Seven ways to hire and retain top talent without spending a fortune

Seven ways to hire and retain top talent without spending a fortune

Posted: Mon 5th Apr 2021

Bad hires can affect everything from morale to productivity, so it's natural you'd want to find (and keep) the right people for the job – particularly when you're a small team.

But when it comes to hiring and retaining great staff, it's not all about the money. Yes, you need to pay a fair wage, but for a lot of employees it's often more about feeling valued and appreciated. Salary isn't always a top consideration.

So, here are our tips for finding the best employees and, most importantly, how to keep them.

Recruitment strategies for small businesses

First, you need to find employees who will help your business succeed. Here's how to go about it.

Think about culture

Choose new hires who share the same values as your business and are keen to work in the same cultural environment. This is important if you want your new employees to feel like one of the team.

Candidates will often ask about the company culture in their interview, for this very reason. If they don't bring it up, ask them what kind of culture they tend to thrive in, or what past work environments didn't quite suit them. This'll tell you how well they'll really fit into your business.

Top tip: Ask your current employees to describe (honestly) what they feel the culture is like, so you're prepared for your next candidate interview.

Look beyond the CV

To find out how right for your business a candidate really is, dig a little deeper and try to get to know them.

Find out what makes them tick in their spare time and see if it applies to your business. Perhaps they've got a flair for organisation outside of work, or have developed great teamwork skills playing their favourite sport?

It's also worth acknowledging any of your company's current shortfalls and looking for talent that'll help plug that gap. This might mean focusing less on past job titles and more on what they achieved and enjoyed while they were there.

Be proactive

Don't wait for the right candidates to fall into your lap. LinkedIn is a great place to find talent and expand your hiring pool.

To discover potential employees who might not be actively looking for a new job, check out forums like Meetup where you can start a conversation – or attend an event – based on the interests of the type of person you want to hire.

Offline, think about your networks and anyone (current employees, friends and family) who might know the type of person you're looking for.

Using non-traditional recruitment methods can help you attract the attention of top talent. For example, perhaps a video would show what it's like to work for your company in a more imaginative and engaging way than a written job ad alone?

And don't just forget about staff recruitment as soon as you've hired someone. With their permission, keep in touch with candidates who have potential but weren't right for that particular role. You never know when an opportunity might come up that they'd be perfect for.

Improve your hiring process

Think honestly about the experience past applicants have had when applying for roles in your business. Are you slow to get back to them? The best candidates are snapped up in just 10 days and top talent will drop out of the process and apply elsewhere if things aren't moving quickly enough.

Having said that, don't rush into hiring someone who isn't right out of fear that you need to fill the role. Strike a balance.

Staff retention for small businesses

Once you've managed to recruit top talent, you don't want to let them go. Hiring new starters and training them is expensive, so it's much better for your business to keep your staff happy. Here's how to retain employees in a small business…

Think about the whole package

As we've already seen, employee happiness isn't all about money. So, what else can you offer?

Glassdoor recently discovered that 79% of employees would prefer new or extra benefits to a pay rise. Make sure the perks you give are things your team will care about and value. Gym memberships, subsidised healthcare and discounts at local retailers are likely to go down well.

Budget too tight for that? Even small things like a free breakfast once a month or cake on someone's birthday can really help people feel valued. And that's your main aim.

It sounds trivial, but small things can add up over time and you don't want to lose good staff for something that's easily solved.

Communicate well

You wouldn't ignore or put out below-par communications to your customers, so treat your staff with the same respect.

Make sure your company's vision and values are clear in everything from internal communications to your job ads, so everyone is clear about where you're heading as an organisation. And don't forget to keep your employees up to date on things that affect your business.

If in doubt, it's better to over-communicate than not say enough. Be honest with them and manage expectations. If you exaggerate or keep important details from your team, you can quickly lose their trust.

Help them grow

Finally, make sure your organisation is a place where great employees won't get bored. Allow staff to learn and grow by offering training, either internally or off-site if you don't have the resources in-house.

Businesses that continually invest in staff development are more appealing to candidates, so this'll help you attract top talent.

Lastly, when senior positions become available, promote existing team members where appropriate – it's a big morale boost for everyone.

Relevant resources

Enterprise Nation has helped thousands of people start and grow their businesses. Led by founder, Emma Jones CBE, Enterprise Nation connects you to the resources and expertise to help you succeed.

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