You can go about attracting the top talent in your industry in a few different ways: Pay the most, advertise the most, or become a company frequently voted "Best Company to Work For." The first two are expensive; the third takes more work on your part, but ultimately makes your company stronger. How do you transform your company into an award-winning place to work? It might be easier than you think, but it might take a change in your perspective. Ask yourself what it's like to work for you. Thinking "I would never work for me" is not acceptable when you want to hire the top talent in your industry. Here is a checklist to help you turn your company into a place where people actually compete for job openings.
Study the Competition
While we're not advocating that you engage in outright corporate espionage, it doesn't hurt to know your competition. If you work in an industry long enough, you'll hear things. You can also search online for websites that allow - and even encourage - employees to rate and review their employers, like Glassdoor.com and Indeed.com. Your goal is to find out what people like about working for companies in your industry and what they don't like. If you add at least some of the perks employees do like and minimize some of the disadvantages that they don't like, you can gain an immediate advantage above your competition.
Don't Torch the Benefits
Small business owners frequently cancel existing benefits like health insurance when they feel they should tighten the belt somewhere. This is the last place you should tighten the belt; don't be that business owner! Shop around and see if you can get a better deal on your premiums, provided you aren't doing so to the detriment of your employees' benefits. Try to save money elsewhere. Medical benefits are important to employees, and they'll see a good package as a desirable part of their income. If possible, add dental and vision plans.
Not every business owner can close up shop on holidays, but you can still observe them. Provide alternate, staggered days off during the weeks surrounding the holiday, or provide pay bonuses for the employees who must work them. Showing the people who work for you that you care often means more than giving them the actual holiday off.
Put in a Foosball Table
It doesn't have to be a foosball table, of course, but the idea is to show your employees that it's not all nose-to-the-grindstone with you. Encourage your staff to get up, move around, shake it off, and take a break when appropriate.
Encourage Paid Time Off (PTO)
If you're a fledgling bootstrap-funded business, you probably won't be able to offer 30 days of annual PTO to your employees. That's okay, and your employees already know the deal. They won't expect that type of benefits package. However, try to give your staff at least a few paid days off a year. You know the saying, "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy."
This last step should be a no-brainer, yet reports in all types of industries consistently show that the owners and upper management haven't figured it out yet. No one is happy about going to work when their boss is a total jerk, after all. So, be nice.
If you work hard to transform your company into an award-winning place to work, you'll not only gather a wall's worth of accolades (like these plaques for business awards), but you'll also gather a team of people who take ownership of their work. And that, you could argue, is the best award of all.