Let’s face it: this is a challenging employment market when it comes to hiring. There are more job openings right now than there are qualified professionals to fill them. Organizations need top talent to succeed. Yet to attract the best, companies need to set themselves apart to remain competitive. Larger companies have laid the groundwork for offering up employment perks to attract top talent such as student loan assistance, generous parental leave policies and catering both breakfast and lunch. How can a small business owner compete on this playing field?

Business Perks: Flexibility

A small business has the advantage to creatively offer what corporate jobs cannot – flexibility. If your employee has commuting issues during rush hour, perhaps offer off hours options. If night calls or off-hour appointments are necessary, offer a flexible work week schedule to accommodate some longer days. Work from Home options also appeal to those with young children.

Employee engagement expert, Austen Lee offers this advice:

“Apart from paid leave, offering the option of telecommuting a couple of times a month also goes a long way. Not only does it increase employee motivation, productivity and satisfaction but also helps in retaining employees. When you offer flexible hours to the employees, you are indicating that you value their work-life balance, which is increasingly becoming important for professionals.”

Thinking Outside of the Box

To encourage a prospective employee’s entrepreneurial spirit, offering the opportunity to profit share or earn a stake in your company may be a viable option. Thinking “outside of the box” can entice a star candidate to join your organization over working for a larger company. The key here is to uncover what the person values and thinks is important for their career and work-life balance.

According to Daniel B. Kline, business writer and author:

“Make it clear that you will value what they value. That may be flexibility, career development, compensation, or something else entirely. Listen and talk with the candidate in order to show them the upside in working for a small company.”

If you want to attract and retain valuable employees, it is time to reevaluate your employee benefits and perks. Facebook and Google may promote outlandish on-campus offerings, but they can’t compete with the flexibility and personal attention that a small business can offer. Listen and evaluate what is important to the prospective employee. Working for a small company is often a reward in itself!

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