How to Leverage Employee Benefits for Recruitment Success

We’ve been chronicling the ups and downs of small business optimism for many months and sometimes it resembles one of those championship prize fights where the spunky challenger refuses to be beaten by the champ:

He’s down! He’s up! He’s down! He’s up!

All in all, I’ll stick by the prognosis I made at the beginning of the year and reaffirm my confidence that 2015 is going to be good for small business. (And hey, it doesn’t hurt that we’re entering into an important election cycle when every politician wants to be on the good side of small business owners and employees!)

The hiring headache

headache-public-domainBut when you start sifting through the problems that small business owners are having, one that is on the top of virtually every list is the ability to hire talented new employees. More than half of all small business owners say that they plan to expand their team this year…if they can recruit the right people.

Wisely, many small business owners are adopting social media strategies to recruit talented employees. This is a natural offshoot for businesses that have developed a savvy social media marketing program.

Another smart move is to look at what some of the country’s most desirable employers do to bring top quality people on board. If you think it’s hard to find good people where you’re located, the problem is compounded in Silicon Valley, where today there is virtually no unemployment in a wide range of professions. This is why companies like Google and Apple are famous for the benefits they give their employees.

No in-house French bistro?

While you may not have the space or the funds to offer things like a 24-hour gourmet food court or a cavernous employee game room, you can offer better insurance benefits than your competitors, such as dental, life, disability and vision. And with information easily accessible via the web, including sites like Met Life’s small business pages, developing the right strategy for your business is easier than it used to be. In other words, you can begin to get an idea of what you can offer to boost your benefit plan just by taking a few minutes to surf the web.

When you decide to upgrade your benefits package, make sure that you communicate it properly to your current team as well as in any job postings you may have out in cyberspace or in the local newspaper. For example an ad that says “health, vision, dental, life insurance benefits” has a lot more impact than simply saying “benefits.” If you have to pay a few bucks more for a slightly bigger ad, it will be worth the investment. You’re far more likely to recruit the quality individuals you’re looking for.

Also, be sure your current employees really understand everything that comes with any addition you make to your benefits package. Let them know that when disability insurance is part of the benefits package, for example, it means that it’s being offered through the workplace – you aren’t just scheduling appointments with an insurance broker to discuss buying it on their own.

Empowering your best recruiters

employees-public-domainI stress this because your best current employees are often your top recruiters. They know the individuals within their circle of acquaintances who are good workers and might be enticed to sign on with your company. When they make a pitch to these folks, you want them to be able to lay out all the benefits that come with the job.

Remember, significant growth ultimately requires adding talented and motivated people to your team. Without an appealing package of benefits, it is virtually impossible to meet that requirement today.