If you run a small business and have employees, you know it can be difficult to attract and retain top talent.
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From getting the right people to apply to asking great questions in an interview, small businesses can find it difficult to compete with larger companies when it comes to hiring.
But a report from Hired about the mind of a job hunter runs through some of the most important factors they think about when applying for a position.
It also looks at why they turn their back on applying for and accepting the role – could being aware of these factors help when filling your next vacancy?
What’s most important to job seekers?
A US report considers some of the most desirable brands jobseekers are attracted to, with the list including heavy-hitters like Microsoft, Netflix and Google.
It also delves into the top five most important factors for candidates when applying. What the survey reveals is useful for both big and small businesses alike:
1. Pay and benefits
55 per cent of respondents said this is the most important thing they think about when job seeking.
This is hardly surprising, but as a small business owner, pay and benefits can be tricky to get right.
When considering salary, you should make sure you have everything you need to set something that’s competitive, balancing what you can afford against a candidate’s expectations. And think about existing employees, carefully considering where the new role sits in your company’s structure.
Make sure you research what similar companies are paying for similar positions – there are websites out there with salary information and you can also talk to people in your local community. You also need to keep employment law (like minimum wage regulations) in mind.
You can use your interview with the prospective employee to find out their pay expectations and gauge the benefits they’d like to see.
When it comes to making an offer, be sure to have worked on the maths. What will the new hire generate for your company? This could be a financial return, or it could be time saved.
2. Company culture
45 per cent of respondents said company culture is the most important factor when job seeking.
Company culture isn’t something that only large businesses need to think about – a positive working environment is important for any business that has employees.
It’s not just about ping pong tables and beers on Friday. A culture filters down from a business’s leadership and management to its workers. If leaders are nurturing, motivating and give workers autonomy to solve problems on their own, employees have a brilliant opportunity to thrive.
When employees are disengaged, due in part to a culture that doesn’t allow them to grow, businesses shouldn’t be surprised to see their growth and profits stagnate too.
3. Opportunity to learn new skills
40 per cent of job seekers who took the survey said the chance to learn is the most important factor.
This links to culture and giving employees opportunities to thrive. Monster.co.uk say that training improves morale, profitability and customer satisfaction.
They also say that the lack of a training strategy gives great candidates the idea that “the company will fail to meet his or her own aspirations, leading to a lack of ambitious candidates.”
But a 2017 report from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) found that 57 per cent of British small businesses weren’t investing in training and development. The FSB highlighted that “greater investment in management skills could significantly benefit start-ups and scale-ups and help them realise their growth ambitions.”
4. Challenging technical problems to solve
29 per cent of those surveyed called this the most important factor when choosing an employer.
This has a wider link to employee engagement, as many consider challenging work to be a big motivator for employees. As we’ve mentioned, motivated employees often translates to greater profit and growth opportunities.
For small businesses, making sure employees are challenged could mean asking for their solutions to problems and letting them go about fixing it themselves – guiding them through careful feedback.
Finally, 27 per cent of job seekers said that the team is the most important factor when choosing an employer.
Again, this has broad links to other factors, including culture. Team building is difficult, especially for small businesses. It’s important when hiring new people that you explain the culture and how the existing team works, along with what you want to achieve in the future.
Talk to new employees about where they’ll fit in the team and discuss how they’ll contribute to its success. Job seekers want to know about how their role will make a difference.
Why do job seekers decline an offer?
The flipside of what attracts people to a business is what ends up turning them away:
- not interested in the product (54 per cent)
- poor reputation (46 per cent)
- not interested in the mission (41 per cent)
- negative company culture (36 per cent)
- lack of knowledge about the culture (34 per cent)
Be sure to be clear about your business’s purpose and communicate it to job seekers with flair.
Do you have insurance for your employees?
If you have employees it’s likely you’re legally required to have employers’ liability insurance. If you need it, you could be fined £2,500 for every day you don’t have it.
Employers’ liability insurance covers claims arising from illness or injury employees suffer as a result of working for you.
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced when hiring employees? Let us know in the comments below.