Bigger isn’t always better. Don’t let your company size diminish the valuable job opportunities you have to offer
The war for talent can be particularly challenging for small businesses, as they often have fewer resources and a smaller pool of candidates to draw from compared to larger companies. However, there are steps that small businesses can take to compete effectively for top talent and build a strong, successful organization. Here are a few strategies to compete against large companies in the war for talent:
Develop a strong employer brand
A strong employer brand can help small businesses stand out in the crowded job market and attract top talent. This includes promoting the unique culture and values of the organization, highlighting the opportunities for growth and development, and emphasizing the positive impact that employees can have on the company. For example, allowing employees to film authentic social media content sharing their experiences working at your company can help you cut through the noise in a crowded talent attraction space. To further strengthen your employer brand, you can adopt a candidate-centric mindset. Putting an emphasis on what the job seeker will get out of the role and the impact they can have, rather than the tasks they’ll be doing, and quickly reaching out to applicants to move them through the process will help you stand out against larger companies with slower, more robotic processes.
While small businesses may not be able to match the salaries and benefits offered by larger companies, they can still be competitive by offering things like flexible work arrangements, professional development opportunities, and a supportive work environment. Larger companies likely have stricter, well-defined policies regarding working hours and time off to ensure employees across the company are equitably treated. As a small business, take advantage of your ability to make decisions and provide flexibility when it comes to location, time, and frequency of your employee’s shifts. Highlight this near the top of your job descriptions instead of squeezing it in at the end so you can catch the reader’s eye right away.
Provide ownership and autonomy
Junior employees in large companies are often on the receiving end of tedious tasks. They complete the tasks and move to the next ones on the list without always understanding the significance of their contributions. As a small business, consider involving employees in decision making processes. Ask for their opinions or ideas for projects and let them lead the implementation of their ideas. For example, rearranging product displays to align with shopping patterns, updating the company website, or strategizing and filming a social media campaign. Communicating these opportunities for ownership and autonomy while attracting talent will help differentiate your business from the competition.
Focus on employee development
A recent survey of 113 job seekers conducted by FindWRK revealed that, “exciting growth opportunities,” was the top reason why job seekers choose one job over another. You don’t need to have massive learning and development budgets or established learning management systems to help your employees develop. Providing personalized and ongoing development opportunities such as job shadowing or cross-functional training can help small businesses retain top talent and fill skill gaps within the organization. By investing in employee development, small businesses can create a strong, knowledgeable workforce that can compete with larger companies.
Build a culture of respect
Gallup’s 2015 study found that 75% of job seekers left their job because of poor managers. Poor management often stems from micromanagement – when managers closely control every part of an individual’s activity. Fostering a culture of support and training your managers to be respectful and compassionate can help differentiate your business from larger counterparts. Trusting your employees to effectively do their jobs while providing support that isn’t overbearing is key.
By implementing these strategies and focusing on unique strengths and values, small businesses can effectively compete against larger companies in the war for talent and build a successful, sustainable organization.