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Small businesses are only as successful as the individuals they are made of. You cannot ‘carry’ a poorly performing employee in the way a larger business can. Yet to win talent, you’re also up against larger organisations with more resource for higher salaries and benefit packages. Don’t worry, small businesses have some recruitment weapons in their arsenal too.

Money isn’t everything

The good news is that the salary is not the be all and end all of attracting talent. Culture, values, opportunity for experience and development, and job security are all important.

Working for a smaller business affords individuals with diverse and interesting challenges where they aren’t simply a cog in a machine. They can make their mark more noticeably. Furthermore, facilitating a vibrant and positive culture is considerably easier away from corporate restrictions.


Larger organisations with a long chain of decision makers can sometimes struggle to offer true flexibility. They need consistent policies and procedures which can result in employees feeling devalued as individuals.

On the other hand, small businesses can offer flexibility to their employees on a ‘give and take’ basis. It means they can drop their children of at school, or leave early without feeling like they’re undermining their position. Being able to offer employees remote working from home can help you, too, with lower overheads, but also work for their lifestyle.

Be creative with benefits

Similarly, use flexibility to your advantage when it comes to benefits. It’s unlikely that you can compete against larger employers in terms of benefit packages. What you can offer is benefits in the form of unique perks.

Free snacks or lunchtime sandwiches are always a winner (and something that we enjoy here at The Accountancy Partnership!).

Similarly, offer a pleasant working environment, perhaps where there is a comfortable break out space. Allow employees to rent a space, for minimal cost, for parties. Give shopping vouchers out as on-the-spot rewards for a job well done. Be creative in terms of what you can offer.

Nurture your culture

Don’t let your workplace culture happen by accident. Create a positive and dynamic working environment where feedback is constructive and positively given. Your employees will give more to you knowing they are valued, and when they are enjoying a pleasant workspace. Support volunteering endeavours.

When you can, foster team spirit by organising activities away from the workplace. Whether this is a meal out or an activity day, you can show employees that they are valued.

Look after their future, as well as their present

Almost every candidate will likely have their eye on the future. They want to know that their career can develop with you. The advantage small businesses have is that a role can grow with a person. Their direct success and efforts should result in better business success. Remember to recognise and reward this.

Longer term, retirement considerations and pension planning at an early stage will help employees feel secure.

About The Author

Elizabeth Hughes

A content writer specialising in business, finance, software, and beyond. I'm a wordsmith with a penchant for puns and making complex subjects accessible. Learn more about Elizabeth.

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