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  • Donna Rosa

It’s Not Only About the Money

Updated: May 6

By Donna Rosa

Men pulling a cart with plastic containers - Donna Rosa

A big problem for developing-country entrepreneurs that doesn’t get much attention is attracting and retaining skilled talent. It’s really, really hard for microenterprises to find and keep good people, yet good employees are critical to their growth and success.

These small businesses are dealing with the double-whammy of limited resources for salaries and limited availability of good workers with the needed skills and/or work habits. There are no-and low-cost ways to attract good people, however.

If you’re in this situation don’t wait until you need to hire to start searching. You should continually be on the lookout to spot talent---in your everyday life, everywhere you go. Make it an ongoing part of your job. Get to know promising candidates on an informal basis and you’ll save time when you’re eventually in a position to add them to your team.

Below are some no-and low-cost ways to find and hold onto good staff. It comes down to making a company a nice place to work for employees, and it doesn’t have to cost a lot, if anything. These can and should be used as recruitment incentives as well as implemented business practices.

1. Offer Flexibility – A small business often can’t pay high salaries, but it can be adaptable. Entice good people with adjustable working days or hours, working from home, or accommodating special needs or schedules. This can be worth a lot to staff.

2. Smart Salary Structures – Offer ways that employees can boost their incomes if they create value for the enterprise. This might take the form of bonuses for bringing in great hires or meeting key milestones, as well as sales incentives or other service awards. Individual or team competitions can be used to reward revenue generation and reinforce productive practices.

3. Outline Advancement Opportunities – Show employees a clear career path so they can grow into roles they are passionate about.

4. Acknowledge and Reward Good Work –This doesn’t have to be monetary. Simple recognition goes a long way to boost morale for everyone and encourage successful ways of working.

5. Construct a Positive Culture – Treat employees well. Be supportive. Welcome engaged behavior. Maintain positivity—it’s contagious. Provide autonomy. Think about how you’d like to be treated.

6. Foster a Team Environment – People feel included and want to contribute when they’re part of a team. Mutual support produces better results than working in isolation.

7. Support Good Causes – Staff feel good when they have a chance to give back to the community, and the business benefits as well. Or remake the business into a social enterprise.

The bottom line is to help employees feel good about working for the company. It's a win-win situation. After all, a great place to work is not that common and its value is more than just the salary.

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