nav-left cat-right

How Small Biz Gets Top Talent

posted by – October 25th, 2012

How Small Biz Gets Top Talent

When you’re responsible for handling HR in a small or even a mid-sized company, you want all the help you can get when it comes to competing with large organizations for skilled talent. Today’s job candidates are well informed, and they have access to a lot of information about companies seeking applicants.

Even though your small company may not have the financial firepower to pay big salaries or attractive sign-on bonuses, there are other ways you can appeal to desirable candidates. Smaller organizations can offer such benefits as greater flexibility in policies and procedures, and opportunities for close teamwork and camaraderie. Star performers can really stand out in a small or mid-sized company, and employees who like challenges are likely to find plenty of chances to push beyond the limits of their job descriptions.

Obviously, there are many reasons why an applicant might be attracted to a SMB, and for HR, that’s good news. How do you capitalize on those aspects of your company that job candidates find most appealing? You create a compelling employer brand. Just as your marketing folks have taken great care to brand your products, so must HR brand the workplace.

The employer brand and the employee value proposition are related concepts. Your employer brand communicates the value you offer your employees. It identifies the aspects of your workplace that offer the greatest appeal – it’s the set of expectations that draws desirable talent to your company and keeps those high-performers onboard for the long haul.

Keeping them on board, of course, depends on your company’s ability and commitment to actually deliver on the expectations you’ve set up for employees. Follow-through is a must if you are to establish and maintain the kind of valid employer brand that really differentiates your organization.

How to build your SMB’s employer brand

Creating an employer brand for your SMB doesn’t have to be a daunting task. It involves defining the great things about working for your company and then figuring out how to best communicate them publicly. Here are some ideas to get you started on understanding your company’s employee value proposition and developing an employer brand.

What makes your company great? Begin by identifying the aspects of your company and your workplace(s) that most appeal to employees. If you have a small workforce, try informal conversations. A larger group may require you to do a quick survey. Ask employees why they wanted to work for you and what they like most about their employment with the company. While you’re at it, ask what you could be doing better, too. And take action on the suggestions you receive.

Don’t forget to look at external perceptions of your company, too. Check the Internet to see what people say about you. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google, Yahoo!, Glass Door, and other sites can reveal what the world thinks of your organization. It may also point out misconceptions that need to be corrected.

Check on the other guys. While you’re talking with employees and sleuthing online, look into your competitors, too. You need to know what candidates think about them and what messages the companies are communicating. Your challenge is building a more appealing employer brand than theirs.

Create your brand message. Use the information you’ve assembled to create a core message about your strengths as an employer. Consider such elements as career advancement opportunities, compensation, benefits, learning opportunities, work/life balance, flexibility, and company culture. If your company has a marketing department, call on its promotional know-how for help.

Communicate. Once you’ve defined your value proposition and consolidated the key components into your employer brand, communication is the step that gets the message to the world. Again, marketing pros can help you make choices here. Some options include your company’s website, especially its career page; advertising (print and online); social media sites; press releases to print and online media; and internal communications that go to your current employees.

Get Employees Involved. Happy employees are the proof you offer a great work environment. Are they referring new applicants? Sharing exciting company news via social networking sites like LinkedIn and Facebook? Consider soliciting employees to complete public surveys for awards such as “best places to work” in your city. The highest source of truth about what’s it like to work at your company comes from your current employees so give them the tools to deliver a strong message.

Follow through! This is the make-or-break step in employer branding. You must make sure that your company delivers on its promises. If it doesn’t, your branding can do more harm than good. Setting workers up for expectations that don’t materialize brands your company as dishonest. Check with your employees on a regular basis to ensure that your value proposition is proving true.

See if it’s working. Evaluating your employer brand is an important step. It can tell you if your work is effective and if tweaking might be in order. Ask new job candidates about your messaging. Have they seen it? Look at some of the metrics related to recruitment and hiring. Numbers of applicants, hiring costs, time-to-fill, new-hire turnover, and other metrics can shed light on the effectiveness of your brand. Your BambooHR system can provide the kind of data you’ll need to complete this step and share your findings.