6 Ways Small Companies Can Attract and Retain Top Talent

Linda Jenkins, September 26 2017

Small companies encounter plenty of obstacles, and securing top talent is one of them. retaining talent

After all, they're unlikely to have the same kind of resources as medium-to-large businesses that can throw a lot of money at anyone they really want on the team.


That doesn't mean small businesses are out of the running when it comes to hiring the best and the brightest. Far from it.


Actually, in some ways, a small business can offer the ideal environment for high performing employees. Read on to learn how small businesses can attract and retain top talent, even if they don't have deep pockets like larger companies.



Offer a flexible schedule. The Monday-Thursday workweek is definitely a sought-after perk. While some large companies can pull this off, small companies are more likely able to offer employees a lot of flexibility with their work schedule because, since everyone knows each other, it's much harder for one person to get lost in the shuffle of day-to-day operations. Sure, it's not possible for all positions to be granted this perk, but for those which it could apply, consider it. High-performing employees are likely to be empowered by the level of freedom afforded to them.


Allow employees to work from home. Another great perk that small companies can provide is the option to work from home. Whether it's granted as an option everyday or something employees can do once or twice a week, offering the employees a chance to work from home lets your team take a break from the stress of commuting.


Offer learning opportunities. All too often, larger organizations pigeonhole their staff into a particular role and, once a person is up to speed, skimp on training. High-performing individuals are less likely to be thrilled with this setup. Entice top talent with constant learning opportunities and chances to take what they have learned and apply them to the business.


Have performance-based compensation perks. Base pay for top talent should be as robust as your budget allows, but often it still won't compete with salaries doled out by huge companies in your field. This is where performance-based bonuses and profit sharing can enter into the picture. These forms of compensation can be enticing to top performers - after all, their hard work will translate into tangible rewards. For company owners, these methods can be equally as enticing because it means compensation is up when business is good, and manageable when times are lean.


Extend a vision for future growth. Some employees like the idea of helping build a company, an experience they can't get at an industry behemoth that has been around for a century or more. If your top talent shares this view, it can be valuable to articulate your vision for the future and, during growth stages, bring these key players into the loop so their vision helps shape the company's future, too.


Provide solid mentorship. Top talent are often keen to learn new things and not all things can be learned in formal training arrangements. Having a solid mentor from whom they can learn the ropes is invaluable. While all companies can and should extend mentorship opportunities, sometimes this important element falls through the cracks. Be sure to make it a priority.


Small companies may often have less to spend on salaries, but that doesn't mean they have to give up on top talent. While money is certainly an important factor in the hiring picture, attracting and retaining the best and the brightest can be about much more than money and, fortunately for small businesses, they're uniquely suited to offer these non-monetary incentives. 

Tip: Communicate policies to all of your employees. Download an Employee Handbook Template, Word version.