15 unique benefits small businesses can leverage to recruit top talent

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It’s a workers’ market, and businesses in every industry are facing a serious challenge when it comes to attracting and retaining top talent. Until recently, many companies were accustomed to having a number of applicants lobbying and competing for plum posts. But in many cases, the tables have turned, and it’s employers who find themselves having to convince potential employees that they’re the best choice.
The Business Journals

In a highly competitive market, small-business owners may feel they’re at a disadvantage. Many of them can’t offer the higher salaries, varied perks and flexibility of their larger counterparts. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t unique benefits to working for a smaller business — they just need to be pinned down and promoted. Here, 15 members of Business Journals Leadership Trust share some cost-effective and unique benefits that small-business owners can (and should) promote to stand out in the race to sign top talent.

1. Upskilling and reskilling
It may be easier to offer “fun” perks such as happy hours and catered lunches, but those only seem to be short-term culture changes. Try implementing a training or coaching program to help upskill and reskill your workforce. This initiative will show your investment in your workforce and lead to increased morale and loyalty amongst your employees. – Erica Brune, Lever1

2. A fast track to leadership
Small businesses can provide a “fast track” to personal and professional growth. Entrepreneurs can easily spot exceptional talent, see value and worth, and promote from within for a position that may have taken the employee or team member longer to achieve in a larger company. – Elliott Noble-Holt, MediCopy

3. The chance to build something new
Impact and recognition are far more visible in small businesses than in larger ones. There is an opportunity to build and create something new that makes a difference in employee culture, customer experience, workflow efficiencies, revenues and other parts of a business, as opposed to following standard processes. You have the ability to change the way something is done without the red tape. – Sherine Khalil, Valor Compounding Pharmacy

4. More opportunities for professional growth
The best talent is looking to grow professionally, and they want to do it fast. As a smaller company, you need to share your vision for growth and how this growth will provide opportunities that a stagnant, larger company can’t provide. Let them know there is a direct correlation between personal business growth and the growth of the business you are investing your time in. They must choose wisely! – David Barbeito, De La Hoz Perez & Barbeito PLLC

5. Understanding of each person’s unique motivators
Not all people are driven by money. Find out what drives people during the course of discussions, and structure the offer accordingly. I always believe in the mantra, “One should hire for attitude and not just for skills.” Small-business owners must promote this unique benefit to gain top talent: the ability to try different things and to create the story. – Sanjay Jupudi, Qentelli

6. Revenue sharing
One of our biggest benefits — and the one that most resonates with our employees — is that there is no ceiling to the amount of income they can make. We firmly believe in revenue sharing, which allows our staff to become personally invested in the success of the company and see that return in a concrete dollar amount. – Jennifer Wehner, The Wehner Group

7. Deeper team connections
Promote connection with your employees. Communicate the difference that they are making within the company and the larger scope of their communities. Creating a culture where your people take care of each other because they feel valued creates a ripple effect and attracts others to join your team. – Jack Smith, Fortuna Business Management Consulting

8. A variety of experiences
Small businesses have the unique opportunity to more quickly develop skills in their employees and to provide a variety of experiences for them compared to larger businesses. Showing that you are committed to giving team members broader engagement with the company, more decision-making opportunities and more ways to develop overall translates to an enticing advantage that will appeal to top talent. – Kimberly Janson, Janson Associates

9. A ‘family’ culture
Small businesses offer family values rather than corporate norms. There is no doubt that a smaller company has more of a familial aspect and that the owner usually cares deeply about their employees and clients. This culture may also provide employees with more emotional stability during constantly changing times. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne Advertising

10. Schedule flexibility
Small-business owners should highlight their flexibility. The employee experience can be more fulfilling, as there is less red tape. Need to get off 30 minutes early every Thursday to get your daughter to ballet? Let’s get creative and figure it out. It’s the little things that a larger employer might not be willing to entertain. – Justin Livingston, Reflektions Ltd.

11. Opportunities for real impact
Working for a small business provides an opportunity to make an impact on your customers and the business. Many people get frustrated with large companies when they feel the work they are doing doesn’t ultimately matter. Being able to highlight the direct impact team members make is a great benefit to promote. – Laura Doehle, Elevation Business Consulting

12. Access to and interactions with leadership
Smaller companies offer the best opportunity to grow. Passionate people who want exposure to top execs and leadership should look to smaller companies. Many of the folks in these companies have long and storied careers and want to be part of something different. You can learn so much from these individuals and get the best mentorships at this type of company. – Kathryn Wilson, VUE Health Insights

13. Tailored benefits
Small businesses often have a lot of flexibility when making decisions, which allows them to offer tailored benefits — something that larger organizations cannot do. These tailored solutions can create greater job satisfaction. – Sudhakar Puvvada, Dream Catcher Innovation Labs

14. A healthier work-life balance
Prioritize flexibility — not just in terms of working hours, but how and where your employees work. Today’s employees demand flexibility and a healthy work-life balance. Simply put, employers who don’t take these renewed employee expectations into account will lose out on top talent. – Kenneth Bowles, WilsonHCG

15. Openness to non-traditional backgrounds and career paths
A small business has the advantage of offering flexibility and non-traditional career paths for individuals who don’t fit the corporate machine model. Look for people with non-traditional backgrounds, career changers with passion and those who don’t necessarily want to work full time. These people can be your secret weapons in the war for talent. – Kimberly Lucas, Goldstone Partners

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