In a skills-short HR landscape, attracting standout talent is challenging for every organisation. Unfortunately, it can be particularly hard for small to mid-sized businesses and enterprises SME.

Not only do these companies lack the same resources as larger, more established businesses, but they can also struggle to capture the attention of candidates keen to work with industry giants.

According to data shared by several industry bodies across the globe, over 80% of businesses with fewer than 50 staff members struggle to fill open positions. By contrast, 67% of large companies are experiencing the same issue.

Fortunately, the right strategies can still help smaller companies stand out and appeal to exceptional HR candidates. Here are several ways to give your SME an edge.

 

1.      Define and Demonstrate Your Company’s Culture

HR candidates are no longer influenced exclusively by salary and benefits. Driven by a desire for meaningful work, empathetic employers, and exceptional work-life balance, candidates focus more on company culture to help them identify the ideal role.

Identifying the core components of an excellent company culture and showcasing how this translates in job descriptions, websites, and interviews will help enhance talent acquisition. In today’s HR space, an excellent company culture should include:

  • A clear vision: Companies with a clear vision or mission benefit from a more aligned, collaborative company culture. They also attract candidates searching for meaning and purpose in their HR roles. Show your candidates how you commit to improving your community, industry, or world.
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion: A strong “DEI” initiative is now essential to attracting a broad range of talented professionals to your team. Demonstrate how you treat every employee with fairness and respect, ensuring every team member is valued and fully integrated into the dynamics of your workplace.
  • A commitment to employee wellbeing: Candidates want to see evidence that you respect their need for work-life balance. Highlight how you enable flexible working options for team members, promote wellness by encouraging team members to take time off, and contribute to reducing burnout and stress among employees.

 

2.      Offer Competitive Compensations and Benefits

Though 58% of employees now say they’re more attracted to other factors, such as career development opportunities and job security than excellent remuneration, a competitive salary and benefits will still boost your chances of attracting the talent you want.

Depending on the size and financial health of your business, you may be unable to match the compensation packages bigger companies offer. However, it’s still important to conduct regular salary benchmarking assessments to ensure you’re offering staff a fair salary.

If your compensation package is on the lower end of the scale for the role you’re trying to fill, look for ways to enhance the appeal of your role with unique benefits. Consider offering team members performance-based incentives to encourage ongoing motivation. Look at opportunities for flexible work arrangements, such as hybrid work or four-day work weeks and more holidays.

It’s also worth committing to regular salary reviews to improve your chances of retaining staff and maintaining their loyalty.

 

3.      Emphasise Opportunities for Growth and Development

Career advancement is a priority for many HR candidates. This is particularly true now that the workplace is growing more dynamic, and the demand for diverse skill sets and digital literacy is evolving.

Showing candidates they can learn and grow in your organisation, with training solutions for hard and soft skills, will help expand your talent pool. Consider experimenting with training and mentorship programs, highlighting career progression programs in interviews and job descriptions, and sharing employee achievements on your website.

Investing in a strong approach to learning and development opportunities helps attract candidates to your team. It builds resilience in your workplace, ensuring your company can constantly adapt to changing HR dynamics. Plus, development opportunities can improve retention. As a recent article on LinkedIn shared, 94% of employees say they’d stay with a company longer if it invests in their professional growth and development.

 

4.      Build an Incredible Employer Brand

In today’s digital world, HR candidates have more opportunities to review and assess the “brands” of their employers than ever before. Up to 88% of candidates say they examine employer branding when deciding whether to apply for a role.

Building an effective employer brand means finding ways to draw attention to the unique aspects of your business that should make it appealing to candidates. Always promote your employee value proposition (EVP), highlighting learning opportunities, compensation packages, and company culture on every platform.

Don’t only create a powerful “About Us” page and share stories from employees on your website. Give your team members a voice on social media. Share videos of team-building events and regularly draw attention to your organisation’s latest accomplishments.

 

5.      Improve the Recruitment Process

Candidate experience is another crucial factor influencing how easily SME companies can attract talent. The more complex or frustrating it is for employees to get a role within your business, the more likely they will avoid you. Remember, candidates who have a bad experience can easily share their insights on social media and online forums, harming your brand.

Assess your recruitment process carefully, looking for ways to reduce friction and frustration for candidates. Consider how easy it is for potential employees to find information about your company, fill out application forms, and take screening tests.

Consider updating how you interview candidates offering remote and video interviews to reduce the need for travel. Additionally, think carefully about how you follow up with candidates during the hiring process. Regular communication can improve a candidate’s perception of your brand. Even if you don’t hire every candidate you meet, leaving them with a positive impression of your brand means they’ll be more likely to join your talent pool.

 

6.      Work with an Experienced HR Recruitment Company

While there are various ways you can make your SME more appealing to talented candidates, working with an experienced recruitment company is the best way to increase your reach and reduce talent gaps.

An experienced recruitment company will allow you to tap into talent pools you wouldn’t otherwise be able to access. They can leverage their existing networks to fill your pipeline with relevant passive and active candidates ideally suited to your role.

Moreover, their knowledge of the industry and candidate priorities will help you define the best way to capture the attention of talented professionals with the right benefits and rewards. Your partner can even help you refine processes like writing job descriptions, promoting your employer brand, and streamlining interviews.

Finding valuable talent in a skills-short HR environment can be complicated for any company, but it’s particularly challenging for smaller businesses with limited resources. The strategies above will ensure you can expand the reach of your employer brand, connect with more relevant candidates, and increase your chances of filling talent gaps.

Plus, working with a recruitment/staffing company will help you further build on these methods, ensuring you can position yourself as the “employer of choice” for the right talent, regardless of your company’s size.

 

 

Tom Mornement

Managing Director

At Purple House Recruitment, we have been helping businesses with their talent acquisition and HR professionals find their ideal roles for over 22 years.  During that time we’ve placed over two and half thousand candidates and counting;

Get in touch to find out how we can help, call us at 0117 957 4100 or email us here.