Talent Management: 8 Things Small Business Owners Must Know

Sep 23, 2019
| Michael Altiero

Being a small employer is no easy task. There are numerous challenges these businesses face that are significantly more difficult to overcome because of their size and lack of resources compared to their larger counterparts.

HR is one area where troubles often arise, and talent management in particular can cause headaches for small business owners.

Creating and continuously improving a talent management strategy is an important task that even the smallest of employers must address. There are certain talent management trends that leaders should know if they want to create a best-in-class strategy. Here are 8 examples:

1) Recruiting is More Challenging Than Ever

Much has been said in recent years about the state of recruiting in the United States. With the unemployment rate sitting at a near 50-year low, employers of all sizes are finding it more difficult than in years past to attract job seekers.
To overcome this, many employers have had to alter their recruiting strategies in order to stand out more to potential job candidates. Enhancing employee benefits, focusing on employee engagement, highlighting company culture, and building a positive employer brand are just a few examples of what employers are doing to win at recruiting.
With the job market looking like it will remain extremely competitive for employers moving forward, this challenge is one that isn’t going away any time soon.

2) Employees Are a Major Competitive Advantage

All business owners seek competitive advantages to increase revenues and grow their business. Often, these advantages are seen as things like products, technology, services, or resources.
But sometimes, employers can overlook what could be their biggest competitive advantages – employees.
A workforce plays a critical role in the overall success of a business and can be the difference between a successful company or one that fails to live up to expectations.
Having a strong talent management strategy can keep high-performing employees with the organization for a long time and keep this competitive advantage as impactful as possible.

3) Employees Keep Up with Benefit and Perk Trends

Compensation plays an important role in talent management, with employee benefits and workplace perks being a big part of it. And while workers once just wanted health insurance, retirement benefits, and maybe vision and/or dental coverage, today’s job seekers and employees want access to modern benefits and workplace perks.

Some examples include:
  • Progressive PTO programs
  • Flexible working schedules
  • Employee assistance programs
  • Remote working opportunities
  • Paid parental leave
  • Summer Fridays
  • Casual dress codes
  • Pet insurance
  • Identity theft protection services
  • Student loan assistance

While it might seem difficult and costly for smaller employers to gain these types of employee benefits, exploring strategic partnerships (like a PEO) can provide small businesses with Fortune-500 quality benefits.

4) Bad Hires Cost a Lot

This one is particularly worrisome for smaller employers, who generally don’t have the same resources available to them as large organizations.
But recruiting and hiring an employee who ultimately doesn’t work out can cost small businesses a considerable amount of not only time, but also money.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the cost of a bad hire is at least 30% of an employee’s first year earnings. And when coupled with the costs of recruiting and onboarding a candidate (some estimates put this at $240,000 on average), the cost of a bad hire can be extremely high.
This is why having a thorough talent management plan, including a well-thought-out recruiting strategy, are so important for small businesses.

5) Having an Employer Brand is a Must

We already mentioned how challenging recruiting is today. One way to make attracting talent easier is by establishing and then marketing your employer brand.
A company’s employer brand highlights all the positive things about working at the company and gives job seekers an inside look at what it would be like to work there.

Often, employer branding strategies include:
  • Behind-the-scene videos
  • Company event photos
  • Employee spotlights and testimonials
  • Social media channels and engagement
  • Showing off the company culture
  • Marketing the employer brand across recruiting channels

6) Recruiting isn’t One-Size-Fits-All

One big mistake smaller employers can make is having a one-size-fits-all approach to recruiting. Not all job seekers are the same, especially when considering the multiple generations that make up today’s workforce.
This is why business leaders need to tailor their recruiting efforts to ensure they reach the target demographic for a given position.
Not doing so could mean long time-to-fills or even result in a bad hire, which as we saw before can be very costly.
Making sure your recruiting process includes modern technology (mobile-accessible applications for example), highlights the steps in the application process, and ensures that job candidates aren’t kept in the dark are essential to having a great recruiting strategy.


7) The Employee Experience Impacts Retention (and Recruiting)

For many years, companies focused on driving and improving employee engagement as a strategy for boosting retention. And while engagement is still very important, it has given way to a newer talent management trend – the employee experience.
We have written about the employee experience in the past and explained why it is so important, yet many smaller employers aren’t sure how to approach it.
It’s critical for business leaders and employers to understand the employee experience, as it impacts retention and also plays a role in recruiting.
If employees have positive experiences with their employer – starting from recruiting and onboarding through the entirety of employment – they are much more likely to stay while also potentially serving as a brand ambassador that can help recruit new team members.

8) Learning and Development is In-Demand

One of the most sought-after perks that employees want and job seekers look for from an employer is a formal learning and development (L&D) program. In our latest podcast episode we highlighted why L&D programs are so important for small employers as well as how business owners can add them to their company.
The main reason to offer learning opportunities is to help boost retention and recruiting, as it is routinely cited as an in-demand perk.
But these aren’t the only benefits. L&D programs help employees improve their skills and gets them ready for future leadership roles. Internal development can positively influence company culture as well as employee morale.
Don’t underestimate just how valuable learning and development can be for a talent management strategy.

Small Employers Cannot Ignore Talent Management

Even though it requires work, small business leaders cannot overlook the importance of talent management.
By making it a priority, small employers can lower employee turnover while simultaneously building an attractive employer brand that makes recruiting new talent much easier.
Both of these outcomes are critical to business success!

As PEOs have grown in demand by business owners, so too have the number of myths that exist about them. But are they true? Our latest eBook explores 12 of the most common PEO myths and explains why they have been busted!

12 Common PEO Myths