Employees are the heart of every business – but let’s face it, if you are a small business or a startup founder, you already know that hiring decent employees is hard. In fact, hiring and most importantly retaining employees is (or will be) the biggest problem you need to solve while running your business.
First things first – since there are so many people looking for a job, how come hiring employees is the hardest task for SMEs? Before we begin let’s make a few things clear. Indeed, there are a lot of decent people looking for jobs. However, there are several “mind” barriers that prevent people from joining small companies:
- People prefer to join big brands to boost their CVs, even if salaries are lower and the job is boring
- People feel they won’t be able to learn a lot in small businesses
- Everyone likes nice offices, free food and free gym memberships (and SMEs may be unable to provide such benefits)
As an SME you’ll have to overcome the above barriers to be able to attract the best employees to your company – so let’s get straight to the point, here is how you can still hire the best people without fancy offices, crazy benefits and brand equity:
Embrace freelancers and remote resources. Remember that we live in a global market and almost everyone is connected to the internet. Your perfect designer may be based in Honduras, Israel or Korea – instead of lowering your standards to choose from a limited pool of candidates, simply go global!
The best employees are often – already working! A lot of amazing and highly skilled people would love to make extra income without leaving their 9 to 6 jobs. Ask around and you’ll be surprised with how many people you can attract.
Offer flexible work arrangements. A large portion of the workforce would love to ditch the corporate world if they could work remotely, 4-days a week or if they can work on their own schedule (for example 10am to 3pm instead of 9am to 6pm)
Offer creative freedom. A lot of people would love to escape corporate bureaucracy to be able to make things happen faster and explore their own ideas.
Support career changers. There are a LOT of amazing people who would love to switch careers. Give them a chance, bring them in and let them work to what they really love. They may need some guidance, to begin with, but they can prove invaluable assets for your business.
Hire fresh out of university. Give freshies a chance and you’ll be surprised by their skills and abilities. Moreover, younger generations can contribute with innovative, out-of-the-box ideas.
Always be hiring. You should always be on the lookout for talent. Every smart person you meet is a potential employee who can add value to your business.
Play everyone to their strengths. This one is super important. It is very unlikely to find people that fit your job description 100%. Instead of looking for unicorns, adjust the job description to match your employee’s skill set.
Mentor and support your team – all the way. Teach and develop your people as best as you can. Even if you are unable to retain them, they are your reputation in the market.
Hire for professionalism. You will only graduate from startup to corporate if you treat your company as such. Never work with people who do not give 100% only because you are a “small business”.
And last, remember that you are the leader of the ship – do not expect your employees to work as hard as you do! (aka, as a small business you must be hands-on).