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4 ways small businesses can create workplace satisfaction and attract talent (even during remote work)

Originally featured in COSE’s Mind Your Business – Jan 3, 2022

As a small but growing organization, we made it a priority to be creative in order to attract new talent. But the recent rise of remote work, worldwide stress, and unemployment rates have only made our jobs as scaleup organization leaders even more challenging. 

So, how do we maintain workplace satisfaction and attract quality team members at Pandata?

We pay attention to the core factors that set a team up for long-term success: diverse hiring practices, comprehensive training programs, fair compensation, and attractive (yet affordable) incentives.

Check out these four ways you can adopt a similar approach to achieve workplace satisfaction. 

1. Focus on Hiring Professionally and Ethnically Diverse Team Members 

In contrast to the data science and technology industry as a whole, we have prioritized diversity in the workplace by building a team of women and men—many with multicultural and multi-ethnic backgrounds.

We choose to bring in new data science consultants at the associate level and promote them to data science consultants via our internal training program, which has allowed us to focus on building a team of consultants with knowledge and expertise from a wide array of disciplines, including anthropology, law, immunodeficiency research, and mechanical engineering. 

At Pandata, we’ve found that cultivating a diverse, inclusive workforce organically allows us to solve complex problems in a more meaningful way, from a variety of perspectives.

2. Invest in Internal Training 

Equipping new team members with the knowledge and tools they need to be successful in their jobs starts with a good internal training program—especially if your employees are working remotely.

At Pandata, we give new hires a flexible training framework that includes curated courses and certifications, as well as peer to peer learning and mentorship. While some are standard to our training program, we also encourage employees to select other certifications or courses of interest to them—so long as they align with Pandata’s growth and their own professional development goals. We want to grow together with our team.

Investing in continued education and training for existing employees is also important to ensure your team stays up-to-date with the latest tools and technologies. At Pandata, we encourage our team to attend conferences, join boards and committees, and maintain their certifications. 

3. Offer Fair Compensation

Employees want to be paid fairly for the work they’re asked to deliver. And why shouldn’t they be? Despite being a small organization, we make it a point to know the average salaries in our industry for the positions we’re hiring, and match them.

It is also important to us that we do not discriminate against gender, race, or ethnicity when developing and offering compensation packages. There is still compensation inequality in the data science industry and Pandata makes it a point to work toward greater equality within our own team.

4. Don’t Forget Incentives  

In today’s job market, employees expect employers to offer incentives that go beyond the traditional monetary incentives. While small businesses may not have the ability to pay for a full ride to college, there are a slew of affordable incentives that you should be considering when it comes time to hire new talent (and retain your existing team).

Affordable incentives could include: 
• Offering a fully remote or hybrid work environment 
• Unlimited PTO
• Allowing for flexible working hours
• Covering conference fees and certification costs up to a certain amount per year
• Developing an informal or formal mentorship program between experienced and new team members
• Offering reward programs like Bonusly that gives your team access to gift cards, cash, and travel rewards while enriching your company culture 

It is critical now more than ever for small business leaders to pay attention to workplace satisfaction. Existing employees may feel stretched thin and qualified candidates are difficult to attract. How is your organization ensuring employees are happy and new talent feels welcome?      

Nicole Ponstingle McCaffrey is the COO and a partner at Pandata