6 Ways Small Businesses Can Compete Against Large Firms for Talent

Great companies are made up of great people. Organizations can’t succeed without them. However, small businesses often have difficulty snagging those rock stars. The situation is made even worse when competing with larger companies with deeper pockets and perhaps more attractive benefits.

Best ways small business can compete against large firms

Larger companies won’t be able to keep star employees, but it is still possible. Larger companies may struggle to compete with smaller firms in many ways.

      • The advantages of larger companies in attracting top talent are many.
      • These 6 ways small businesses can compete against large firms.
      • These tips will help you hire top talent using creative methods from some small-business owners.

1. Offer flexible hours and locations

According to Mason Pelt, owner of Dallas-based marketing consultancy Push ROI, working from home at least some of the time is a powerful attractor for many prospective employees

The idea of working in an office every day does not appeal to many people,” Pelt said. It’s a big carrot to offer people remote working days or flexibility to work odd hours.”

His former colleague was nocturnal as well, working all night at a previous job, Pelt noted. Because of the employee’s results and the work he was doing, the company wasn’t concerned about the untraditional arrangement. According to Pelt, they didn’t care, as long as he did the job well.

Float Design owner Larissa Pickens believes flexible work arrangements are a unique benefit that small employers can offer employees. The flexibility and freedom she offers designers at her company has enabled her to attract designers from Inc., Sephora and Calvin Klein.

Pickens explained that his team is distributed, and his employees can work anywhere and at any time. The idea of working on their own terms is such an incentive for millennials, since work-life balance is so important to them.

Millennials aren’t the only ones attracted to flexibility. Work-at-home moms also face this challenge, Pickens said, so she recently started to help match them with meaningful work.

Having flexible, family-friendly working conditions would allow highly successful women to keep a toe in the professional world after leaving the workforce, Pickens writes. The same applies to small businesses, which can now gain access to experienced creative talent they would otherwise not have access to. My excitement about the possibilities stems from my role as a work-at-home mom and business owner.”

2. Don’t be constrained by typical hiring processes

Many large corporations develop hiring rules that automatically disqualify candidates for reasons that aren’t valid, Pelt said. Degree requirements are a good example.

Pelt said that a lack of a degree does not imply that one lacks talent. Software firm jobs requiring a bachelor’s degree would exclude Mark Zuckerberg [founder and CEO of Facebook].

3. Ge creative with perks 

Unlike Uber for lawn mowing, Nashville-based GreenPal offers its employees a music room, run by owner Gene Caballero. “Many of our employees play music for fun or as part of their careers,” Caballero said.

In addition to allowing employees to indulge in what they love at work, providing an area for them to play instruments has many benefits. The visual, auditory and motor cortexes of the brain are all stimulated by playing an instrument, Caballero said. We can use the strength we gain through music to apply to other activities, such as creativity, since the brain is a muscle.

4. Play to strengths

Employees need to be able to fit into their workplace’s culture. There is a distinct difference between those who thrive in a corporate environment and those who thrive in a small business environment. A good way to distinguish between the workplace culture and the corporate culture is to focus on the workplace culture.

Ben Walker, CEO of Transcription Outsourcing LLC, based in Denver, explained that the company is small enough to implement decisions almost immediately. The process is transparent and free of red tape. In contrast to large corporate jobs, which move slowly and seem robotic, small businesses can be exciting and change rapidly at times. I don’t want to do that. The excitement of what can happen if we do things right is what we show people when we want to hire them away.”

Small businesses should focus on what they can offer rather than what they cannot, says Rebecca Barnes-Hogg, CEO of YOLO Insights in Little River, South Carolina.

Star employees can be involved in the business’ heart and soul by working with the owners of a small business, Barnes-Hogg said. The creation of innovative products and taking calculated risks are common traits for small businesses. Small businesses are able to act more quickly on ideas and feedback because there are no layers of bureaucracy to get through.”

5. Show prospective hires exactly what it’s like to work for you 

The goal of Barnes-Hogg is to create a trail of accomplishments and contributions for prospective hires through social media by trumpeting employees’ accomplishments. When it comes to working for your company, make sure to ask your best employees: “What are the coolest things about it?” Their answers will guide you to creating a “hiring story” that you can talk about with prospective employees.

Employers can be highlighted in videos that you produce, Barnes-Hogg said. You can use this to promote some of your less desirable positions. Your accounting staff can work with Habitat for Humanity to build a house or your maintenance staff can help with tax preparation.”

6. Give a sense of meaning

According to Barnes-Hogg, millennials are especially concerned about this. The biggest concern for millennials is knowing that their work matters and makes a difference.

This is also true in Pelt’s business. Generally, people want to feel that they are contributing to something worthwhile, Pelt explained. In a small company, you can have a huge impact even as a low-level employee. It’s more important to me to make a greater impact with my work than to take more money.”

According to Barnes-Hogg, we are all humans at the end of the day. Small businesses with a personable and truthful culture will be more attractive to top talent if they are honest about what it’s like to work there.

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