Recruiting and retaining talent can be one of the most difficult challenges that any business will face, but when you’re an entrepreneur with a smaller number of staff, those problems can be magnified.
Most entrepreneurs and SME owners cannot afford to make hiring mistakes. Money is always tight, and recruitment can be one of the most expensive hurdles for a small business. A wrong hire can also set you back several months or worse, keep your business from succeeding altogether.
These days, many employers face the fact that the talent pool is shrinking. An estimated 10,000 Baby Boomers retire every day, according to new research from the Pew Center. Combine this with a low unemployment rate in some areas, and recruiting real, genuine talent just became a lot harder.
You also need to consider a lack of resources and recognition for a small company may be an issue, making it hard to attract talent to the company.
However, there are certain ways that entrepreneurs can not only attract new talent but also retain existing talent inside the company.
Hiring and retaining talent is already at incredibly tough levels, especially for in-demand areas like coding, developing and data science. Despite this workforce trend, it's still possible to attract more talent than your company needs.
Culture is one of the biggest attractors for job applicants in many cases. Millennials are starting to be the primary makeup of applicants for jobs, and they are increasingly less interested in things that would traditionally attract applicants. For example, millennials aren’t too fussed about salaries. Instead, they’d rather be working at a job that they love on a lower salary.
Creating a culture that employees actually want to apply for is a great way to not only attract employees but also to retain staff. By creating a culture where employees feel valued and appreciated, not only are you likely to retain staff for longer, but you’ll get more applicants purely through word of mouth, one of the strongest and best referrers.
Another relatively easy way to help time-strapped entrepreneurs is through the use of specialist software for recruiting and retaining talent. This can be really useful for administering video interviews, especially if you don’t have time to conduct the first stage interviews - which many entrepreneurs don’t. You can then get the videos on demand when you need them, and share them with anyone else that may be making a decision.
Overall, there are many ways that you can streamline the recruiting process as an entrepreneur. But once you’ve got the correct employees in place, it’s time to start thinking about how you can retain them.
Of course, one of the best ways to retain talent is to create a workplace where employees actually want to be. Remember that it is always cheaper and more effective to retain staff than it is to find a replacement. This can be achieved through some very simple steps, like treating your staff with respect and consideration at all times.
Another way to create an amazing workplace culture is to be honest and transparent. Be open and listen to new ideas. Make sure that you schedule in actual time to get a feel for the company vibe, don’t always do it in the pub at 5pm on a Friday!
If you’re not sure what your employees currently think, just ask! Don’t simply get feedback from the line managers, however. Make sure that you’re getting direct feedback from everyone you employ so that everyone’s voices can be heard equally.
If that doesn’t work, why not try googling your company name to see if you have a Glassdoor profile yet. Glassdoor houses anonymous reviews of a company for all to see, so if you do have any glaring issues, they’ll be there. This can give you a proper, unbiased (if a little direct) insight into what the issues with your company are at the minute. But once you know, it can be a lot easier to work on fixing them.
Billy Leonard is a Content and Outreach Executive at Harvest Digital. He’s passionate about great company culture, which is why he’s still at Harvest!