How Do You Offer Competitive Compensation on a Budget?

Attract great talent

How do you attract a superstar when your competitive compensation budget is limited?

What do you do when…?

What do you when you want to attract great talent but do not believe you can offer competitive compensation because you have a limited budget? Stated another way, what do you do when you have identified a great candidate or are about to commence a hiring search for a member of your senior or executive management team but you are concerned about your ability to adequately compensate him or her? What do do you when you want to hire a specialist, in other words, someone who is highly skilled in a particular area, but you do not have the budget to pay the typical industry rate?

How do you attract great talent on a budget?

I have attracted great talent on a budget and have helped other business owners do the same (directly as a COO and indirectly as a business advisor and consultant). The key is to focus on what you want in an employee and what you believe are the benefits that person would derive from working for your firm. For example, I found an employee through a business association I was in. I needed a business development head but could only offer a small base initially.

An example

I focused on what he would learn from me and how, when he left me (because I intended to sell the business in 2-3 years), he would qualify for a director or VP position at a larger company because of the scope and the practical knowledge he’d have. I also told him he would develop a business network in the commercial construction industry that would serve him in his future roles. In addition, I provided him with a share of the profits and encouraged and paid him for his occasional writing contributions. (He liked to write but this had never been encouraged in his previous roles.) He came on board and it was a win-win situation for us both.

Attract talent by standing out.

What makes your firm stand out from the competition to attract great talent?

Identify and cultivate what makes your firm unique.

To entice someone for whom you cannot compete dollar for dollar, you must identify and cultivate what your prospect wants that you can provide that the firm with more money can’t. In other words, you must be able to sell your prospect on your company’s tangible and intangible benefits so you must first know what these are yourself! These include exposure, training, flexibility, more vacations, a greater sense of contribution, a closer connection to the company’s goals, profit-sharing, an equity stake, or greater personal development.

Why is your business so wonderful to work for?

Why do you think your business is great? You need to write these reasons down, talk to other employees and get their input and write those down. Remember, everyone does not want the same thing. Play to those other wants and needs and you’ll be surprised by just how “affordable” a great talent may be.

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