As we have continued to build out teams and bring in people with capacity to grow business for our clients, we’ve been noticing just how different the market has become. Everything about bringing in a new leader now has an emphasis on mitigating risk.

Yes, as a business owner are trying to mitigate your risk – and so are your candidates.

High quality leadership candidates are successful people who can have mortgages, kids in school, and a high standard of living. They are working with companies that they know, that they mostly like, and have a good level of security. Getting them to cross that chasm to give up everything they know to join the great unknown can be a big challenge. 

In terms of putting together a convincing package for these individuals, we have come up with a list 6 items that will help you upgrade your recruitment efforts:  

  1. Pay
  2. Incentive Programs
  3. Benefits
  4. 401(k)
  5. Vacation
  6. Flexibility


If we look at these six items, cash is the great equalizer.

Very few people will leave a job where they’re comfortable to join a company for less money. Everyone wants to maintain their current standard of living. Asking candidates to downgrade their standard of living isn’t a real attractive proposition and is not a strong negotiating tactic. Offering people more money than they’re currently making is generally the way we’re going to lure them off their current job.

Incentive Program

Generally, if they have the experience we’re looking for as a small business owner, often they’re coming from larger companies with incentives. Writing into the offer that you will work with them to create an incentive program that is built around a base salary percentage or around increased growth KPI’s metrics is a good idea.  People want to know a there’s an incentive program, and if there’s not, you can write it into this contract that by a specified date you will.


We know that not all small business owners can offer benefits. A strategy you can implement (if you don’t have benefits) is to offer them a monthly stipend that they can put towards a benefit plan of their choice. It may cost you more money, but it will help to mitigate their risk. 


Many highly qualified prospects have families and are often looking towards their future. Having a 401(k) is going to be important to them.


Vacation used to be a really big bargaining chip. Everyone starts at one week, and after three years, you go to two weeks, etc. Then the market shifted to give vacation based on experience. If a candidate has been in the industry for 10, 15, 20 years and currently has three or four weeks of vacation, they are going to want any potential new employer to match that.

So that’s become a new standard. We meet them where their vacation is. We don’t want to punish them to join our company by losing vacation days. 


The new bargaining chip is flexibility. People are really hesitant to change jobs right now because they have a certain job during uncertain times. 

We break down this new employment market with the 40-40-20 rule:

40% of candidates will only accept remote positions.

40% of candidates won’t consider going back into an office full-time, but are open to hybrid opportunities. 

20% of candidates are willing to return to the pre-pandemic normal of returning to an office 5 days a week.

Obviously, this depends on your specific business. If you’re a manufacturing facility, employees need to always be present. We’re talking about leadership positions or skilled employees within certain industries.

We hope this was informative and useful for you, and you can implement it into your incentive and attraction strategy. 

If you have any comments about this topic, please leave them below. We’d  love to engage in a conversation with you and hear your thoughts or answer any additional questions you have.

Stop grinding and start growing!

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