Transforming small business with top talent

The leading attributes of top talent includes problem-solving, self-direction, strategic thinking, communication and passion – it’s these attributes that small businesses should identify in talent to transform and diversify their business.

Small businesses have always been the backbone of the Australian economy, and according to the Treasury, they will be a key driver in taking Australia forward into the age of disruptive technology and a growing Asian market for exports and services. More than two million small businesses employ more than 4.5 million Australians – almost 40% of the total labour force, and contribute more than $340 billion to our economy every year. To fuel this large and vital portion of the economy, small businesses must attract and retain top talent, quickly.

At our recent Indeed interactive event in Byron Bay, we presented new research on talent attraction in Australia.

Why attracting top talent can be a game-changer

The recent innovation push by the Australian government highlighted that the success of small business and home-grown start-ups is an essential element to transitioning from a resource-based economy to a thriving knowledge-based economy. While attracting top talent needs to be a priority for all managers and leaders in today’s increasingly volatile and complex market, it can have a make or break impact on small businesses.

This is because top talent can have an exceptional impact in the workplace, and that impact is magnified in small businesses. One study finds 10% of productivity comes from the top 1% of employees and 26% of output derives from the top 5%. New research by Indeed has clarified what this talent looks like and how these top performers make their next career move.

What a top performer looks like

We surveyed 1000 hiring managers and nearly 4,000 job seekers about the most critical attributes associated with top performance that can transform a business

Based on our research, top performers have well-rounded personalities. They are quick learners, personable, helpful and efficient in their day-to-day work. But they also go beyond what is required of them, work well with others and communicate effectively. They listen to others, are open to feedback and criticism and have a strong desire to learn.

The leading attributes of top talent includes problem-solving, self-direction, strategic thinking, communication and passion – it’s these attributes that small businesses should identify in talent to transform and diversify their business.

How top performers search for jobs

Our research found 91% of top performers hired within the past year took action to find a job six months prior to being hired, and 60% agreed that they were more confident in the jobs they found themselves; rather than jobs presented by a recruiter.

The findings illustrate small businesses need to have a broader strategy when trying to attract top talent. I’ve included the top three.

First, optimise inbound sources to reach more quality candidates through online job sites, email notifications and mobile. Second, use your employer brand to appeal to top performers as they are more likely than others to accept a new job that offers more meaningful work, a great company reputation and a positive work environment.

Finally, make it easy for top talent to apply for your jobs. To avoid eliminating potentially transformational candidates early in the recruiting process, ensure your application process is simple, mobile friendly and not overly complex.

These insights confirm that the majority of the workforce still actively pursues jobs, suggesting no one is “passive” about their career anymore. What’s more, top performers—who in the past may have been assumed to be “passive” candidates—are equally active in their job search.

Small businesses that embrace these trends will be better equipped to attract transformational talent to their organisations.

Chris McDonald, Managing Director – Australia & NZ, Indeed