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What attracts a talented employee to an SME?

Whether you’re a new business, or an established SME, getting your hands on new talent can prove difficult. This is especially true for those with a specialised skill who may already be in a secure position.

employing people in small business Hertfordshire

Without the support of a generously funded HR department, you might find it hard to get the message out there about why a prospective employee should work for you, so it is very important that you emphasis the successes of the SME and figure out exactly what aspects will appeal to prospective employees. Not too sure? We’ve put together a handy guide for you!

A recent study carried out by Nescafe Alegria and YouGov has shown that a friendly atmosphere, having a close relationship with colleagues and bosses, and having a say in the future of the company are key benefits of working in an SME.

Today, we’re going to reveal exactly what it is that employees love so much about SMEs and how you can use that to nab the best talent there is on the market.

Friendly colleagues

The stats: Most important for employees and employers alike was providing a positive work environment, with a majority saying that this was a key advantage to working in a SME as opposed to a larger company.

What you can do: The best way to ensure your working environment is positive is to have open lines of communication. SMEs have the advantage here as they are typically less bureaucratic, so there are closer relationships between the leadership and the employees.

happy employees,building relationshipsBuilding relationships

The stats: Another big hitter on why people chose to work for a small company was the ability to get to know more of the employees. Almost half (49%) or 18 – 24 year old employees polled felt that they have a better social life with their colleagues in an SME.

In fact, working relationships developed a bit of a theme as 45% of SME employees said that having a closer relationship with their manager made them happier at work.

What you can do: If you’ve made it this far, you already treat your business like an extension of your family. Extend this to your workforce too and your employees will feel more included and appreciated.

Treasured opinions

The stats: Being able to offer input into the future of the company was seen as an advantage. However, employers found this more valuable than employees, with 61% of the former to 41% of the latter.

What you can do: This shows that although employees feel like they have more of a say with an SME, employers could work a little harder on making sure their employees critique is taken on board.

Flexible working hours

employee timekeeping,small business Hertfordshire

The stats: Both employers and employees agree that flexible working hours make employees happy.

What you can do: SMEs are much more likely to be able to tailor a job to deal with employees’ individual needs. For example, if Monday is the only day that an employee can’t get childcare, a small business may be more willing than a big company to allow an employee to work from home one day a week. By offering this option to your employees, you could hold on to them!


The stats: Unfortunately, this is one of the areas where SMEs fall down. Many employees feel like they won’t be able to climb the career ladder so quickly, or move on to dizzier heights, in a SME.

What you can do: With a smaller workforce, it’s true that there may be less opportunities. On the other hand, the role you can offer a potential employee, in may cases, is more varied and has more breadth than at a big company, where employees tend to specialise more. Plus, loyalty means much more in a SME, so when high growth happens, your best employees will be the first in line for a reward!

Their success is your success

It’s an oft-cited cliché, but the success of any business really is down to the employees, so getting the pick of the crop is in your best interests. But don’t stress about how to get the best candidates, instead focus on selling you’re winning business culture and people will soon realise why it’s a great place to work.

If you would like help with your hiring strategy, figuring out exactly what your SME culture is, or implementing any of the advice offered above, DAA Consulting would be pleased to help. Contact us to let us know what you need, and we’ll be able to get you where you need to be.
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