Last week’s post focused on developing a compelling story and best practice initiatives for small business to appeal to the hearts and minds of talented candidates. There are many ways a small business can create a workplace that attracts qualified candidates. A recent survey of 568 Canadian small business owners with two to 100 employees asked: What kinds of benefits, options and perks do small business owners highlight when trying to lure top employees to their company? (American Express Small Business Monitor and Angus Reid Public Opinion via Globe and Mail) and the results were interesting. I’ve included my comments from an HR perspective for each method.
Ten Ways Small Business Attracts Talent
Flexible work hours - 70%: People value flexibility. Rigid policies such as concrete start and end times, go against the grain in creative and entrepreneurial environments. Some positions (i.e. receptionist) have no flexibility with start and end times but other positions have more flexibility. Make sure your policies are written and reflect the culture of your organization, yet maintain compliance.
- Independence – 63%: Small business owners often have trouble “letting go.” When you start to grow your organization you need to hire talent and then give them the autonomy and independence to do what they do best. This means giving up some control.
- Work from home options – 41%: Productivity and the end results are what are important. A performance management framework will help recognize and manage productivity and performance no matter where the work is being completed.
- Career development opportunities – 31%: If you invest in your people, you will invest in success. Development can take place through formal training programs, on-the-job-training, coaching, and mentoring. When the opportunity arises, qualifed candidates within your organization are ready and able to take on the challenge.
- Higher pay than offered by other small businesses – 27%: A total compensation strategy will help you understand if you are paying people right. Total compensation consists of base pay, indirect pay (i.e. benefits, vacation), short term variable pay (i.e. bonus), long term variable pay (i.e. profit sharing), and recognition and celebration. I call it the “basket of apples” approach.
- Opportunities for advancement 27%: This doesn’t necessarily mean climbing the “corporate ladder.” Small organizations are flat so there will be less opportunity for advancement up a “corporate ladder.” In small organizations, there is a “lattice” where people can learn and take on challenging projects that provide a broad depth of knowledge. People add skills and knowledge to career porfolios. There will be more opportunities to advance as the company grows.
- Dynamic business culture – 25%: Small organizations can offer an exciting family-like work environment that offers meaningful and challenging work. This provides a great base for story-telling and highlighting the benefits of working in a small organization.
- Profit-sharing – 17%: This is part of your total compensation strategy (long term variable pay) and is part of the “basket of apples” approach to compensation.
- Higher pay than offered by large businesses – 13%: Part of your compensation strategy again. Are you paying above, at, or below market rates? Do you know if you are competitive? Other HR initiatives that are valuable to candidates like vacation time, flex-time, and working from home, reduce the need to pay higher salaries as long as the salary is competitive and fair.
- Comprehensive benefits – 11%: Benefit plans vary and need to be flexible and targeted to the demographics of your organization. Teeth whitening might appeal to a certain group and bridges and caps might appeal to another group.
Just like customers, candidates are sold on emotion, not only the facts and data. Best practice HR initiatives and a compelling story will engage both the mind and the heart of the candidate. When that happens there will be less emphasis on compensation.
Give us a call if you would like to develop a compelling story and best practice HR initiatives that will attract talented candidates. We can also develop a recruiting system and tools focussed on your business and industry, and educate your staff on how to use them effectively. We’ll teach you how to fish and attract talented candidates to your organization.
Best regards, Joanne
Joanne Royce, Royce & Associates – Human Resources & Training Solutions -Creating Happy, Healthy, & Productive Workplaces.