Hiring and retaining really good people is a challenge at the best of times. Management guru Jim Collins said that “the single biggest constraint on the success of my organization is the ability to get and to hang on to enough of the right people.”
McKinsey coined the term ‘war for talent’ in 1997 when referring to the increasingly fierce competition to attract and retain employees at a time when too few workers are available to replace the baby boomers now departing the workforce in advanced economies.
Top talent is scarce and the best candidates may be picky about which offer to accept. Employers need to pay attention to the employer brand and their image in the jobs market and ensure they make a good showing when they offer vacancies. Aim to be an employer of choice.
Employer brand determines whether candidates will choose to engage with the organization. Talent attraction is not a one-off exercise, it’s a process aimed at building and nurturing a talent pool.
Showcase your assets
One of the most effective things you can do is the use the assets already to hand. If the organization has good levels of employee engagement then the workforce will be happy to advocate and share stories about the organization. Employee referrals are a very cost-effective strategy as referred applicants come with the recommendation of an existing employee and will have some familiarity with the culture and how the enterprise operates; after all, employees only recommend people they think will be a good match.
Culture is a big draw; it will attract like-minded people so showcasing company culture is important in increasing the chances of appointing the best candidate. Talent will consider whether the organizational culture aligns with their personal values; a strong link between personal values and corporate values makes the employment offer more attractive. A positive organizational culture shows that the organizations put the focus on creativity and innovative work in a collaborative environment that values teamwork, engagement, and high performance.
Flexible benefits are increasingly attractive to candidates at all levels. If you can devise a ‘pick your own’ package rather than a one-size-fits-all system that will be an advantage. Don’t forget that research suggests that employee’s value non-monetary benefits over money based incentives.
Make sure you highlight training and developing opportunities as this a major area of interest for the best candidates. Lack of development is the primary reason that good people move on. Talk about career progression and personal development at an early stage. Talented people always want to develop and grow both personally and professionally; ongoing training and development mean employees know that the organization is serious about investing in staff and retaining the best.
Nurture your talent
Good people also tend to plan a career path, so an organization that helps by investing in talent and improving the skillset and career prospects of staff is more attractive than the sink or swim attitude of many employers. At 10Eighty we emphasize the importance of using regular career conversations to engage with the workforce around skills, strengths, and aspirations.
Remember that not everyone is climbing the career ladder, but good employees want new opportunities in new areas, feedback, responsibility and an awareness of their contribution to the overall operation. It is a huge mistake to assume you will retain people because you are a good employer; first, earn the trust, commitment, and loyalty of staff and then ensure that the organization aids them in enhancing their skills, networks, and options. Providing career planning gives an organization an edge over the competition and a major advantage in retaining talented staff.
Quick tips to attract and retain talented staff:
- Attract people whose values align with those of the organization and where possible use existing contacts to find those likely to be a good fit
- Consider organizational objectives and seek out candidates with the strengths, skills, motivation and professional to adjust quickly to the environment and culture.
- Retain talent by paying attention to motivation, engagement, and career planning to help staff to grow in their roles.