Attracting & Keeping the Best Employees

If you’ve been struggling to attract qualified applicants to fill open positions in your business, rest assured, you are not alone. In fact, many small business owners across the country have this struggle as they compete with corporate America for talent.

As a small business owner, you have an opportunity to shine as an employer in your community by getting to know the unique needs of your employees, and working with them to balance their performance at work with other areas of their life that are important to them.

Just what do the best employees want? If you've been assuming it's “better pay,” you may be surprised to learn that better pay is not the only way to attract and keep great employees. In fact, money only goes so far as an incentive for employees.

Small businesses are much better positioned than larger companies to meet the work/life balance needs of their employees. Why? Small business owners can flexibly address work/life balance with their employees. Larger organizations tend to take a “one-size” fits all approach to this issue, which is very frustrating for employees.

According to Stewart Friedman, professor of Management and the founding director of the Wharton School's Leadership Program, “It's not an uncommon problem in many HR areas where, for the sake of equality, there's a standard policy that is implemented in a way that is universally applicable – [even though] – everyone's life is different and everyone needs different things in terms of how to integrate the pieces. It's got to be customized.”

Many of the successful business owners I have interviewed for my book, How to Hire the Best, are doing just that, but not in a formalized way. It's just who they are. They care about their employees when various circumstances arise in the lives of their employees. If this is something you are already doing, it's time to “toot your own horn” and make it more widely know that this is a benefit of working for you.

Mike Bailey, owner of Bailey Enterprises in Riverton, Wyoming shares one way his business helps his employees with work/life balance:

“We try to create an environment where we're flexible enough that we can work with people's schedules to a point. We still need people to come to work every day, but we've got people sharing daycare with each other. We have one lady who works evenings and one lady who works mornings. They watch each other's kids sometimes. This helps us gain those employees who maybe wouldn’t be here if we weren't that flexible.
We've got employees whose spouse works a certain time of day, so the employee needs to work different times of day so that they can take turns watching their kids. There are lots of families out there with multiple income earners. That's part of what we have to work around. We're flexible, helping people find solutions to some of those issues we all have in our lives.”

Take Action: Make time for conversations with your employees to find out what matters to them. This goes a long way toward creating a culture where employees feel connected, appreciated, and supported by you in thriving in all areas of their lives.

Want more strategies to attract top performing employees? Check out this preview of my book, How to Hire the Best.

Reference: John Keyser. Are We Happy Yet: How coaching is improving workplace morale. Choice Volume 11, Number 4. pp. 19-20. December 2013

About The Author

Dr. Sabrina Starling, The Business Psychologist and international best-selling author of the How to Hire the Best series and The 4 Week Vacation™, is the founder of Tap the Potential and host of the Profit by Design podcast. At Tap the Potential, we work to free business owners from the constant demands of a growing business.

We believe work supports life, not the other way around. Clients in our Better Business, Better Life coaching program have more time for what matters most and more money in their bank account than they’ve ever had. Next, we send them off on a 4 Week Vacation™ to celebrate their hard-earned journey to take their life back!

Dr. Sabrina and her team at Tap the Potential are on a mission to change the story of entrepreneurship from one of long hours, grinding it out, to one of sustainably profitable businesses that support and enhance life. The Tap the Potential Solution™ and our Tap the Potential Family of Business Owners are disrupting small business as usual. We are on our way to making the Tap the Potential Solution™ the mainstream model for growing business.

By 2023, 150 Tap the Potential clients will have taken 4 Week Vacations. These are the trailblazers, role modeling what’s possible for entrepreneurs. In many entrepreneurial circles, it is becoming more and more common for one entrepreneur to ask another, “Have you taken a 4 Week Vacation™?” (as opposed to asking “How many employees do you have?” or “What is your annual revenue?”). Taking a fully unplugged 4 Week Vacation is rapidly becoming the recognized symbol of entrepreneurial success.

Never one to accept the status quo or back down from a challenge, Dr. Sabrina’s How to Hire the Best series grew from her desire to solve the toughest hiring challenges interfering with her clients’ growth and profitability. What sprang from her experience working with entrepreneurs in rural areas catapulted her into becoming the world’s leading expert in attracting top talent in small businesses—no matter what hiring challenges those businesses are facing—and earned Tap the Potential’s reputation as the go-to resource for entrepreneurs committed to creating Great Places to Work with thriving coaching cultures and highly engaged team members working from strengths.

As The Business Psychologist, and with her years of driving profit in small businesses, Dr. Sabrina knows what it takes to find, keep, and motivate exceptional performance out of your biggest investment—team members.