How mid-sized businesses can lure top talent in a challenging hiring market

The need for great people to help lead companies never goes away. Demographic and economic changes, however, have meant there often aren’t enough people to fill open spots.

“As more and more employees leave the workforce, there aren’t enough people available to replace everyone,” says Kenneth Griffiths, executive vice president at Action Management Services, LLC. “Unfortunately, when it comes to top talent, mid-sized businesses often face challenges that larger companies often don’t experience when trying to recruit those who can make a significant impact on the company.”

Smart Business spoke with Griffiths about how mid-sized companies can compete with larger companies for top talent.

What challenges do mid-sized companies face when competing for talent?

Larger companies typically have strong name recognition and can make substantial financial offers to candidates. That not only offers the immediate benefit of higher pay, but it can also lead to opportunities with blue-chip companies in the future.

Bigger companies, however, are often departmentally siloed. They tend to hire specialist in certain areas, which means many people can’t contribute to bigger-picture decision-making. That red tape and limited visibility across the business often means there are few opportunities for people in the organization to get more meaningfully involved in decision-making.

Smaller companies can compete for candidates by highlighting that they’re nimbler; with less hierarchy, they’re able to make decisions quicker, and individual voices within the company are often considered when strategic decisions are made.

While salary is always important, people also want to feel appreciated. Many people will leave jobs that pay well if they dislike where they work or they have an unappreciative boss. Employers that can show employees appreciation — from just recognizing someone’s hard work to more substantial incentives — goes a long way toward establishing a rewarding culture in which people feel valued. Mid-sized companies that might not be able to offer top-tier salaries are able to compete by showing appreciation, that everyone is a valuable part of team.

Employers that offer the flexibility a work-from-home arrangement can separate themselves from their larger competitors. Even hybrid situations can offer greater flexibility than strict Monday-through-Friday office hours. Where employees have shown that they’re going to deliver in such an arrangement, companies are conveying their appreciation by allowing people the flexibility to structure their work week in a way that better suits them.

How can mid-sized companies communicate their advantages to top candidates?

Companies should be transparent with prospective candidates as well as their current employees about the culture and the expectations. Recruiters are often working to draw candidates away from their current positions. For that to happen, something must be missing where they’re at, and the new company must have that missing element. It’s difficult to recruit someone if the employer can’t improve their situation. To do that, employers should be transparent about the culture and the opportunities. Hiring managers should communicate why they joined the company and how they’ve been treated during their time with the business so the candidate knows what opportunities exist if they perform at the level they’re capable of performing.

It continues to be a challenging market — for hiring as well as in many other aspects. Companies need to be nimble and be able to adapt to what potential candidates are looking for in a job, and be able to illustrate how their business can provide that.

It’s a great time for talented people to consider new job opportunities. For some companies, that means their people may be getting calls from recruiters looking to lure them away to another position. That’s more difficult to do if the potential candidate can say with confidence that they’re happy — in their current role and with their current company. For employers, that means also understanding what their top talent believes is a good situation and mapping that to a career path. Otherwise, a company’s employees may look to test the waters to see if they can find a situation that offers a better opportunity. ●

INSIGHTS Recruiting is brought to you by Action Management Services, LLC

Kenneth Griffiths

Executive Vice President


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