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5 Tips for SMEs competing with Big Business to attract high-quality staff

One of the biggest issues facing small business owners in Australia at the moment is how to attract and retain quality staff. We’ve all seen the stories of cafes forced to close early, pubs closed on public holidays and sadly even businesses closing the shutters for good because they simply can no longer survive.

The financial damage of having to reduce opening hours or decrease production due to staffing shortages is the final straw after COVID.

As a small business owner it’s easy to feel overwhelmed when it comes to recruiting, especially with larger organisations seemingly having greater pull power and the ability to outbid for workers.

But there is hope. A recent survey by My Business found 38% of the Australian public would rather work for a small business than a large organisation. That’s 2 in 5.

However, the sticking point seems to be luring the right ones in for the interview.The same survey found 77% of SME owners have found the quality of job applicants average or below. They seem to be struggling to find the right people.


So what can you do to compete with larger organisations when it comes to attracting quality staff?

These are my top tips for SMEs wanting to attract staff:

1. Give them equity

Think about involving your people in the business through an employee share scheme. These are now easier and much cheaper to put in place than previously and they’re a great incentive to attract quality job candidates that relieves the pressure of having to offer competitive salaries. By allowing your employees to share in the growth and success of your business you’re also giving them a reason to stay.

2. Be flexible

Staff these days are valuing flexibility over anything else. Think outside the box. Don’t just offer remote or hybrid working but reconsider non-traditional working hours and be open to job sharing.

3. Be human

People want to work for businesses that care about more than money. Small businesses have a huge advantage over larger organisations because they can take advantage of their flatter organisational structure to make their staff feel cared for and valued.

4. Benefits

Re-evaluate what benefits you’re offering staff and what they cost to the business. Some of the most popular benefits you could offer are also cost effective such as shorter Fridays during the summer months.

5. Personal touch

During the hiring process make sure you respond to all your applicants. Help make them advocates for your business even if they don’t get the job.


By Richard Spencer, Chief Customer Experience Officer at My Business


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