How Small Businesses Can Compete for Top Talent

No matter the size, type, or location of your business, hiring the right talent plays a critical role in your venture’s success. High performing employees can help you grow faster, run smoother, and have a direct impact on your bottom line. As a small business owner, hiring the right people can be tricky – especially when you may be competing with much larger enterprises for the same resources.

Be Your Own Competitive Advantage

The good news is that you may have more of an advantage than you think when it comes to hiring the right candidates. As a small employer, you may be able to offer perks and opportunities that larger companies cannot – which can make you more attractive to new grads and experienced professionals alike.

Think critically about the perks that your business offers its employees. Are you doing all that you could to make your business a desirable place to work while retaining an eye on costs?

Flexible work arrangements, a casual work environment, and organized fitness activities like lunchtime power walks are some low-cost ways to distinguish yourself amongst other businesses in your area competing for the same top talent. These benefits can also help foster a tighter knit social community within your business, which could have the added bonus of boosting morale, productivity, and company loyalty.

Reap the Benefits

Traditional benefits are an important factor in attracting top talent – and healthcare is top of mind for businesses and employees alike. With evolving laws, it is a good idea to understand how healthcare reform and the Affordable Care Act impact your business. There may be options available for improving health insurance affordability: visit the Small Business Administration’s website for more information.

With so much attention on healthcare, it’s easy to forget about fringe benefits like supplemental insurance and retirement plans. These benefits can round out your benefits package and help you compete with larger employers in your area for top talent.

While many small business owners worry that offering these benefits will be cost prohibitive, there may be affordable and flexible options available. For example, some businesses may be able to offer group insurance on a voluntary basis. Disability insurance such as The Hartford’s DisabilityFLEX,SM for instance, is a group disability insurance product that is 100% employee paid and can be customized based on individual needs. While this product is only available to businesses with 50 or more employees, there may be other products available for smaller businesses as well. Talk with your agent or broker for help in designing an affordable benefits package that’s right for your business and your employees.

Know People

One strategy for finding the right talent for your business is simple networking. Not only can networking be a great way to discover talent – but it can also help you build important business relationships. To get started networking, you may want to check out conferences or chamber of commerce events in your area. You can also connect with people via LinkedIn or perhaps try reaching out to local universities to connect with new grads. These tactics can help you find talent and they come with the added benefit of creating awareness about your business. Even if you don’t find the perfect new hires, you may discover other rewards from networking such as creating new business relationships or partnerships (think quid pro quo marketing arrangements with other business owners in your area).

Articulate Your Vision

In attracting top talent, nothing may be more important than generating enthusiasm around your vision and strategy. The good news is that in a small business, employees often have more direct impact on the bottom line. If a prospective employee is on board with your vision, having the responsibility of helping to make that vision a reality can be a rewarding and motivating benefit, and sometimes can be reason enough for a talented individual to want to move to a smaller company.

Being able to articulate your business strategy and past successes to prospective employees is critical in instilling confidence in your venture. Job seekers sometimes question the stability of small businesses and worry about the longevity of the enterprise – a phenomenon that is especially true of start-ups and young businesses. So just as a well-written business plan can woo potential investors, a well-constructed vision and strategy can woo potential employees.

Hiring the right talent is a key factor in the long term success of your enterprise. Remember that the small size of your business doesn’t preclude you from attracting the best and brightest in your area; rather, your small size can be your biggest advantage.

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