This blog was written by Elizabeth Burt, Senior Leadership Consultant at Helpside and member of our People Strategy team.

Not long ago, we had some quails in our backyard. My son could hear them chirping and asked, ”Mommy, what kind of bird is that?” I told him they were quails, which was immediately followed up by a plethora of questions including, ”What do they eat? Why are they here? Where do they sleep? etc.” If you have kids, you know the drill. They start asking questions, and you start pulling up Google, Before I knew it, I knew more about quails than I could have imagined, including their signature call. We placed a speaker to the open window to allow our backyard feathered friends to enjoy the sound bite. The quails turned to the sound and quickly flew away. We were perplexed until my son noticed that the quails in the sound bite picture had orange feathers on top of their heads and the quails in our backyard had black feathers on top of their heads. We changed the sound bite call to the match the quails we had seen in our backyard, and almost instantly, our backyard turned into a quail convention.

This got me thinking of the small business owners we work with and how we hear often that they are struggling to find employees in this employee-friendly job market because they have a hard time competing for talent against big businesses. Small business owners have expressed when it comes to attracting qualified applicants, their company is often overlooked because they cannot offer the higher wages and big corporate perks of their competitors. I could not help but think that our small business owners might be making the same mistake I had—not using their own distinct call to attract candidates.

What I have found in my time working with leaders in several industries of varying sizes is although small business may have similar day-to-day operational needs as their big business counterparts, the employee role is much different. This is something that can be attractive to job-seekers and a unique competitive advantage for small businesses.

This is why job postings are important—they are your call! Make the most of them by following these steps:

Define your call by listening to your flock.
Start defining your call by involving your team. Ask them “why do you like working here?” Start collecting that feedback. You don’t have to administer a fancy survey. Place a poster board in the breakroom for your team members to note their likes. Put a word document in a shared folder for your employees to share their thoughts. Ask you leaders to take a quick polle during their team meetings. It doesn’t matter how you do it but start collecting that feedback pronto!

Do you have anyone on your team who came from a larger corporation and are now solid rock stars in your business? They will be able to provide the best details about why your business is a great fit. Birds of a feather do flock together and your team members who are your biggest fans know why they love working for you and will be able to best articulate why others will love working for you too!

Sound off! Every small detail matters.
Imitation is a common competitive strategy employed in business. Small businesses are generally more agile and are better able to implement and benefit from imitation strategies. However, when it comes to attracting new team members distinction not imitation is what will attract those exceptional candidates who are uniquely suited to the challenges that are easily ready to them when they are part of a small business team.

Here are some pros to working for a small business and how that distinction would play out in a job posting:

A highly sought-after benefit of working for a small company are opportunities where an employee can make a daily impact to the business. Employees are more likely to make decisions that drive the company’s direction and to have a direct impact on its success. In a small business, every single employee gets to make an impact on the customer and on the bottom line.

  • Big Call: We are looking for a customer-oriented service representative.
  • Small Call: We are looking for game-changers in the industry who will grow the business by creating customer-oriented service responses that delight our customers.

Diverse Experiences
In a small business, everyone gets to wear many hats. The opportunities to step up and be involved in whatever the business needs is exciting. Employees are able to learn a wide range of skills and gain diverse experiences that they are not likely to have in a large company.

  • Big Call: You will manage large amounts of incoming calls and follow communication procedures, guidelines and policies.
  • Small Call: We need effective listeners who are eager to act on customer feedback (the good and the bad) and design solutions that make a difference.

It is much easier in a small business to see the work of your employees and to take care of them. For example, if an employee spent a couple of weeks working overtime or harder than normal to meet a deadline a leader would be able to give them days off to relax and rejuvenate.

  • Big Call: We have competitive benefits and vacation time.
  • Small Call: We take care of our employees, especially our employees who take care of our customers. Sure, we offer vacation time, but we look for ways to create incentives for our team members that are personal. Just one of the many perks of working for a small business.

No Red Tape
In a small business, it is easier to get up and walk over to find out why a mistake happened or clear up misunderstandings.

  • Big Call: We focus on efficiency of the customer service process.
  • Small Call: We are looking for self-starters who are eager to bring innovative customer happiness ideas to life. Not only that, you have direct access to the people at the top!

It’s much easier to see, feel, connect and be included in a business with 100 employees than one with 100,000. Not many big businesses allow employees to be able to connect in a meaningful way within a large corporation.

  • Big Call: Effectively locate bottlenecks in chain of process and improve business capacity by defining and applying process improvement solutions.
  • Small Call: Looking for a results-focused people person with the ability to manage relationships effectively. You really do make a difference!

Small businesses have a place in this market. Use the advantage of being small to your benefit when it comes to job postings. And if you have any great tips on attracting and retaining amazing team members, please share. We would love to hear them!