Small businesses often feel overshadowed by the attraction of large multinational corporations when it comes to attracting talent and retaining their workforce, and businesses in Cumbria are no different. Increasingly, we hear of the struggle to build their workforce when the likes of BAE and Sellafield are running large scale employment drives and small business owners feel like they are unable to compete for local talent.
Yet, they have unique attributes and strengths that can draw in and retain a talented workforce, and today, we’re exploring the strategies small businesses can adopt to compete in the recruitment and retention game.
Many people tend to think of large corporate companies when it comes to employee benefits, but small businesses can offer unique perks that equally appeal to prospective employees. These could include flexible working hours, the option to work remotely, or even the ability to bring your dog to work. A local small business might offer more freedom and flexibility, which can greatly improve work-life balance and job satisfaction. By promoting these benefits, Cumbrian businesses can attract talent who value flexibility over the more structured corporate environment.
A Positive Work Culture and Professional Growth Opportunities
Work culture can be a powerful magnet for talent. Small businesses often boast close-knit, supportive environments that larger companies struggle to replicate, because in such settings, each employee is recognised as an individual, not just a number in a large workforce. By cultivating and showcasing a culture of inclusivity, respect, and recognition, small businesses can create an environment that employees are drawn to and will want to stay in.
While multinational companies may have more job roles, small businesses offer unique opportunities for career advancement. Given their size, employees often take on multiple roles, providing them with a diverse range of experiences and skills. This equips them with a broad skill set and makes them agile in their careers. By creating and communicating these growth opportunities, small businesses can appeal to ambitious talent looking to fast-track their career development.
Strong Relationships and Company Values
In smaller businesses, managers and leaders often have more one-on-one time with their employees. They can develop strong, meaningful relationships, understand each employee’s career aspirations, and help them grow. This personalised approach to career development can foster loyalty and significantly improve retention rates.
In addition, an increasing number of today’s workforce, want their work to reflect their values. If your small business has a strong commitment to sustainability, community, or other ethical considerations, make sure you showcase these. By aligning business values with those of potential employees, businesses can attract like-minded individuals who are passionate about their cause and committed to their roles.
Local Presence and Community Involvement
Finally, never underestimate the power of community. Small businesses are often at the heart of local economies, and many potential employees appreciate this. By focusing on your commitment to the local community, whether through sponsorships, local events, or supporting local suppliers, you can appeal to those who value community connection and want to contribute to their local economy.
Although large multinational corporations might seem like the default choice for job seekers, small businesses, particularly those in Cumbria, have their unique appeal. By leveraging their strengths and adopting strategic approaches, these businesses can successfully compete for top talent. Remember, it’s not always about the size of the company, but the value it provides to its employees and community. Small businesses might just have more to offer than meets the eye.