Talent Drain still the biggest issue for SME business.

3 tips for attracting and retaining talent.

A direct result of the current cost-of-living crisis, means that running costs for SME business are at an eye watering level right now, so what are some of the steps we can take to save costs in our businesses right now?

In a recent study conducted for Natwest Mentor, the ongoing talent drain felt by many businesses continues to be a fine line between weathering the current storm or deciding to shut up shop once and for all.  Attracting and retaining talent into our business is going to be key for a lot of companies over the coming months, as we seek to save costs and aim for stability in very unstable times.

Here are our top 3 tips to attracting and retaining talent…

DON’T just use pay rises

One of the biggest frustrations right now is seeing the increasing amount of LinkedIn posts from businessowners discussing how they have increased their staff salaries in line with inflation, although a noble gesture we have to remember that with inflation set to rise again over the next two quarters (at least) the approach to giving pay rises is simply not sustainable for the future, and is worrying for two very real reasons:

  1. If you continue to simply increase base salaries, you WILL ultimately run out of money and your staff will eventually have to leave.
  2. Bigger than average base line increases only results in an over inflation of market salaries, and with the UK economy predicted to enter its 5th consecutive quarter of negative growth and inflation tipped to enter the high teens, all business is doing by raising base salaries is hurting the long-term growth plans of every business in the UK.   

So, what are the alternatives?

Work on linking your business success with that of your employees, how? By making sure that your business plans and strategy are clear and communicated to your teams. Align pay rises to the contribution and achievement of company and individual goals and projects; then as the company succeeds and grows, so do the salaries and benefits of your employees.

We are already seeing some encouraging results from our clients in terms of employees sharing in the success of the business through aligning and focusing teams on changes that are needed in the business, from operational efficiencies, employee recommendations and increased customer service. It’s a win / win for both parties!

DO tell your story

After the last two years individuals have moved to values based decision making,  the decisions we take as individuals are now much more aligned to the What’s in it for me (WIIFM model) we are more inclined to make decision based on “how will this benefit me and my life”, and this directly translates to when future employees are seeking new roles.  So, with this in mind, its time to start telling your story!

Employees want to hear your story, they want to know why they should work for you, it’s no longer enough to simply post a role/job vacancy on the generic recruitment websites (god save our souls!) and wait for the CVs to come flooding, that time is well and truly over.  Employees want to know who and what you are about and WHY they should join you.  Here are 3 simple actions to take:

  1. Post updates on what you are doing and what you have been up to as a business.
  2. Be personal, post images of your teams and the role they play in the business, its not about the name over the door, it’s about the people who work there, give prospective candidates a chance to ask, “are they like me and can I see myself working there?”
  3. Tell them about the journey you are on, people now more than ever want to be involved in the journey and want to understand how they can play their part and add value, give them a reason to want to join your business.

DON’T let an opportunity pass you by.

  1. Make sure you have a vacancy or recruitment page on your website, and that it’s up to date!  Make it routine to refresh and update your page with the stories you have created from the above list.
  2. Ensure all your activity online filters them back to your home page and vacancy page on the website, don’t give them chance to click anywhere else.   You have their attention, don’t loose it by not taking the opportunity to add the links to all your sites.
  3. Make the time to build your brand and tell your story.

Want to talk more? then come and join us for one of our on line Recruitment 101 discussion sessions.   


  • With over 20 years' experience in structuring and growing businesses and teams from inception, through periods of growth and change and finally structuring them ready for sale, Karen and her team have helped dozens of business owners and leaders manage growth and change within their business by concentrating on the human side of running and managing a business. An experienced Organisational Coach and HR Consultant, Karen has extensive experience in working with growth SMEs and a proven background in delivery and development of employees against business goals, her specialism is in working with small and medium size companies, delivering operational, people-based solutions that are commercially focused and enable growth of the business. Karen also works as a Non-Executive Director and Trustee and is a trained Predictive Index (PI) Analyst.

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