In the Race for Talent, Here’s Why Small Businesses Have the Advantage

“Talent is on the move,” writes Andy Medici for The Business Journals.

“Workers are quitting at historically high rates, often seeking jobs with better work life balance and remote-work flexibility,” Medici says. “At the same time, many large corporations are removing geography from the equation and hiring workers regardless of where they live. For small businesses struggling to hire in this environment, that can be intimidating. For savvy entrepreneurs, experts say it’s also an opportunity.”

Medici talked to a few CEOs, myself included, for his recent article “How small businesses can compete with giants for talent and win,” gleaning wisdom on how SMEs can stay competitive and come out ahead in the race for talent.

Of course, I talked to him about the future of work: flexibility. I noted how small companies are much better positioned to treat employees the way they want to be treated — like humans, rather than commodities. This is about management style, about personal attention, and about flexibility: More than ever, employees aren’t seeing flexible hours and work location as privileges. They’re looking at this flexibility as a basic expectation and as an acknowledge of their value to the company — as a sign of respect. The advantages we know start-ups and small companies have over larger firms — flat hierarchy, faster decision-making processes, less red tape — all amount to the ability to be more responsive to employee needs, flexibility perhaps most important of all.

Here’s some of the wisdom shared by a few of the other leaders interviewed on how nimble small businesses have the advantage over larger firms, and of course, how pivotal flex and hybrid workplace strategies will be in landing top talent. All great lessons:

“Smaller companies are competing, and can compete with an adoption of a fully flexible work style, trust and empowerment of their people, offering a fully remote culture, and I’d recommend moving quickly in the hiring phase. Snapping people up when they’re available is worthwhile, and larger companies can often take longer. As a small company, stay committed to your hiring process and get it done.” –Sarah Hawley, CEO and founder of remote work firm Growmotely

“The hierarchy, bureaucracy, and sheer physical footprint of larger businesses make it difficult for a large corporation to be nimble. They have legacy systems and a workforce often built to go to work. I work with small and medium-sized businesses and although the labor market is spectacularly tight, many now have access to corporate alumni ready to jump ship from anywhere in the country … and the world for that matter.” –Success Performance Solutions President Ira Wolfe

“Businesses which anchor their HQ to a digital workplace are more likely to make hybrid or remote work a success. Technology is going to be the key differentiator and if used smartly, small-business owners can give their workers an option to work-from-anywhere — a perk that opens up channels of borderless hiring.” –Suresh Sambandam, CEO of Kissflow Inc.

Read the full article: “How small businesses can compete with giants for talent and win.”