The importance of talent acquisition and retention in small business
These two concepts form a fundamental role in business management and development, and is an area where we see businesses continually struggle.
For small businesses, finding the right talent to support business ambitions is a challenge. Retaining that talent is even more important. The administration, time and effort that businesses invest in these areas is significant, and ensuring a return on that investment can often be difficult. Paralleled with social and economic challenges, the demand on businesses to find and retain its talent has never been greater.
Startups should be focused on finding individuals who share the same attitudes and values as that of the business. Individuals who are motivated, flexible and appreciate the demands of working in a small business, and recognise that support is often required which goes beyond their core expertise. Essentially, if you take pay out the equation, what are you left with?
We often see businesses take extraordinary steps in a desperate attempt to retain individuals who just aren’t right for the business. In most cases, this was clear from the outset. Through fear of the repercussions, businesses continue to hold on to those individuals, resulting in delaying the inevitable, and expending further resources in the process. This is why recognising the concept of talent acquisition is so important for startups.
Selling the role
One of the best ways to attract the right talent is by treating them as if they are a customer. Sell them the role, the organisation, the values and beliefs, and ensure they are aligned with expectations of that talented individual. As with any customer, being honest, smart and realistic will place you both in a good position to evaluate whether you are the right fit for one another.
Rather than rely on “competitive salaries” and undefined “benefits”, focus on setting out the specifics for right individual – set the SMART goals to attract them to the role. The rewards should be clear, based on performance objectives in-line with the business and growth plans. If the performance isn’t there, then the specific benefits will not follow. This is a lose-lose situation both sides would prefer to avoid.
As a startup business, your organisation’s culture should be one of its greatest strengths, partnered with those who are leading the team to meet its organisational objectives. With constant economic challenges and social uncertainty, talented individuals are understandably concerned about what lies ahead for them. This results in a risk-averse culture where talent favours the stable and reputable as opposed to the brave and the bold. Sharing and selling the long-term plans, business culture, and SMART goals which will support their personal and professional growth will go a long way in attracting the right talent for your organisation.
Retaining the talent
Once you’ve found the right talent, retaining them in a competitive recruiters’ market can be a challenge. Hopefully, your sale of the role and long term aims has enticed them to stick with the business through the good times and the bad.
Your aim is not to retain the talent for their entire life (or that of your business), but to ensure you get the most value from their time with you. The position should be supportive of their ambitions as well as yours, and help them develop into the future they are looking for. Inevitably, there will come a time where the talent will move on, sometimes to a competitor. Keeping in touch and establishing them as part of your professional network may result in a role reversal, and a return to the business that once encouraged them to follow their dreams. A testament to your business culture and the development support you once provided them with.
A good practice is to treat all talent as a member or stakeholder of the businesses, someone who receives a direct benefit from the business’s success. This can be done through share or bonus schemes, where the individuals performance is directly linked to the success of the business, with the idea that their work has had a direct impacted. When offering such a scheme, you should be aware that this could be a big draw for the wrong person and make sure to avoid hiring the ‘money chaser’.
Your company culture will play a huge role in acquiring and retaining good talent. This goes ways beyond creating a fun work environment and having a lot of work funded events. You want to create a culture of learning and development. One that challenges your team on a daily basis. A culture where your team mates are excited to get out of bed and get into work. This will not only improve your talent retention rates but also impact their productiveness.
How can you measure talent satisfaction?
Team satisfaction can sometimes be difficult to monitor. Regular review sessions are a good start but sometimes people are not always willing to provide the information required to give you a full picture, especially if it’s negative. Being as open and honest as you can will help to break down the barriers of communication.
Looking at your talent turnover rate and comparing it against other similar businesses will give you a good idea of your team’s satisfaction. If you have a higher than average rate then you probable have an issue. Conducting exit interviews could help you understand why people are leaving. Usually you will find people are more honest when leaving a company since they won’t be working directly with you anymore.
One of the best ways to understand how employees perceive your company is monitoring the company review website Glassdoor. This has become a popular way for disgruntled and satisfied employees alike to take to the internet and speak their minds about the businesses they have worked for. Glassdoor has given workers a platform to be open and honest in an anonymous way, providing employers invaluable information about the work culture they have cultivated.
People grow your business
This simple statement should drive the process in which you hire, treat and reward your team. If you have big growth plans for your business, then hiring great people is imperative to your success. Today’s top CEOs are devoting large portions of their time to hiring new talent as they realise the impact of acquiring and retaining the best people in their business. Make sure you pay attention to their needs and understand what drives them to succeed. By taking this approach to growing your team you will soon see your business reaping the benefits.
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