7 Tips for Small Businesses to Attract and Keep Top Talent

Workers are showing an increasing willingness and ability to leave their jobs for other opportunities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of employees who quit their jobs rose by more than 400,000 from January 2014 to January 2015, reported ADP. Because of the competition for talent, it can be difficult to attract and retain skilled workers.

Consider the following tips to help your business find and keep top performers:

  1. Build a strong company culture. Shared values and practices can shape employee behavior and foster loyalty and commitment. Assess your current culture by conducting employee satisfaction surveys and speaking with supervisors. If it differs from what you want, develop a plan for moving toward your desired goal. Reinforce your culture and values through communication, rules, procedures, and management style.
  2. Be a leader people want to follow. Part of being a leader is earning employees’ respect and trust. To do this, openly communicate the company’s accomplishments and challenges. Give employees an honest assessment of their performance. Additionally, reward and celebrate team wins.
  3. Target the right talent. Elevated turnover rates may point to a problem with hiring practices. Look at your hiring process to make sure you’re able to find candidates with the best company fit. Do you have accurate job descriptions? Are you looking in the right places? Are you properly screening applicants? Are you getting employees started on the right foot?
  4. Create an attractive compensation package. An attractive compensation package can put your company ahead of its competitors. The right mix of direct compensation (wages, salaries, commissions, and bonuses) and indirect compensation (health insurance, paid time off, retirement plans, etc.) is key. Decide on a total compensation mix that balances attracting and retaining top talent with keeping labor costs under control.
  5. Recognize and reward top performers. A clear connection between performance and recognition is a powerful motivator for many employees. Recognition can come in the form of an “Employee of the Month” program, an announcement in company communications, or a note from a supervisor or head of the company. Rewards can be monetary (merit-based pay raises or bonuses)or non-monetary (special privileges like parking in the CEO’s spot).
  6. Offer cost-effective perks. Perks, such as paid time off, commuter assistance, and employee discounts, may be more affordable than you think. Flexible work arrangements, such as working from home, are also attractive for many employees. Consider using employee surveys to determine which perks employees value the most and develop a program that aligns with your budget.
  7. Train and develop employees. Provide employees with training and development opportunities to promote retention and commitment. Engage employees on a regular basis to determine their training needs and career development interests. Consider internal and external training opportunities, mentoring, job shadowing, and professional development classes. Tuition reimbursement is also an attractive perk.

For a small business, the loss of even one employee can have a significant impact on success. With the job market heating up, now is the time to develop and execute a plan for retaining your current employees—and attracting new ones.

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