When growing a small business, employees that offer versatility, loyalty and a willingness to do whatever it takes can be key. The flexibility to work across all areas of the business, from sales to dispatch, cleaning to customer service, can make all the difference to a fledgling business.

In the early stages of bringing on employees, small businesses can often find it easier to attract those hungry for experience and full of fresh ideas to implement. Due to limited resources, brand awareness and other factors, it may be difficult or impractical to bring on more experienced people.

Whether in start-up mode or transitioning from small business to a medium sized enterprise, it is worth considering how you can effectively attract highly skilled people with experience working in bigger organisations. Their skills and experience could make all the difference in achieving or fast-tracking your business goals.

Why people from big business?

People who have experience working for larger businesses or the corporate world often have refined skills in specific areas, and can bring a perspective that will help in developing systems and processes to support a growing business.

How can small businesses attract top talent?

While small businesses may not have the inner-city location, flagship building, employee benefits, well-known brand or high salary to offer, there are so many benefits to working with smaller businesses!


More and more people are looking for businesses that can offer flexibility so they can manage a healthy work-life balance. Smaller businesses that can provide genuine flexibility or part-time roles should include that when advertising for new employees.

Close-knit team environment

One of the downfalls of working in a bigger business or corporate is that with such large numbers of employees it is easy to feel like a number, struggle to make meaningful connections, or get lost in the sea of faces.

There’s something appealing about a smaller team where from the very beginning in the hiring process the candidate is likely to be engaging with the business owner or managers, not just a HR representative (even when we assist our clients in recruitment, we interview with the business owner or manager). When there is more effort made to get to know people, this can make some feel more valued as an employee. Smaller teams can be genuinely friendly, close-knit and supportive – which can be harder for people to find in a corporate environment.

Opportunities for variety

In big business, roles can be very specialised, which for some can become limiting, repetitive and lacking in challenge. Businesses that can offer diverse roles, with exposure to multiple areas of the business and a variety of projects can attract those looking for a more dynamic, impactful role.

Other ways businesses can ‘compete’ with larger corporations

Though not for every business owner, when aiming to attract top talent, it may be worth considering how having the potential to influence the success of the business, possibly also with a share in the ownership or profit could help to bring on key players in the business’s growth.

Offer shares or equity

When hiring senior roles in particular, offering the potential to own a share in the company can be a key drawcard and also incentivises those employees to focus on the success of the business, and remain engaged over the longer term to see their investment grow.

Profit share

Where giving up ownership is not an option, establishing a profit share component to the salary is also an attractive option for someone leaving the corporate world. Having a tangible return on their efforts is another effective incentive to new employees.

Ownership of the role, team, projects and outcomes

In big business, there can often be many levels to management and making decisions or implementing changes can be so process driven and arduous that people can feel hamstrung in their jobs. Being able to take ownership of the role, a team, projects or outcomes AND having scope to make decisions and be trusted to deliver can be highly rewarding for some people. It’s important when bringing experienced people onto the team, especially at a senior level that there is a healthy degree of autonomy so that they can have the opportunity to spread their wings. This is something that may not be possible in a bigger business.

Never get another fridge email

No-one likes hearing from OHS obsessed Beryl about how someone didn’t label their lunch with the correct-coloured pen. This alone could well be enough to attract the best and brightest down from the ivory tower!

We’ve helped many businesses through growth and transition phases and can help to implement effective recruitment strategies and workforce planning so you can get the best out of your team. Want to know more? Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team, via the chat box here or calling us on 08 6150 0043.

Find our articles helpful? Remember to follow us on facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn to keep up to date with our practical tips and information for business owners and managers.