of trying to find the right employee for the job. The reality is that the job market has become more competitive than ever before. Baby boomers are retiring in large waves, with millennials looking to fill those positions. They’re turning their heads towards businesses that provide a healthy blend of a competitive salary, work-life balance, career growth, and comprehensive, albeit sometimes extravagant, benefits packages.

There are companies such as Google that are well-known for their over-the-top employee benefits. This includes lunches made by a professional chef, biweekly chair massages, yoga classes, and haircuts. Twitter provides its employees with benefits such as three catered meals per day, laundry and dry cleaning services, and on-site acupuncture. There are also smaller businesses that have gained much attention for their exceptional benefits, such as giving free books and reimbursing employees vacation expense.

You may not be able to afford Google or Twitter-sized benefits. So how should you compete against other employers to attract and retain quality employees? Firstly, you don’t need to break the bank to offer valuable benefits and provide a great working environment.

Here are some ways to retain your current employees and attract top talent.

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Offer Competitive Pay

This is the most important point that many small business owners neglect. They determine their employees pay based on their budget. That should not be the case. You should determine your employees’ salary based on the marketplace, what others in their position are making, and how competitive the position is. Then you match their salary based on that.

Get Rid of the 9-5 Mentality

This option can include work from home days (maybe on Fridays and dialing in for important meetings) or coming in to work early and leaving early. Your employees will then feel valued, respected, and will be more energized by eliminating the time spent on commuting to and from work each day. It will also enable them to focus their energy on work-related initiatives.

Also, if you don’t have any allergies to pets, it’s also a good idea to allow people to bring their pets to work (for mental and emotional support!)

Support and Train Employees

Many top talents crave and are attracted to great leadership. They are most satisfied when employers support and empower their decision-making and nurture their creativity. As a small business owner, you should focus on your employees’ professional development by providing them with resources they require to perform better and deliver high-quality results.

It’s important to provide sufficient training and mentorship from the very beginning. Based on research done by Harvard Business Review, many high-performing managers stated that they did not receive the type of support and coaching they thought they would get. Out of frustration, they would then spend the majority of their working hours scrolling through job listings. As a small business owner, you can tout a mentorship or coaching opportunity with someone from another company or in a senior level position to pass on their wisdom.

You can also provide your employees with education and skill-building opportunities. This can include tuition reimbursement for a technical course that would be of use to your industry. This can expand your employees’ horizon and enable them to see strong career growth opportunities with your company.

Acknowledge Employees Hard Work

Give them a pat on the back! But most importantly, providing consistent feedback is a good way to show that you value their work and are invested in their professional development. This doesn’t have to be anything elaborate or fancy. It could be something as little as verbal or written feedback, or a token of appreciation, like a gift card to a local coffee shop, a one-on-one lunch, or tickets to their favourite sporting event! It’s important to make your employees feel appreciated.

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Provide Competitive Benefits

Besides a competitive salary and a work-life balance, top talents seek great rewards programs. As mentioned earlier in the article, small perks don’t have to break the bank. Some of these benefits listed below can improve team cohesiveness and keep your employees happier and motivated:

  • Special parking privileges
  • Snacks and refreshments (the healthier, the better!)
  • Occasional gift cards & event tickets
  • Health insurance
  • Paid lunches once a month
  • Fitness/wellness subsidies
  • Transit passes
  • Paid time off for conferences, webinars/ seminars

As a business owner, you must adopt a leadership role and mindset. When you are attentive to your employees’ needs and constantly provide them with perks, support, and training as needed, you ultimately create a happier workforce. You will also attract top talent, that when happy, are willing to do anything in their power to make your business move forward and grow at a fast pace.