Hiring and retaining top talent is such an important aspect of a small business, particularly one which is service-based. With the right team, your small business can grow, expand, thrive and often outshine the competition. Now, more than ever, attracting and keeping top talent is incredibly hard. I’m not only an expert business coach, I used to operate a Recruitment Agency many years ago, between those two aspects and having over 25 team in my prior business, I know a thing or two on this subject. So … let’s dive in.
Hiring & Retaining Top Talent
1. Maintain a Strong Employer Brand
Establishing a strong employer brand is essential to attract top people. Your employer brand represents your company’s reputation as an employer and is what potential candidates perceive about your organisation. To build a strong employer brand, start by highlighting your company’s values and culture on your website, social media platforms, and job postings. Highlight what makes your small business unique and a great place to work. Remember, top talent is often particularly interested in companies that align with their own values and offer a positive work environment. In essence, become the employer that people want to work at. Most employees work because they need a paycheque, but why they stay with a particular business (or not) is more than about money. It’s about what they get from work; feeling valued, appreciated, opportunities to learn or advance, or perhaps great job satisfaction. We basically sleep a third of the day and work half the rest of the time; so we want that 50% of our waking hours to be enjoying, satisfying and invigorating.
2. Craft Engaging Job Descriptions
When creating job descriptions, be clear and concise about the necessary qualifications and skills required for the role. Describe the responsibilities and expectations in detail, but also highlight the opportunities for growth and development within your company. Use engaging language and showcase your company’s culture to make the job description more appealing. Writing a job ad is as much about telling potential applicants what you’re seeking, as well as also ‘selling’ the business. Why should someone apply for this job? What’s great about working at your business? Avoid using jargon or complicated language that may deter potential candidates.
3. Utilise Different Sources
To attract a diverse pool of candidates and get the word out there you need to promote in a number of different locations. Some can be paid (like Seek or Indeed) and others may be free (such as your website or social media groups). There are also, of course, agencies. But again, more than where you advertise is making your job appealing (without lying) and being a place that sounds appealing. For clients, I have a resource around Recruitment & Retention which details all the different ways you can recruit; if you’re a client, ask me. : )
4. Time Streamline Your Hiring Process
Good people go overnight, so whilst you may have a recruitment process, such as the following:
- Reference Check
You must absolutely make this time efficient. You cannot advertise this week and then look at applications in a week’s time and then a week later book interviews. Anyone half-decent will be gone! I’m in no way saying you cut out the steps of your recruitment process, or cut corners, but absolutely move quickly. Time advertising and promotion so that you will have time to immediately interview anyone suitable. Ensure that all team members involved in the hiring process are aligned and committed to making timely decisions. And I will say, if you come across a great person, but haven’t interviewed others, hire! If someone is good, you don’t need other lower quality applicants to reiterate that person is good.
5. Offer Competitive Salaries & Benefits
With competition high to attract the right person, there are a number of things that potential employers are doing to attract top talent. Some strategies are around money, bonuses whilst others are offering flexibility or shorter work weeks or professional development. While small businesses may not always be able to offer the highest salaries, consider other benefits such as flexible working hours, working from home and quality work-life balance. An extra tip, ask your team what they value most – it can be surprising what comes up.
6. Prioritise Employee Development and Growth
Investing in your employees’ development and growth shows that you genuinely care about their long-term success. Provide opportunities for training, workshops, or courses that enable them to acquire new skills and expand their knowledge. Encourage your team to set career goals and work with them to create a development plan. When employees see a path for growth within your business, they are more likely to stay and contribute to its success.
7. Foster a Positive and Supportive Work Environment
Creating a positive and supportive work environment is essential for retaining great people. Encourage open communication, collaboration, and constructive feedback within your team. Recognise and reward the achievements and contributions of your employees to demonstrate their value to the business. Regular team-building activities or social events can also help foster a sense of unity and camaraderie. Employees who feel appreciated and supported are more likely to stay and perform at their best.
8. Make the Most of Your Team
By eliminating the ineffective, repetitive and boring you can use your team for the things that really matter. Chances are too, those ineffective and repetitive tasks are things staff just don’t enjoy. Use technology where you can, digitise (so virtually no filing) and eliminate paperwork. Essentially review your systems and find better ways of doing things, so your team’s time isn’t wasted, they are not bored and you don’t need more people to do things the hard way.
9. Regularly Seek Feedback and Act on it
Listening to the feedback and concerns of your employees is valuable for their engagement and satisfaction. Encourage open and honest feedback on a regular basis, whether through anonymous surveys or regular check-ins. Act on the feedback you receive and make necessary improvements or changes to address any issues. Employees will appreciate that their voices are heard, and their concerns are addressed.
Many years ago, I did a boss review (like a staff review, except my team reviewed me). It was a little scary I will admit, and was managed confidentially by an outside consultant, but it was actually super beneficial. My team felt valued and there was one thing which came out as a negative. To me it was small, but to my team, it was important and once I discovered their need, listened and took action – they were super happy. It was so easy to fix and by having the process that opened up an opportunity to ask and listen, it created a happier team. Sometimes it’s so easy to fix a little niggle and avoid it becoming something very irritating.
As an experienced business coach (and someone who had a large team) I share this expertise and knowledge with my clients. Whether it’s about having a quality recruitment strategy, or as importantly, keeping the great people who are on board, I provide guidance, expertise and skills to help business owners do even better. Naturally, of course, I help clients with marketing, sales, operations, time mastery and much more. If you’d like to know how I could help your business – reach out to me here.