Performance

How to compete with the big boys

Attracting the right kind of employees to your business is already weighted in your favour. Small to medium businesses retain the largest proportion of the nation’s workforce – some 4 million Australians.

But while this may give businesses like yours a slight edge over bigger corporates, securing top notch employees should still be a top priority for your business. Remember – your people are what makes your business truly unique and makes it great. You need these guys if you want to keep your nose in front of the competition and to keep your business growing at a healthy rate.

Let’s think about why people come to work for a ‘SME’ like yours. They would be reasons such as: being sick of big companies, a desire to work more closely with management and play a greater role in business development/success, less red tape or ‘officialdom’ and a less formal environment.

On the flip side, a similar role within a corporate structure would likely mean a higher pay scale, more support and professional development opportunities, and probably better perks too.

It’s a classic ‘Heart versus Head’ situation. ‘If I work for a smaller business I will have greater care factor and responsibility, but if I go corporate, I will make more money and probably push my career further’.

So, say you win the talent over to your side. How do you keep them there? In our experience, it comes down to how well your business combines the best of both worlds for your employees. In other words, how well you turn the ‘points against’ into ‘points for’.

Let’s break them down.

  1. Higher pay scale: be competitive, do your research and don’t be cheap. The old saying about peanuts and monkeys is as true now as it ever was.
  2. More support: it’s often true that bigger companies have more structures in place to support their employees, but this is as much to protect themselves as anything else. You don’t need an intranet that is knee-deep in policies and procedures, but you do need to attend to the basics. Ensure your staff feel supported by making any company policies simple, public and practised.
  3. More opportunities for professional development: the more skills and training your employees get, the bigger assets they become. We recommend giving each employee the opportunity to enhance or grow their skills at least once a year – it shows you want to invest in them in the long term, which adds a layer of security, means they sleep better, means they are happier… you see the trend.
  4. Better perks: we don’t mean long weekends on the company yacht or six-figure bonuses, perks can be as simple as staff reward and recognition programs, flexible hours or the odd ‘work from home day’.

All of these points are fleshed out in the ‘Fun’ chapter of our What is HR? eBook. It’s an easy read, written for businesses like yours. Grab a copy of What is HR? for just $9.95 and learn how to become your own HR champion.

Signing off…

Emily & Sarah

aka The HR Gurus

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