6 Ways to Attract and Manage Top Talent in Your Small Business

Beth Kotz

In today’s competitive marketplace, there is an increasing demand on small business owners and managers to think creatively when expanding and hiring recognized industry talent. The global reach of the internet gives talented job seekers more employer options than ever before. As a result, a qualified worker doesn’t have to settle on a local company that fails to offer them everything they want or need to move forward in their career and life. To find and retain top talent, it’s important you consider the following:

1. Tap Into Your Employee Network

Your employees are more likely to have high-quality connections offline and through career- or industry-specific sites and social media platforms like LinkedIn. Create a candidate referral program that offers them perks for successful referrals. Tapping into your employee network also helps save you money that you might otherwise spend on advertising new job openings through traditional outlets like classifieds sites, job boards and headhunter and talent agencies.

And as Alexander Mann Solutions told Entrepeneur.com, it’s important to make sure that your program makes it easy for employees to refer candidates from their network – don’t require them to provide extensive background information on their referral, for example, but trust that a referral is worth researching yourself if it comes from a trusted employee.

2. Create an Appealing Web Presence

The appearance of a company’s website and social media profiles is as important as the appearance of offline brick-and-mortar buildings. Yet many small business owners fail to make their virtual business as appealing to top talent and others. Always make certain that your online presence accurately displays

Always make certain that your online presence accurately displays brand message, logo and color scheme uniformity, your values, work culture and short- and long-term visions. Your website should also display hiring details via text and images that draw interest and statements about the type of talent you value, and provide convenient, easy-to-use resume and application submission tools.

3. Make Your Company Stand Out

It’s also important that you show top job seekers what unique qualities make your business the better choice. For example, promote via news and social media interviews, industry articles, an e-newsletter and online and offline advertisements any atypical benefits and perks that you offer employees.

Show that you understand that the best candidates want to work for modern employers who utilize fast-paced, cutting edge technology: Offer to conduct initial interviews remotely via video conferencing and accept non-traditional applications like a scannable QR code business card that links to an online portfolio or a short introductory email or tweet that includes a LinkedIn profile URL.

4. Create an Exciting Benefits Package

Skilled job seekers will more often send applications to employers who can give flexible, work-life balance and a strong benefits package. An attractive health package, for example, might include standard health insurance, dental and vision coverage, a wellness or matching co-pay account and a disability insurance plan.

Other exciting benefits and perks could include additional paid time off, an achievement-based high dollar or rewards cards bonus structure, flexible and employee trade scheduling, telecommute opportunities, extended maternity leave, paternity leave, on-site day care and fitness areas or paid off site memberships, business partner discounts and travel per diem.

5. Give Constructive Employee Feedback – Early and Often

When consulting company Accenture polled its employees about what HR practices were most important to them, they found that most employees were interested in receiving real-time feedback instead of yearly reviews to help them understand how they were doing and how they could improve.

The takeaway is that it’s best to continuously show your employees that you value them through positive reinforcement techniques to prevent another company from poaching them. Communication is key, so employers who want to keep their top talent should make an effort to not only provide feedback on employee performance on an ongoing basis, but get to know each employee on an individual level. Ask them about their personal and professional dreams and desires. Offer praise and productive feedback on an individual and group basis regularly. Also, show them that you value their opinions by giving them repeated opportunities to provide feedback about topics that matter to them.

Studies have shown that rewards and recognition are the biggest drivers of employee engagement. If your employees feel that they opinions and concerns are of value at the company, they’ll feel more compelled to stay.

6. Focus on Community and Growth

Motivated, talented individuals seek companies that not only provide useful feedback, but the chance to grow as a person and become a part of something bigger. You can begin to create this sense of “community” by decorating with bright colors and lively plants and offering fun team-building and relaxation events, such as monthly potlucks and casual days, local area scavenger hunts and wilderness or beach retreats. You might also provide access to resources like online or local college lifelong learning classes or a higher education dollar-for-dollar matching program.

It truly doesn’t take much effort to attract and manage top talent. You simply need to take time to learn what engages employees and job seekers and keeps them loyal to a business. You then use that knowledge to creatively make improvements to your hiring processes and work culture.

Written by Beth Kotz, is a contributing writer to Credit.com. She specializes in covering financial advice for female entrepreneurs, college students and recent graduates. She earned a BA in Communications and Media from DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois, where she continues to live and work.