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Expert Advice for Medium and Midsize Businesses

Talent is Keeping SMB Leaders Up at Night

The results of an Inc. / Oracle survey, What’s Keeping America’s SMB Leaders Up at Night, showed talent is the number one business concern for today’s SMB owners and executives. Nearly 45% of respondents said talent-related issues are causing them to lose sleep.

This is understandable. After all, your people are the cornerstone of your business. You would be nothing without them. To learn how SMBs can address their talent challenges, Oracle SMB asked our Twitter community for their insights. Continue reading to see the answers we received.

In a recent survey, What’s Keeping America’s SMB Leaders Up at Night, respondents said “hiring an effective workforce” is a top concern. Why do you think this is?

Talent is the lifeblood of business and is intense to acquire and retain top talent, especially STEM talent.
– Jon Gelberg (@Jon_Gelberg), Inc. Magazine, Executive Editor - Content Strategies

People are THE key to any company’s success… and SMBs don’t have the benefit of big time name or brand recognition, so they often struggle to attract great talent.
– Jeff Lundal (@JeffLundal), Oracle, Senior Vice President of SMB Application Sales

Unless you run a solo business, you need help. Finding people who can enable you to achieve your goals can be tough.
– Brian Moran (@BrianMoran), Award-winning Business Advisor

An effective workforce is having people that can EFFECTIVELY work together. If they can’t, then projects will fail.
– Roslyn Wertheimer (@RE_Wertheimer)

Download our new ebook to learn how to solve key talent concerns so that you can get some sleep at night.

 

What are some steps executives can take to effectively compete with larger enterprises to hire the talent they need?

Offer a great company culture, provide a “seat at the table,” and be creative with compensation packages. Target entrepreneurial candidates. These candidates want a work environment where their voice will be heard from day 1.
– Jon Gelberg (@Jon_Gelberg), Inc. Magazine, Executive Editor - Content Strategies

Identifying talent that wants to work for their company is the first step. Oftentimes, effort is wasted trying to recruit talent that doesn’t have the desire to work for that specific company. After hiring, properly managing career development and recognition is key to retaining the best talent.
– Jeff Lundal (@JeffLundal), Oracle, Senior Vice President of SMB Application Sales

For people to consider an SMB over a larger enterprise, the opportunity has to be about more than just money.
– Brian Moran (@BrianMoran), Award-winning Business Advisor

Promote an environment where staff have roles they can develop and grow within and be mentored to success beyond.
– @DivasDelite

As startups have shown, equity in the business can make all the difference in a compensation package. Understand who you need to make your business successful and hire them. Often, startups try to “grow” someone into a role.
– Julie Zisman (@JulieZisman)

Which is more important for supporting growth, hiring the right people or retaining them?

Retaining is more important because it takes a lot of time, money and effort to get someone up to speed and contributing.
– Jon Gelberg (@Jon_Gelberg), Inc. Magazine, Executive Editor - Content Strategies

Hiring top talent to grow the company is key BUT retaining top talent already working to grow the company is equally important. You need to stay close to your employees to understand fit and function, so you can performance manage effectively.
– Jeff Lundal (@JeffLundal), Oracle, Senior Vice President of SMB Application Sales

I say retain your best employees and replace the mediocre ones with better talent. Mike Tomlin of the Steelers said it best, “I will tolerate you until I can replace you!”
– Brian Moran (@BrianMoran), Award-winning Business Advisor

Trick question. You can’t retain what you don’t have.
– Sonia Harris (@Harrisonia)

Both. You do not want to retain the wrong people, and you do not want to miss the opportunity to hire the right people. It can take up to 2 years for a new employee to fully learn his/her job.
– Christiane Soto (@ChristianeSoto)

Over a quarter of SMB executives said they worry about their lack of advancement opportunities for employees, unlike their larger competitors. Any advice?

As companies grow, hierarchies tend to develop. Tell employees to be patient, while dangling options and other incentives. While “advancement” may not be possible, employees can be “elevated” through raises and bonuses.
– Jon Gelberg (@Jon_Gelberg), Inc. Magazine, Executive Editor - Content Strategies

SMBs don’t have as many levels of advancement, this needs to be understood and accepted by the talent joining the company. The benefit of working at an SMB is that you typically wear more hats and are closer to executive leadership. These components should be sold as benefits and why talent should stay at the company.
– Jeff Lundal (@JeffLundal), Oracle, Senior Vice President of SMB Application Sales

SMBs can’t create opportunities for employees if they don’t have growth plans in place. It starts with the plan.
– Brian Moran (@BrianMoran), Award-winning Business Advisor

Advancement is key. No one wants to be Dilbert, but in SMBs, vertical advancement is hard. Think horizontal job changes. Horizontal advancement can be key too. Marketable skills can be learned from coworkers and peers, as well as executives.
– Christiane Soto (@ChristianeSoto)

How can technology help SMBs level the playing field when it comes to hiring and retaining employees?

Technology can be used to quickly identify the people with the skillsets and cultural fit you’re looking for. Technology can help identify your most outstanding employees, which allows you to put them on a leadership track.
– Jon Gelberg (@Jon_Gelberg), Inc. Magazine, Executive Editor - Content Strategies

Technology is a force multiplier across the entire Human Capital Management (HCM) spectrum. From identifying, recruiting and retaining… Technology helps automate and properly deliver the tools and processes to run a top tier organization.
– Jeff Lundal (@JeffLundal), Oracle, Senior Vice President of SMB Application Sales

To learn more about talent concerns of SMB execs—and our solutions, read the ebook: Losing Sleep Over Talent: SMB Leaders’ Top Talent Concerns and How to Fix Them.

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