How Small Businesses Recruit and Retain Talent
Lately, talent acquisition and retention have been top of mind for many businesses. You’ve probably heard of “The Great Resignation” and the migration of talent. It started at the onset of the pandemic and is still very relevant. It’s left a lot of businesses wondering what they can do to keep their employees happy and attract new ones.
In this final installment of Tenant Talk season two, Kenwood Management Principal Bill Singer and Illumine8 CEO and Founder Christina May provide tips to small businesses looking to improve their talent retention and acquisition. You can watch the full series on YouTube or listen to the podcast on Buzzsprout. Here’s a quick recap of the last episode of the season.
Embrace Remote Working Opportunities
The pandemic forced businesses and employees alike to realize that they don’t always need to be geographically bound to an office. Illumine8 was among those companies. Originally, Illumine8 was entirely geographically based with all employees living near Frederick. Since 2020, they have expanded their employee pool to include members who live in other states and even other time zones.
This presents opportunities on both ends. Employees have access to a greater number of jobs because they no longer need to work for companies they are physically near. Likewise, employers can pull from a bigger pool of applicants.
In Kenwood Management’s case, almost all employees were locally based. Some had to come into the office while others didn’t. To handle this, Kenwood also converted to a hybrid model that enabled employees to work remotely. The change in work-life perspectives led to Kenwood updating the technology offered to employees. Instead of having all desktop computers, employees at Kenwood were given laptops.
Open a Conversation with Your Employees
Your thoughts on what is best for your business and work culture may be different from what your employees are looking for in a job. Opening a dialogue helps them feel heard and gives you an idea of what would really keep them happy. While having this conversation with each of your employees, take some time to talk about their career goals. What are their plans for the next year, five years, or ten years?
Kenwood Management also used this method to understand their employees’ perspective. While having these conversations with employees, Bill found that sometimes his understanding of their career goals differed from what the employee expressed. By opening the lines of communication, Kenwood was able to understand the priorities of their employees and how they could help meet them.
People are naturally going to look for better opportunities, and businesses are limited in what they can do to prevent it. Instead, owners should aim to be as transparent as possible with their employees and hope they receive the same in return. Your employees won’t be transparent with you if you aren’t with them.
Offer Competitive Benefits
One of the top things employees want out of a job is good benefits. Many small businesses can’t compete with the benefits offered by Fortune 100 companies. However, small businesses are far more agile and flexible. You’re able to respond quickly to the needs of your employees.
Keep Growth Front and Center
Your employees have goals that they want to reach, and if they’re not achieving them at your company, then they’re going to look elsewhere. One way Kenwood has focused on growth is by adopting technology. Several mundane tasks were weighing down their employee’s day-to-day productivity. By implementing automation, they were able to significantly reduce time spent on these repetitive tasks.. This provided staff with more time to try new things and innovate new ideas.
By helping your employees reach their goals, they'll feel successful and confident in helping your business grow. When you hire an employee, they may come with additional skill sets. With the flexibility of small businesses, those employees can use their skills to do new things and grow the business.
For Illumine8, they were able to grow and shape the business as the world slowly emerged from the pandemic by sending out a survey. In this survey, Christina was able to gauge what her employees wanted as far as the work environment. With that feedback, she could plan for the future of the business.
Don’t Forget the Local, Hourly Employees
While it seems that remote working has taken over dozens of industries, there are still many roles that require in-person employees. These roles aren’t offered the benefits that remote employees receive, such as eliminating commute time and greater scheduling flexibility. One of the many ways Kenwood Management combatted was allowing employees to go negative with their time off and make it up later.