Competing for employees on a small business budget


How small businesses can compete for talent when big companies outbid them on salary.

In a tight labor market, it can be difficult for small businesses to hire the workers they want. Recently, Walmart announced an increase in pay for their truck drivers to nearly $90,000. This is remarkable considering the median wage for drivers is $44,500.

You can be sure a lot of small businesses are going to lose drivers who switch employers.

This scenario where big employers outbid small businesses for talent and labor plays out in other business functions, too–IT, accounting, sales and marketing to name a few. In order for smaller organizations to compete, they have to up the ante in other ways. Here are three things that can sway a job candidate your way even if you can’t match the salary of the big guys.

Articulate and share your “why”

Get clear on the “why” your organization does its work and make sure everyone on the team knows your “why.” When you talk with new candidates, share your purpose.

A shared purpose helps people connect on an emotional level. When you and your team show candidates the big-picture value of your work, it makes it possible for candidates (especially millennials and boomers) to see how their role will be meaningful. This could sway them to choose employment with you.

Highlight your culture

Sharing stories that reflect your organization’s values will help you connect with like-minded candidates. Tell stories that show prospective candidates what it’s like to work at your place.

For example, if one of your perks is mentoring for skills that are sought after by bigger companies, talk that up. Let candidates know that a position with your firm can be a valuable stepping stone in their career. If you feel like this is encouraging people to job hop, consider this statistic from the Bureau of Labor Statistics: average tenure among workers ages 25-34 is 2.8 years. Younger workers typically won’t stay long at any one job anyway; get the best talent you can while you can.

Discover what else you can offer

Make it your mission to discover what else you can offer to candidates that’s valuable to them. Could you entice candidates with these perks?

  • more vacation time
  • remote work
  • flexible schedules
  • development opportunities
  • a higher-ranking title
  • dedicated time to side projects (like Google does)

Every candidate knows that they won’t get everything on their new-job wish list. There will be trade-offs. In order to get the best candidates to say “yes” to working at your organization, make sure they know about the great perks you offer beyond the money.

Do you have business banking questions? Contact our knowledgeable business development managers or call 800-991-2221. We’re here to help you grow your business!

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