Benchmark Business Group

Be Competitive In Hiring

November 9, 2021

Hiring is a key frustration for many business owners. There are so many factors taking place in the economy, in local environments and within industries that are outside of their control that it’s really important to focus on what they can control.

It’s easy to go down a rabbit hole as to why hiring is difficult, but that isn’t very productive. This is why we focus our clients back to what they can control. And when it comes to hiring, there’s a lot that small businesses can do to be competitive.

  • The first thing is to understand your ideal candidate. Understand why they would want your job. We’re the first to say that hiring is all about finding the right fit for your business, but before you can start eliminating candidates, you must first have applicants. To think about getting the best candidates, think about recruiting as marketing. As soon as you have resumes or applications you can start to filter candidates, but first you must get them to apply.
  • Can you offer flex time? This will depend on the role you are hiring for, but many people appreciate the ability to flex their hours. We caution all business owners to think about what the business needs. There might be hours that are inflexible, but there also might be the ability to work 40 hours in 4 days and enjoy Fridays off. Or, come in early and be off earlier in the day. This might mean adjusting office hours or possibly rotating members of the team so there’s always coverage, but perks like these can help attract talent. Get creative, but also always know what the business needs.
  • Is remote work a possibility? COVID showed us that teams can be effective working from home. What options will your business carry forward? Like flex time, you must ensure that the business’ needs are met, but there are ways to get creative. Perhaps it’s okay to let certain roles work remotely once a week or a few days a week. Perhaps you allow them to work remotely if there’s bad weather, or if they must be home to let the cable guy in the house. Again, be creative.
  • What benefits do you offer? It’s a great time to leverage your network and ask, what benefits can you offer? Common ones include health insurance, disability, life, and retirement options. However, there are others out there such as HSA or FSA plans, accident insurance, cancer insurance, etc. Talk to your insurance/financial advisor regarding options and do some research. There are a lot of different options for small businesses who want to be competitive.
  • Be creative with other perks you might consider:
    • Contributing to student loan repayments. Through 2025 you can now pay $5,250 per year for student loans on a tax-free basis providing you follow the rules of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021.
    • Be parent friendly. Look at your policies and procedures when it comes to parent’s needs. This might be day care options. It might be allowing kids to come into the office during certain hours. You could allow remote work during spring breaks, etc. And this could also apply to being creative with employees who have elderly parents that they are taking care of as well.
    • Performance-based bonuses. For small businesses, paying a higher hourly wage might be difficult, but we’ve seen businesses put together great profit-sharing programs and even stock options. There are ways to financially reward your team outside of a high hourly wage.
  • Ensure that your pay is competitive. The bottom line is that while you don’t have to pay the best in your market, you at least need to know if you’re competitive. Consider looking at jobs that your ideal candidate might take instead of your own to discover what they are paying, if they have benefits, and if they have other perks.

In the end, being competitive in hiring is all about being creative. You have options. But understand that it’s a competitive environment right now and if you’re not competing then hiring the talent you want is going to be difficult. It’s a bit like building a brand for your business. You can choose to be a brand and have your pick of the talent, or you can choose to be a commodity and fight for talent. There’s no wrong or right approach, but we do suggest that you strategically determine how you want to compete in the hiring process. And we’d be remiss if we didn’t remind you that in small businesses every position should increase your business profit. Typically, there are missed revenue-generating activities in many roles. Talk to one of our business coaches today to discuss ensuring that every position in your business increases your profit.

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