Small businesses, which traditionally hire to fill open vacancies, must become better at proactively recruiting in what is now a talent-short market.
When it comes to competing with some of the bigger companies for this shortage of talent, what can small businesses do? Here are six steps to follow that can help you get the talent you need.
Step 1: Get an Employee Value Proposition (EVP)
In a talent shortage, you need a compelling reason why the best workers should join your company – otherwise those good performers will find a reason to work elsewhere. This compelling reason is your EVP, which should focus on the most unique parts of your business.
An effective EVP has four key components: authenticity, difference, innovation and consistency. When creating your EVP, include interesting information about your company, such as its history, the clients you work with and the awards you’ve won. You’ll also need to think creatively to make a proposition that stands out from the rest of the industry. Consider offering flexible working conditions, career development activities or even something small like a ping-pong table.
Step 2: The Candidate Experience
Retention is a major priority for several small businesses. As such, many offer working benefits such as autonomous culture, flexibility and recognition to ensure their best performers stick around.
At the other end of the spectrum, you can start online conversations with industry talent to set your business up as a ‘top of mind’ choice when they eventually decide to move. Social media channels like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter should be the mouthpiece to show off how great it is to work with your company.
Step 3: Produce Content Aligned to the EVP
Good content, whether blog, video or curated, is the best way to position your brand and reach the audience you want to connect with. Effective content has a clear, concise message and aligns with your employee value proposition (EVP). Once you have established an online presence, you can start segmenting the audience based on your hiring needs. Don’t approach them with job offers immediately, but instead continue conversations relevant to their challenges and careers. This can establish trust and rapport, which will go a long way to keeping you top of mind when they’re ready to move.
Encourage your employees to connect and converse with people online because it will make your business more authentic to potential hires.
Step 4: Keep It Simple
Once you feel ready to approach someone with a job offer, you’ll still need to put them through a hiring process – even if it’s just a formality. One of the most important factors during this stage is to cut out complications in your hiring process. If the candidate has to jump through too many hoops, it’s more likely they’ll lose interest and back out. Obviously still do your due diligence, but you can get rid of activities such as extensive application forms, multiple interviews and long discussions with other employees about whether this person is the right fit.
Step 5: All Hands on Deck
In a small business, particularly one without a human resources team, hiring is the responsibility of everyone involved in the company. You should empower your employees to be advocates for your organisation because they can give genuine testimonials to potential hires. One of the best sources of talent is employee referrals, so make sure you keep staff happy.
Step 6: Keep Your Door Open
Your business should follow the ‘never stop hiring’ philosophy. Always be on the lookout for new talent and be prepared to connect with them as soon as possible. Hiring is no longer a ‘season’, where once you decide to fill a vacancy you start engaging talent – it’s a 24/7, 365-day operation. You never know when the next superstar might want to join you, so keep your ear to the ground, stay in touch and get ready to tap them on the shoulder when you need them.
As more employers see the value of proactive recruitment, your business should do the same to have the best options available when it’s time to fill a vacancy.
Do you have strong employer brand? Find out how building a strong employer brand can help you attract and retain the best people.