Small businesses struggle to compete with major companies in many ways but hiring talented specialised technical staff can be one of the most frustrating. By their nature, these individuals are in short supply and great demand. Technology is a fast-moving field requiring specific skill sets that need to be up-to-date. The brightest talent will tend to be young and ambitious. They will want to work for a company that challenges them, gives them opportunities to learn new skills and to further their career.
It’s natural to assume that these much sought-after young people will gravitate towards large organisations offering more money and better chances of progress. This needn’t always be the case, though. Small businesses can compete by playing to their strengths and seeking out the talent they need.
Emphasise the positive
When talking to potential employees, emphasise the advantages of working for a smaller company. They’ll have greater freedom to innovate and more impact on the company’s future than at a larger organisation. With direct access to senior management, they will be able to see projects through to completion, rather than being a small cog in a big machine.
One of the biggest threats to retaining young, bright technical staff is the risk of them becoming bored. This is less likely to happen in a small, ‘all hands on deck’ company, and the varied challenges they’ll face will also develop a wider range of skills. Their accomplishments will be more significant, which is great for building confidence and an impressive CV.
Get outside help
If you can’t find the tech talent you need, get help from the experts. Specialist recruitment companies can help with hiring for specific niches such as CRM recruitment. It can sometimes make more sense to hire a contractor for a specific project rather than take on a full-time employee, especially for smaller companies who need to keep down their staffing overheads. A contractor will have an established reputation and the exact skills you need and you can always bring them back at a later date if needed.
Build your brand
As well as the attraction to big companies, tech talent is also more often found in major economic hubs like London, Manchester or Birmingham. How does a company away from the big city compete? One answer is to build a reputation as a great company to work for, regardless of size or location. Treat your employees well, give plenty of training and keep a buzz going about this on social media, blogs, in the local press and in your immediate business community.
Small can be attractive too, and the boutique experience has many advantages. Bring in talent by advertising all year round on the appropriate websites, make yourself visible and reach out to students and colleagues. A pro-active approach is the best way to level the playing field and get the skilled workers you need.