Attracting top talent to your small business

OldStoryImageYou’ve probably heard that big businesses have the advantage when it comes to luring top talent simply because of their brand recognition. For example, Google lures top programmers, web marketers, and other Internet specialists based on name recognition and for being known for having a culture where it is fun to work. The same can be said about Southwest Airlines. From the leaders on down, Southwest employees believe in “The Golden Rule,” which means treating each other the way they want to be treated. When potential employees hear about that kind of culture, it makes them eager to join.

So the question is, “How do you, as a small business owner, mimic big businesses and attract the same talent?”

1. Make your company’s value known.

Define what your company can tout as differentiators that would appeal to potential top employees. Look at your current successes, your culture, your products and your customer base. Once you’ve identified what makes you different, spread the word. Promote your special features on your website and everywhere people are likely to have contact with you.

Additionally, let both candidates and current employees know your vision for the future and what you expect your business to look like five years from now.

2. Make sure candidates understand the advantages of working in a small business.

Specifically, when they work for a smaller establishment like yours, they’ll become a voice in the company’s vision and mission, and will help steer the course. They’ll also have a closer relationship with the owners than they’d get at a larger company.

3. Show candidates how small companies often offer more flexibility.

If an employee needs to work from home due to personal reasons, a small business owner is likely to be more accommodating, for example. Also, the small business owner may be more open to job sharing.

4. Let candidates know your company will allow them to play to their strengths.

Small business can’t afford to waste talented people in unproductive jobs so if, for example, you discover a candidate who has a knack for the creative and for seeing the big picture, but falters when it comes to details, make sure the person knows you’ll steer him or her toward your strategy and quality improvement initiatives and away from your process documentation and repetitive data entry efforts.

5. Tell candidates that regardless of the position, they’ll be more than just an employee ID number.

Explain that their skills will contribute to the success of the company, that they will be respected more as part of the family, and that they’ll sincerely add value. And make sure they understand their accomplishments will be recognized and highlighted through mediums such as formal and informal recognition programs, newsletters, meetings and appraisals.

6. Take advantage of social media outlets, such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube to highlight employee events and community involvement.

Tie these events back to your vision, mission and values. Prospective employees will be scouring the Internet for more information about your company, and you’ll want them to have something to latch on to in order to become engaged and interested in the unique culture of your particular small business.

Invest the time and resources to share your culture and the advantages of working in a small. By doing so, you’ll find the talent you attract to your small business will be the kind of talent that can push your company to greater success.

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