If you run a small business with a big potential, how can you hire the best people to join your team when you don’t have the deep pockets or ridiculous perks a big company can offer?
Entrepreneurs often underestimate what their startup has to offer when recruiting talent, opting to settle for second best when they could be negotiating from a position of confidence and strength.
Yes, large companies can offer employees things a tiny startup can’t.
But a small company owner can provide advantages a large company can’t. And in many cases, those are perks that today’s best workers care about. Here are six advantages a small startup has when it comes to hiring:
1. Leadership opportunities.
Opportunities to jump into key positions and rise quickly can be abundant at small but rapidly growing companies where the top managers need all the help they can get.
Don’t promise new employees any specific future position or they may feel they deserve it before they’re ready. But entrepreneurs can tout the opportunity for them to move up quickly if they do prove themselves.
Rob Duffin, a friend of mine, was working as a purchasing agent at SilencerCo, a West Valley City, Utah-based manufacturer of firearms accessories, when he saw the need for someone to oversee culture at the growing company. “The CEO wanted to have a certain culture at the company, but he had a lot of other priorities to focus on as well,” Duffin says. Duffin approached the CEO, and suggested the company create a position to focus on culture. Can you guess who is SilencerCo’s new chief culture oficer? What’s the likelihood of something like that happening at a company with 10,000 employees?
A senior designer who came from a large company might be able to advance to the position of creative director by joining a smaller business.
2. The chance to make a difference.
Some people are just glad to have a job. But the best workers want more. They want to know that what they’re doing is making a difference, that their work matters. At a small company every employee is important, if not critical, and a staff person can feel like his or her ideas matter and that people are listening.
The best employees want to progress or they get bored. Progress comes from overcoming challenges and small businesses have an abundance of those to surmount.
It’s hard to get to know a large group of people, especially if they’re spread out across multiple locations. At a small company an employee can more easily get to know staff members across the entire company (even those in different departments), which can lead to a stronger sense of community.
Someone can work at a large company for years and never meet the CEO. At a small company every team member usually can interact with the CEO on a daily basis.
5. Creative freedom.
People generally want to create and innovate. That liberty can be difficult to come by at large corporations where the name of the game is to not rock the boat or do anything that might put existing revenue streams at risk.
But small businesses need and appreciate employees who bring creative ideas to the table.
A large business is like a cruise ship. The experience there can be fun, but it moves slowly and steadily. Working at a small business is more like participating in the America’s Cup with all the thrills.
Large businesses, by necessity, set up processes and policies. At such companies sometimes it’s difficult to gain approval for a work practice that goes against set policies.
At a small business, approval might be granted after an employee sends a short email message because managers might make those decisions on the spur of the moment.
A Georgetown University research cited 2005 data that found that small companies were four times more likely to offer flexible working arrangements such as job sharing.
As a small business owner you might not be able to pay as much or offer the same benefits as a large corporation can. But you do have a lot to offer. Out of chaos comes opportunity. Not every employee will be the right fit for your company. But by advertising the advantages of working at a small business, you can attract many of the best.