The Top Recruiting Priorities of Small and Medium Businesses in 2016

February 16, 2016

Sure, every company wants to hire smart and talent employees. But for small to mid-sized businesses, there is no margin for error – every hire counts, as they need right people to move their business forward.

This means that when it comes to recruiting and retaining talent, small businesses are laser focused on their priorities. And to find out what these priorities are, we directly asked leaders who work at companies with fewer than 1,000 employees.

Here’s what they had to say (and you can see the rest of the results in our Global Recruiting Trends report

  • smb priorities gif

1. Recruiting highly-skilled talent

This was the resounding #1 priority of SMBs and it’s no surprise, as growing a business requires the right people.

Looking closely at the global data, European leaders seem to be more focused on this than any other region. It could a combination of the higher unemployment rates across Europe, or the make up of the market, where there are more SMBs in these countries. 

2. Increasing employee retention

Despite the tightening in the economy, this is still a candidate’s market and companies want to keep the talent they worked so hard to recruit. Hence retention emerged a top SMB priority. In fact, it’s the number one focus for SMBs across Asia-Pacific and the Americas. Leaders in the UK were divided - recruiting highly-skilled talent and employee retention tied as the top recruiting priority.

3. Improving/measuring the quality of hire

Since a single hire can make or break an organization’s culture (and even business growth), focusing on finding and measuring quality hires is one way to ensure long-term success. This was an especially important priority for SMBs in the United States – may of them even listed it as their number one to-do in 2016.

Where SMBs are finding quality hires

Since SMBs place such high value on finding quality talent, we wanted to dig deeper and find out how they do that.

  • smb priorities 2016

According to our survey, the most important sources of quality hires among SMBs were:

  • Internet job boards
  • Social professional networks
  • Employee referrals.

It makes sense. Most small businesses don’t necessarily have time to source talent. The person recruiting is also the HR manager, payroll admin, and part-time office-party planner. Posting a job is all the time that they have, and job posts often gather quality results.

However, some high-growth companies are investing more time to find the right hire, which may be why social professional networks are another top source of quality talent. Social professional networks actually grew 3 percentage points from last year’s survey, indicating that they will continue to be an essential recruiting tool.

Finally, we aren’t surprised employee referrals round out the top three sources of quality hires. Employee referrals are important for any organization, but they’re critical in the early years. Referred candidates are an endorsement for cultural fit, and referred hires tend to stay longer, which is key for small businesses.

A long-term view on recruiting trends is essential to business growth. Get the insights to power your organization forward with the Small to Mid-sized Business Edition of Global Recruiting Trends 2016.