The year is just beginning and its official: The war for talent has been waged and it’s already begun paying dividends to its winners. Watching the trends, it’s clear to me that the industry is feverish about finding the best places to locate talented prospective employees. Do we place an ad on LinkedIn or Monster? Do we invest our time on Twitter or Facebook? Which service will give me access to the best database of resumes? These are all good questions to ask—but they’re only the beginning. Once you locate the talent, the tough part begins.
Part 1: Attracting the talent
You have a pile of resumes. So what’s going to make them want to come and work for your company?
In past years jobs were few and far between, and employers didn’t need to be competitive about attracting people. Even the best candidates likely didn’t have multiple job opportunities to choose from. Fast forward to today, and it’s rare that a talented job seeker is only looking at one viable opportunity and frequently they’re considering multiple opportunities.
Taking the time to fully understand how your organization stacks up in the market is critical. Start by asking yourself:
- What are the top reasons someone would want to work for you?
- What are the top reasons they wouldn’t?
- What could you change about your company to make it a more attractive professional destination?
Challenging yourself to answer these questions honestly can give you a strong competitive advantage and a lens through which to measure and make improvements in how your company is perceived.
Part 2: Acquiring the talent
You’ve got your candidate at the table and now it’s time to deliver the offer. There are two fundamental questions that you need to answer first:
What is this role worth to the business? By this I mean what kind of profits or value could this person bring in (whether through sales, R&D, etc.)? In other words, what are you truly willing to pay for the talent vs. what you can get away with?
What kind of an impression do you want to leave with the offer? Many organizations are still in the mindset of doing all they can to land talent cheaply. “We know she wants $110K but we’re going to try to land her for $95K and see what she says.”
If you want to be competitive, show the candidate you’re serious about their personal career progression and that you’re the employer that’s willing to exceed expectations. Say the candidate takes the job for $95K despite feeling undervalued and perhaps taken advantage of. Five months pass and another employer offers her what she feels she’s worth. You’re left to fill the role again, and this time at full price. Maybe offering $115K out of the gate would have been a bold gesture, but it could save you thousands in what it will cost to bring a new employee up to speed.
Part 3: Retaining the talent
Your candidate accepted the offer. Congratulations! Now all you need to do is keep them. Easier said than done, right?
In my line of work I get to ask hundreds of people why they want to leave their current employer. Can you guess the number one reason? Money? Benefits? Commute? Wrong on all three (though they’re certainly up there). It’s because they feel a sense of stagnation: “There’s nowhere left for me to go here.”
In most cases, this is due to poor or non-existent communication. Retaining talent has everything to do with developing talent. Anyone that works for you can stand to learn something new and exciting. While many organizations maintain a core focus on developing staff at all levels, there are many more that don’t. Why? Mainly because it’s incredibly difficult. It takes time, which costs money, and can, in a very short-sighted way, inhibit production.
The reality is that organizations that focus on talent development as part of their culture reap the benefits of a constantly energized, rejuvenated staff. Of course, paying close attention to compensation trends and working hard to maintain workplace flexibility is also advised, but giving your employees a growth track is the best way to combat turnover.
Now that you have the tools you need, get out there, go after the top talent and start winning them over!