"The most valuable assets of a 20th-century company were its production equipment," said management expert Peter Drucker. "The most valuable asset of a 21st-century institution, whether business or non-business, will be its knowledge workers and their productivity." In our world today, the greatest advantage any business has is not its products and services, nor its technology and data--but its people.
Your employees are the face and voice behind your business who will retain happy customers. They're the boots on the ground whose productivity will propel your business. And they're the drivers of innovation who will constantly improve your business. A great leader with a great idea will not succeed without great people.
So if talent is your most valuable asset, how do you acquire it, invest in it, and hold onto it? Capital One's Spring 2019 Small Business Growth Index reveals the top ways that small businesses around the country are recruiting and retaining great employees.
1. Get competitive with compensation. In order to attract top talent, the majority of today's small business owners are reaching into their wallets. Seventy-six percent of business owners say that they're providing industry leading or competitive salaries. And they're paying fairly across the board, regardless of gender--81 percent of small business owners say that they do not have a gender pay gap at their company.
2. Offer generous benefits. With Millennials dominating the workforce, it's becoming increasingly important to provide the best possible benefits package. According to Pentegra's Millennial Benefits Trends Report, an incredible 97 percent of respondents said that they take into account whether a job offers benefits when considering applying, with 39 percent rating 401(k) retirement savings" as "Extremely Important," placing it in first place just ahead of health insurance and pension plans. Survey participants from the HR side of the equation provided insight on what they're hearing from Millennial interviewees, with 64 percent rating health insurance as "Extremely Important," followed by vacation (rated "Extremely Important" by 55 percent).
Capital One's Small Business Growth Index shows that small business owners are stepping up, with 47 percent of business owners saying that they're providing more benefits to employees, and 43 percent saying that they're marketing their business as a great place to work. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Millennial business owners (66 percent) are more likely to offer more benefits than their older counterparts; 38 percent of Gen X and 53 percent of Baby Boomers say that they compete for talent with benefits.
3. Be flexible with workplaces and schedules. Today's workforce doesn't just care about standard perks like 401(k)s and vacation days--they want to be able to work in the way that they perform best. According to the 2018 Work Environment Survey, employees are evaluating workplace flexibility and design when deciding whether to stay at their current job or considering a new job. In fact, 83 percent said they have their best ideas when working in flexible space options. But it's not just where they work that's important. Seventy-three percent of workers say that a flexible schedule is in their top two reasons to stay with a company, and flexible hours were the number one thing they cited when asked what they expect from their next employer (58 percent).
But just because employees are demanding flexibility doesn't mean that employers have caught up to the trend. Only 35 percent of business owners admit to investing in modern office perks, and just 29 percent are providing flexible work environments.
In order to recruit and retain top talent, make sure that you're doing everything you can to demonstrate how much you value them. For today's workers, that means competitive compensation, generous benefits, and flexibility. After all, your employees are your most valuable resource--you'll never regret investing in them.