The ‘Small Business’ War for Talent: Part 4

Mike Beringer, SHRM-CP, HR Business Partner | Aug 3, 2017

Part 4 of a 4 part article: Leveraging Your Attributes

If you haven’t read my previous article, The “Small Business” War for Talent: Catching Muskies, take a minute to catch up with “Frank” before reading the article below.

Think about what makes your small business unique and what makes you different than the big competition.  Maybe you have a great mission or vision and can use that to influence Frank’s decision. Sometimes great values that have strong ethical or moral attributes can go a long way. How often have you been at a dinner party or event and someone asks you, “So Frank, what do you do for a living?”  Wouldn’t it be great to give your audience a story about how you work for a small business that is out to end poverty, clean up our nation’s water supply, prevent disasters or end world hunger?!

Every company has its own set of attributes, making each one unique. You may have already figured out how to leverage those attributes to appeal to a certain type of person, or even use them as bargaining chips in your negotiations. If not, let us help.

Let’s look at a hypothetical example:

Finance 4U, a small financial services company, is growing regionally and needs to find top notch talent to help it expand its operations.  The company has had trouble competing with some national companies when it comes to things like compensation, benefits, and recognition programs.  However, Finance 4U has built its culture around a balance between work hours and personal time, including some work-from-home opportunities and a hefty paid time off program.

When going to the market for talent, Finance 4U has decided it can’t compete directly with the national competitors on salary, so it markets its opening relying heavily on the fact that its employees experience a good work-life balance, and can actually pick their own hours in some situations.



Finance 4U decides it needs to appeal to candidates that share the same philosophy- that balancing work and play makes the best employment situation.  Over the next few weeks, Finance 4U specifically calls out its Paid Time Off and Flexible Work Hour policies in its job descriptions, advertisements and talks at length about them during the recruitment process.  This, in turn, brings Finance 4U candidates that also identify with those needs and can align with its culture.

Finance 4U doesn’t have to pay more and get richer benefit plans. In fact, it may not even be able to if it is using its capital to grow.  Thus, leveraging programs that don’t cost any more money, but still appeal to a specific type of candidate, give Finance 4U the attraction it needs to help sign talent that is aligned with its business philosophy and goals.

The challenge is identifying which attributes to leverage and in which situations. Not every program is a home run with every candidate. If you find you’re losing candidates to jobs paying more money or with richer incentive plans, The Employer Group can help you determine what your leverage can be over the big guys. We are here to help!

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