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I’m sure that for many of you, recruiting new staff is always one of your top grumbles and challenges as a business. And the results back that up – a recent survey revealed that 69% of people surveyed in the UK agree. The biggest recruitment challenge was finding somebody with the required skills or experience, followed closely by a general lack of applicants. Not surprisingly, the study also revealed that UK businesses typically had recruitment success if they offered a large salary.

As a result of this, the study showed that SME’s seemed to struggle more with recruitment as they felt they couldn’t keep up with the salary offers of larger businesses. What’s interesting is that the second biggest pull for candidates was companies who offered good  company benefits & training/development opportunities. So it got me thinking about how, as a SME, you could attract staff to your business rather than focusing on a high salary offering.

Flexible working is great for people with other commitments and families. According to Glassdoor’s Employment Confidence Survey, over 60% of people report that benefits and perks are a major factor in considering whether to accept a job offer. The survey also found that 80% of employees would choose additional benefits over a pay raise and that 70% of employees are more motivated and likely to stay at a company when offered attractive benefits.

Investing in more training and development for your staff is something that will ultimately benefit new employees. When PwC interviewed a large group of millennials, they found that over 50% of respondees said that learning and progression was their main attraction to a business. You could also consider graduates or newly qualified staff in your recruitment process. They might not have years of experience, but they can be moulded to how you want them to work and will be very keen to learn.

We’ve said it once and we will keep saying it again and again – recruit for attitude and train for skills! The survey results obviously show there could be a skills gap in the market – so it might be worthwhile reviewing your criteria and expectations. Try to focus on the kind of personality & attitude you are looking for and what type of person would suit your culture. Skills can be taught, we all know that, but personality and attitude is hard to change.  As Richard Branson once said “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.”

And finally, consider headhunting to find the right staff for your business. If somebody catches your eye grab them before anybody else does! They might not actively be looking for a new job, but your offering might be too tempting for them to resist! Happy recruiting!