Illustration: Chelsea Miller
Starting a Business 6 min read

Attracting Employees

By knowing what you’re looking for in an employee and providing incentives to attract skilled candidates, you can create a strong team.

Your Role

Many businesses, both big and small, offer the following incentives to their employees.

First of all, most potential employees look for a company that offers a well-rounded health plan. Depending on how extensive your budget is, you may include dental and optical coverage, which could make your company more attractive than your competitors.

Offering a retirement plan, such as a 401(k) or SEP, can also give you an edge when you’re hiring. Some employees may want to roll over their current retirement plan into the one that you offer, while others will want to start building their nest eggs.

Finally, it’s standard to provide paid vacation time to your employees. One way to decide how much vacation time you want to offer is to find out what other businesses in your industry offer, since you want to remain competitive. You’ll want to include your company’s policy for vacation days in your employee handbook, so that your employees know when they can expect an increase in the number of days they get.

Another benefit that employers are starting to offer young employees is assistance in paying off student loans. Because student loan debt is a financial burden on millions of young people in and entering the workforce, this is a benefit that may be a valuable recruitment and retention tool.

Flexible Incentives

To attract employees, you may want to provide flextime, which lets your employees set their hours or compress a full work week into four days. Or you can let your employees work remotely, which allows them to work from home, on the road, or from another city.

Making these schedules work can be a challenge for you as the business owner, since it maybe more difficult to create a cohesive office atmosphere. But if you schedule regular online conferences or in-office meetings, your employees will still feel connected to one another and your company in general.

Internships

One way to attract employees is to start young. Many companies offer internship programs to high school and college students, either for the summer or for credit during the academic year. If you offer this type of program, not only will you have added hands in the office, but you may also find some talented future employees among the interns you hire.

Salary Decisions

To come up with a reasonable salary for a potential employee, you should do some research. Find out what your competitors are offering to people in the same position you’re trying to fill. One way is to read salary surveys to see what the typical salaries are in your industry.

Chambers of Commerce, the US Department of Labor, and trade associations publish these surveys, and you can buy them from consulting firms or receive them through online subscription services.

Another factor to consider is your geographical region. Salaries, especially in lower-paid jobs, and for employees with less experience, vary from city to city, so it’s wise to get some statistics on the salary trends in your region.

Making the Offer

You can either call or email to extend the offer to your potential employee. But for record-keeping purposes, it may be wise to also send a written contract. You should be specific in your offer, making sure to include the position’s title, general duties, starting salary, start date, and a general description of vacation time and the benefits you offer.

You may also want to add a date by which you expect a response. That makes it easier for you to extend other offers if your first choice declines the position.

Helpful Hints

While it’s very important to offer your potential employees a competitive salary, you need to keep your company’s financial well-being in mind as well. That doesn’t mean that you should skimp on the incentives you offer, or the compensation packages that you create. But it’s still crucial that your company remains profitable, so be careful not to put your bottom line at risk.

The Costs of Your Offer

In a tight labor market, you may find that you have to offer higher salaries to attract employees. But how does that affect your current employees, who may end up making less than the new hires?

If you start offering higher salaries to your incoming employees, it’s smart to adjust your current employees’ salaries to reflect their skills and experience. You could also create a salary structure, in which you figure out a base salary for each job in your company. Once that structure is in place, it’s also easier for you to give scheduled pay raises.

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