Attracting Talent Away From Big Business

Can it be done?

Written by Deanna Hunter

As small business owners we often worry that we can’t offer enough salary or fabulous health and dental benefits to attract talent away from big business.  But remember, not everyone is in it for the money.  And I would argue that there are lots of people working in big companies that would be happy to trade their large salaries and “cog in the wheel” jobs for something better.

What you really need to do is get over the idea that you can’t compete.  Figure out what you have to offer beyond salary.  Try thinking about it this way.   Employees are often very specialized and essentially do the same thing day in and day out in a big company.  Its quite likely that they are quite far away from seeing the real impact of the work they do because they are a small piece of a big puzzle.  In most cases they probably don’t actually see the product the company makes or the service it sells.  They may not interact with the company’s end user or customer.  And they may not even be able to see the impact their work has.

In your small business, they will have access to decision makers and a therefore a real opportunity to provide input.  Perhaps they will be working at something with a much larger scope allowing them an opportunity to learn and develop new skills.  They’ll work in a world with much less bureaucracy and a chance to actually get things done.  And maybe they’ll have more flexibility on how, when and where they do their work.

Once you know what you can offer, you have to get in front of the people you want.  And remember, they may not be actively looking for a new job!  So, advertising your job on a job board should not be the only tactic you use to attract their attention.  A good bet is to work your network.  People familiar to you and your business will be more likely to get the word out to the right people. I’m talking about friends, family, vendors, employees.  Everyone.  Arm them with some basic details about the job and what you have to offer and ask them for referrals.

Attracting talent away from big business is possible.  Be thoughtful about what you have to offer and use that to create a compelling story to share with your network.


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