Even with the rise of online and mobile banking, research shows personal relationships still matter to bank customers. This is especially true in rural areas where farmers, ranchers, and small business owners need the flexibility and stability of a community bank. Like a lot of industries, the financial sector is struggling to fill the shoes of retiring boomers. Put your bank in a rural area…and then it becomes even more challenging.


We asked our own Director of Human Resources, Julie Noble, and Patricia Dougherty with The Weston Group, a human resource consulting group in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, to provide their insights on how small-town banks can attract big city talent.


Don’t Just Sell Your Company—Sell Your Community

Patricia: Think about all the wonderful things that your town and area have to offer. It might be a lower cost of living, a lack of traffic and congestion, or a great school system. It can also be scenic bike paths, green spaces, and fun festivals. Are there rivers, lakes, state parks, or other outdoor opportunities nearby? When you focus on what you do have instead of what you don’t, you might be surprised at how much you can offer.


Julie: Living and working in a small community has so much to offer. There are usually many opportunities to get involved where you can really make a difference. Whether that be volunteering, serving in city government, leading school activities or helping with economic development. Every person can make a difference in our communities and along with that comes a sense of pride where people want to help make their towns/communities and the services they provide the best they can be.


Focus on the Right People

Patricia: Look for the people that have moved away and may want to come back. Smaller communities are attractive to a lot of individuals who have moved to larger cities but now want to be closer to family or to raise a family the way they grew up. When looking to bring talent to your bank, focus on finding people who grew up in and around the state. Work with the local school alumni association to find and contact these transplants.


Julie: Don’t forget about the family. Many potential candidates will have a spouse, family or significant other to consider before relocating. Focus on what you can bring to them as well. It might be as simple as a shorter commute giving them more time together. At Cain Ellsworth, we promote the many ways you can achieve work-life balance with flexible schedules and working arrangements. Having balance is a core value for us but it’s different for everyone. We let people define what that balance means to them and work to help them achieve it. (Want to know more about career opportunities Give us a call or email us.)


Best Advice on Attracting Talent

Julie: Sell the impact people can have in your organization. Small communities offer the potential for individuals to really make a difference in the lives of their customers and clients. We are all connected and the opportunity to make a big impact is there. We know how to work hard, make a difference and yet we enjoy life while we’re doing it! A small community gives you the best of both worlds.


Patricia: Recruitment is more than just placing an ad and gathering resumes. Sometimes it’s a good idea to outsource. It’s difficult for a solo HR person to have the personality style to meet all the needs of the position. You need sales for recruitment, psychology for employee relations, and some financial knowledge to do compensation/benefits. There are many cost-effective ways to do outsource your recruitment efforts.  



Study Your Wages

Patricia also suggests you look at your wages and benefits packages and see if you are competitive. That’s where Cain Ellsworth can help. We can take you beyond the numbers and develop goals, plans and strategies to help you attract more big-time talent to your small-town company.

Accounting Support

  • Bank Statement, Credit Card, and Loan Reconciliations
  • Bookkeeping
  • Fixed Asset & Depreciation Schedule Maintenance
  • HR Support & Consulting
  • Payroll Preparation & Tax Reporting
  • Preparation of Reports & Statements
  • Pre Year-end planning & cleanup
  • Sales & Use Tax
  • Software Setup, Training, & Implementation
  • Software/Systems Support

Management Support

  • CEO/Business Executive Coaching: Use our business executive coaching to improve performance factors, such as profitability, and enhance company growth and value.
  • Facilitated Management Meetings: Gain professional meeting facilitation in order to solve problems, resolve conflict or come to consensus effectively and efficiently.

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