Talent: you either have it or you don't. Attracting talented professionals to your business can mean the difference between success and failure, but there's a limited number of truly talented, dedicated people out there. So how can businesses attract the right candidates? And how can companies retain top talent once they've found it?
Think: What Makes You So Special?
In the current jobs market talented graduates are spoilt for choice when it comes to companies they'd like to work for. The very first thing a future employee reads in your ad should be a strong statement that tells them everything that makes your company unique. What are you doing that every other company in your niche isn't? What can you give your employees that no other company can?
Sure, a big list of all the employee benefits you can offer is a good start, but you'll have to remember that every other serious company is going to have those same benefits. Instead, focus on the bigger picture.
A study from the Intelligence Group discovered that 64 percent of millennials want to make the world a better place. You can appeal to that mentality. Highlight the eco-friendly aspects of your workplace, or the ways your company makes a difference in people's lives.
In 2008, IBM launched a Corporate Service Corps program, which sends talented employees across the globe to assist entrepreneurial companies in developing nations. Corporate social responsibility initiatives like this serve as a great incentive for workers that are motivated by more than just financial incentives. Implementing work schemes that enable employees to contribute to social causes is a great way to attract employees who are both talented and deeply engaged in solving complex problems.
Pare down your recruiting process
In a world where jobseekers apply to several different workplaces at the same time, it can often be 'first come, first served'. Think about it: would you rather wait an extra six weeks to hear back from your favourite company, or start work within a fortnight at somewhere just a little further down the list?
Let them know right away that you've received their application, and tell them when they can expect more information.
The easiest way to shorten the time it takes to process applications is to discourage completely unsuitable candidates from applying. One way to do this is to make your corporate culture clear right from the start. Another is to be upfront about all the skills your dream employee will need. Applying both will ensure that unsuitable applicants are rooted out early on in the process. Remember: it's not about quantity, it's about quality. Just one or two talented applicants are better than a hundred unsuitable ones.
You also need to make it easy for jobseekers to submit their application. Instead of having them enter their information into individual text boxes, include an option for them to upload their CV, or even link to their LinkedIn page. You'll look like the tech-savvy company you are, and your applicants will thank you.
Finally, remember the cardinal rule: communication is everything. Don't leave your applicants hanging indefinitely. Let them know right away that you've received their application, and tell them when they can expect more information. It's only polite, and it will make your company stand out in the sea of 'black holes' that job applications tend to turn into.
Innovate and Grow
Here's a good question: how do you think the talented employees you want to attract became so talented in the first place? The answer is: They're constantly on the move. A truly talented individual will not be content to take a job that isn't going anywhere. They want to be challenged, and they want to make a real difference.
Hiring at entry level gives you two big benefits: it ensures that you'll have the cream of the latest graduate crop, and it means that your new employee has plenty of room to develop their career within your company. But don't discount the experience and knowledge of older applicants. Your job is to help every applicant you interview imagine a career pathway that will both satisfy and help to develop their talents.
Even after the hiring process is over, you need to keep nurturing your talented employees, and make them feel like they're actually contributing something to the workforce. One study showed that 50 percent of employees are not engaged at their current jobs. They're turning up, being productive, but never actually engaging with the work. If you want to attract and retain talented employees, this is a problem that absolutely needs fixing.
An elegant solution is to give your most talented employees a little extra responsibility. Think about it: you hired them to improve your company. Now give them the tools they need to improve it. Encourage creative problem solving and reward innovation when you see it.
Beating the competition
The biggest problem in the tech market right now is how stiff the competition can be. Every company out there has a list of employee perks and benefits, but not all of them are tailoring those benefits to the talent they want to attract. The best way to discover what your employees want is to actually ask them , and be honest about what can and can't be implemented. The most attractive companies stand out from the crowd because they make their employees feel special, and listen to what they have to say.
A flexible benefit plan is a great way to achieve this. These plans allow your employees to select the perks they need from a list, and reject the ones that aren't relevant to them. In a study by Mercer, the top two reasons companies implemented flexible benefit plans were 'remaining competitive' and 'retaining current employees'. Giving your employees just a little control over their working lives can have huge benefits when it comes to attracting and retaining talent.