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February 6, 2015
How to Hire and Keep Good Workers if You're in Smallville
 
Hiring employees is an exciting but daunting task. You’re constantly striving to select and hire the best available talent from an endless pool of qualified candidates. But, when you’re a small-town business, your candidate pool shrinks significantly. That’s why small-town businesses need to provide offerings that candidates can’t find elsewhere.

We know from experience, because we’re a tech firm located in the small town of Middletown, Delaware. But we’ve managed to recruit and keep exceptional talent by focusing on these key areas…

Offer More Than Just the Standard Benefits
Many businesses, big and small, offer health insurance, as well as a 401k. Small-town businesses should focus on making their business benefits unique and different for their employees. For example, some of our perks include: lunch catered daily, free snacks and sodas, and a lounge complete with Netflix and video games. Plus, we offer company outings with coworkers, as well as an annual trip to a local amusement park for the entire family. By coupling these fringe benefits with a lucrative vacation plan, your business will shine in the eyes of potential candidates.

Cut Down Commute Time and Costs
Our office is 30 miles from the closest major city, but that doesn't keep employees away. It also doesn’t deter potential talent. Why? Because while the overall commuting distance may be longer compared to nearby cities, the travel time is far shorter. Traveling to a small town — and away from the city — means employees are going against the grain of traffic. This means no bumper-to-bumper traffic or wasted gas. Another perk is free parking. Try finding that in the city!

Don't Be Afraid to Recruit in Big Markets
Employees with specialized backgrounds are typically found in larger cities. This doesn't mean a small-town company should stray from recruiting these employees. Don’t forget, local companies need specialized talent, too. Even if small-town businesses can’t compete with city salaries, they can meet, if not exceed, city perks.

It's More Than 'Just a Job'
You'll spend 40 or more hours per week at the office. Shouldn't it be more than "just a job?" Small-town communities tend to be family-oriented and tight-knit. Why should work be any different? Foster and promote an environment that lives up to the small-town image. Celebrate the big wins at work and the big wins in life. At eZanga, we celebrate babies, weddings, engagements, birthdays, and major life changes of employees.

Salary Is More Competitive Than You Might Think
It’s true that as a small business in a small town, we may be at a disadvantage in the salary department. The starting salary may be less compared to a company in the city offering a similar position, but the take-home pay is likely similar. Small towns tend to boast lower taxes, and employees enjoy reduced commuting costs.

Family Flexibility Is Paramount
Small-town business calendars tend to follow local events and school schedules, which helps employees with children. This, along with a reduction in employment expenses, may be more beneficial to employees in the long run.

Culture Makes a Small Town Business Thrive
Many small-town businesses run with smaller staffs compared to urban counterparts. As a small-town business, this allows us to interact with all members of the company on a daily basis. To be sure a candidate is a good fit, we'll take them out to lunch or dinner with the management team. This gives us a good chance to see how they interact in a more comfortable setting, and how well they will fit into our business. It also keeps our work culture positive and thriving.

With these tips, your small-town business will find great talent, and keep them, too.

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Eli Martin is Director of Sales at eZanga www.eZanga.com
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