How Small Businesses Should Approach the War For Talent

Recruiting staff

Finding the right employees is one of the most difficult and crucial parts of any business – and it’s about to get harder.

Cast your eyes over the faces in your lunchroom or the all-hands Zoom. Two out of every five of them are preparing to resign, if myriad employee surveys from around the world are right. The pandemic unleashed a different way of working – employees won’t be shackled any longer.

Dubbed The Great Resignation, it’s a real challenge for SMEs looking to grow. Some commentators have dismissed it as scaremongering but Kirstin Ferguson, a leadership expert, believes the mass exodus will arrive here in early 2022, forcing a change in the way all businesses hire and lead their teams. “Gone are the days when it was enough to have traditional leaders, who can technically do the job but are unable to lead with empathy, humility or self-awareness.”

Modern leaders, she says, “are the ones who employees want to work alongside and have the intellectual capacity and emotional ability to lead others.

“Having these leaders creating your company’s culture, even in the smallest companies, will bring the greatest reward in the long run, in terms of employee loyalty and productivity.”

Vivianne Arnold, chief marketing officer at recruitment firm Hudson, agrees it’s time for a change and SMEs “need to differentiate themselves by offering flexibility, part-time, remote and project work”. She says incentives like these can make up for the fatter paychecks bigger organisations deliver. “We surveyed clients and candidates and flexibility was the number-one priority because of COVID.”

For in-demand IT and marketing skills, Arnold says that companies need to work with a recruiter with credibility in those fields to spot the best candidates in a tight market, a move that can be particularly useful if your business doesn’t have instant name recognition. “For lower-level support, such as the receptionist you’re looking to hire as a permanent, use Seek. For mid-level management, try LinkedIn.”

She also advises that LinkedIn is a good place to share stories about an SME’s culture to boost awareness of the company and attract candidates.

Diem Fuggersberger is the founder and CEO of the Berger Ingredients and Coco & Lucas food brands, which together employ a team of 50. “Being a small company, we are upfront about the job role and advise the candidate during the interview process what we need them to do so there are no surprises.”

She agrees that recruiters can help find the specialist skills she is too time-poor to do herself. And while competing with big companies with deep pockets can be tough, Fuggersberger says a smaller business can have an “access advantage” – staff liaise directly with senior management so their views, thoughts and ideas are heard and taken seriously.

SEE ALSO: The War for Talent: How to Win Skilled Employees Post Covid-19

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