How to Attract Employees as a Small Business

The big business down the street is offering whopping benefit packages to attract talented employees. It’s enough to make you think you can’t compete. Or can you? Maybe the answer isn’t to match big business; it’s to stay small. Learn how to attract employees by offering what only a small business can provide.

The qualities that make customers choose you over big business are the same ones that can tip the recruiting scale in your favor. Focus on creating a culture that reflects your strengths, and then look for opportunities to promote them.

Here are some ways to attract (and retain) quality employees the small-business way:

Help employees grow.

One advantage of being small is that you often get to wear many hats. That means employees get exposed to all aspects of your business. That’s a great training ground for someone starting out or changing direction. Sixty percent of millennials say the opportunity to learn and grow on the job is extremely important.

How to promote it: Talk about the range of experience an applicant might get in your business. Give specific examples of opportunities and get their feedback on which might interest them.

Welcome them to the family.

Working in a business with 10 employees can be very different than in a larger company. In a small business, you get to know all the people you work with; they help you out when you need it, and they have fun doing it. That’s the making of a cohesive team and can be a powerful component of job satisfaction.

How to promote it: Introduce candidates to your employees during the interview process. It’s a great way for them to get a sense of family and how they support each other.

Offer flexibility.

Money isn’t the only thing that people look for in a job. Work-life balance is also important. How will they juggle the demands of work, family, and school? Big companies may be bound by one-size-fits-all policies, but small businesses often have more flexibility. For example, working from home or variable schedules give people more flexibility to balance work and home.

How to promote it: If available, list flextime as a job benefit. When you meet with them, discuss the possibility of flexible work schedules so they can take a class at the community college or to accommodate changes in their childcare schedule when school’s out for summer.

Create unique bennies.

Your benefit package may not include a 401(k) Plan, but you can still draw potential employees, if you’re willing to get a little creative. Focus on what is most meaningful and reflects your unique culture. Here are some lower-cost examples: pet-friendly work environment, option to work 10-hour days and take Friday off, cater-in Taco Tuesday, or opportunities to volunteer in the community during the workday. Each of these creates an overall experience that defines your culture.

How to promote it: Invite prospective employees to attend an employee event so they can see firsthand what it’s like to work at your small business.

Just because big business offers benefit-rich incentives doesn’t mean small businesses can’t attract their share of quality employees. The trick is to stay small and use these ideas to promote your small business strengths.

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