How SMEs can build their employer brand to attract top talent

Any small-business owner knows great talent is key to success. When it comes to drawing in passionate and motivated employees, you’re up against many larger companies, so your employer brand is crucial. Similar to consumer branding, which builds recognition for products, employer branding is focused on attracting future employees by building your business’ reputation as a highly regarded employer.

Big businesses typically spend a significant amount of money on their employer brand, hiring HR professionals dedicated to creating and sharing content about their culture and company perks. For SMEs, who likely won’t have the same budgets, the key is to focus on the unique qualities and strengths you bring to the table. Here are some examples of what these may be.

Individuals have a direct impact on the business

One of the most appealing elements to top talent of working for an SME is the direct impact an individual can have within the organisation.

Open up a dialogue with your team members. Highlight their wins and achievements on your online channels, and conversely encourage employees to leave reviews on company review sites. For instance, SMEs can claim a Company Page through Indeed which they can customise with a logo, description, website and social media links. This is another avenue where you can share your story, and employees can post reviews that give insight into what it’s like to work for your business. Sharing genuine content allows you to be authentic and attract people who will be a strong cultural fit.

Employees can try new things

Another benefit of working for an SME: roles tend to be less specialised, so employees have opportunities to learn new skills.

Feature examples of employee growth and development on your Company Page or social-media channels. Encourage employees to talk about opportunities they’ve had to learn new things, on your blog or social media – make sure you get their story out there!

The freedom to be unique

Big businesses may have more money for luxury perks, but SMEs take the lead when it comes to local, personal or quirky benefits that top talent truly values. Think about what reflects your company values, and what would appeal to your team members. For instance, you could close the office early on Fridays, or create a dog-friendly workplace.

There are many ways to showcase your culture that needn’t hurt the hip pocket – so find what works for you.

Emphasize personal ties to the community

These days, most people want more than just a pay cheque out of their employer; they want to feel that their work has a larger social impact.

You don’t have to support major development projects to give back. SMEs can do this too by connecting with their local community, for example by sponsoring a football club. By giving back, everybody wins, the community and your employees, plus job candidates will see that you are a business that cares.


Whatever you decide to do to build your employer brand, always remember to stay true to who you are. Listen to the employees you already have. What do they love about working for you, and what would they like to see improve?

Get out there and start building a brand that will attract the kind of talent that will make a difference at your company.

Jay Munro, Employer Insight Strategist, Indeed

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