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We all know that engaging, developing, and retaining talent is vital to any organization’s success. But what about getting talent in the door in the first place? It’s important not to overlook the recruitment process when talking about getting and keeping top talent.
In this blog, we’ll go over strategies to attract top talent to your organization in ways that make these employees excited to join the culture and contribute to the work. And while the conversation around turnover has died down, and unemployment sits at just 3.9%, that doesn’t mean talented people aren’t looking for new opportunities.
In fact, over 60% of employees want to switch jobs sometime before the end of the year. That’s a lot of talent just waiting for the right opportunity or the right organization to stand out.
What Do Employees Want?
In order to attract top talent, you must first understand what top talent is looking for. According to a study done by Business, there are three main drivers of employee dissatisfaction that lead to turnover:
- Lack of competitive pay
- Lack of meaningful work
- Lack of appreciation
In that same study, 64% of employees without remote work options said they were looking for new jobs as well, so we can confidently add flexibility to the list. In another study done by HBR, they list the top two reasons for employees quitting: not feeling valued, and not feeling a sense of belonging.
Finally, the Society for Human Resources Management has research that shows 68% of employees would stay with their employer for their entire career if that employer made an effort to upskill them.
So what does the best talent want from their employer? Here’s a comprehensive list:
- Competitive and fair compensation
- Meaningful, purpose-drive work
- Feeling appreciated and valued for what they do and who they are
- A welcoming, supportive culture
- Plenty of flexibility
- Opportunities to learn, grow, and develop as professionals
Knowing this, it’s an HR team’s responsibility to build a recruitment strategy that shows these values in action.
Below are seven strategies you can try to upgrade your recruitment strategy and attract the coveted talent that will help you take your organization to the next level.
1. Craft a Compelling Employee Value Proposition (EVP)
An EVP is your company’s set of benefits that employees receive in return for the contributions, skills, and experience they bring to the table. It should be unique to your organization and help you stand out from the crowd. In a nutshell, it should answer the question, “why should a talented employee choose to work at our company?”
Employees need to feel that they will be cared for, supported, motivated, compensated, and welcomed at a company. They have high expectations, and your EVP should show that your organization can meet those expectations.
It’s impossible to show exactly how to build out an effective EVP in a small paragraph of a blog—just know that the remaining six strategies can all be important aspects of your EVP. Benefits like an inclusive culture, flexibility, company values that align with employee values, and professional growth are all benefits that employees want.
2. Ensure You Offer Competitive Compensation and Benefits
It’s no secret that employees need and want to get paid fairly for their work. Compensation is the most important factor for job satisfaction, according to 60% of employees. So if reviews of and rumors about your organization hint at the fact that employees aren’t satisfied with their paychecks, many of the most talented employees won’t bother applying to your jobs.
There’s really no sugar coating it: if you’re not offering competitive pay, figure out a way to do so. Otherwise, you’ll have to settle for middling talent at best.
Now, if you’re offering the best you can in the salary department, but you still want to improve, take a look at your benefits. Not just healthcare or 401(k) help (although those are important)—think about your fringe benefits. Things like:
- Childcare support
- Weekly team activities
- Free meals throughout the week
- Mental health support
- Employee Assistance Programs
These less-common fringe benefits can really help your organization stand out to potential employees, often with a much lower cost than raising everyone’s salaries.
3. Create an Environment of Professional and Personal Growth
The best employees are always looking for ways to better themselves, learn new skills, and gain new responsibilities. In order to attract these types of people, you have to show candidates that you have a plan for both their immediate future and their long-term growth.
Professional development courses, managerial training, mentorship opportunities, and classes for hard and soft skills are great ways to show that you care about the development and success of your employees.
Another way to show employees you care is by supporting their personal growth and success. Does an employee have a goal to write their own novel? Reimburse their tuition for an MFA. Do they want to develop healthy habits? Incentivize and reward wellness programs to help them.
These kinds of developmental programs, for both professional and personal growth, will show talented employees that they will have avenues of growth at your company. Plus, it shows that the company cares for them as people, not just as assets.
4. Use Recognition to Ensure Everyone Feels Valued
Most people who are looking for a new job want to work for a company that will value and appreciate them. After all, employees spend a lot of time and effort at work—companies need to recognize this dedication in as many ways as possible.
That’s where employee recognition comes in. Recognition comes in many forms, such as service awards, employee milestone celebrations, peer-to-peer messages, or manager-to-employee praise. It can be performance based, informal, monetary, or non-monetary.
The important thing is to show employees that they’re seen and that they matter. Some benefits of recognition include:
- Lowers voluntary turnover by 31%
- 56% of employers say it improves recruitment
- Increases employee loyalty by 3X
- Decreases the likelihood of employees looking for a new job by 56%
- Is the best way to motivate excellent work, according to 37% of employees
- Increases employee connection to company culture by 5X
You can create recognition programs that target onboarding, wellness, or any other desired behavior. Recognition can reinforce your company values and boost employee purpose. It can transform your culture in the best way possible.
5. Foster Feelings of Belonging and Inclusion
Even if you have recognition programs, professional development courses, and great compensation, if employees don’t feel like they’re included or like they belong, they won’t be happy.
In order to attract the best talent, you have to show that people feel like they belong at your workplace. Employees have to feel psychologically safe, they have to feel trusted, and they have to feel like they can be open and honest.
Ensure that everyone feels like their opinions and work are treated equally, regardless of their race, gender, sexual orientation, or cultural background. Help employees develop friendships by encouraging activities and fostering an environment of collaboration.
Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are also a great idea. These support structures allow employees to offer resources and help to each other in a company-sponsored way.
6. Improve Your Onboarding Process
Whether or not talented employees stay at your company can be decided in the first few days or weeks of work. In fact, good onboarding increases retention by 50%—but only 12% of employees agree that their own onboarding was good.
Invest in a strong onboarding plan that ensures each new employee feels welcomed, supported, and empowered to find success in their individual roles. Create a recognition program that recognizes employees on their first day, after their first month, and frequently thereafter. Offer a stipend for remote/hybrid employees to upgrade their home office setup from day one.
A good onboarding plan will show top talent that your organization intends to invest in their employees’ success from the very beginning.
7. Emphasize Employee Engagement
Employee engagement is a measure of how much an employee’s job interests them and how connected they feel to the company. It’s an important part of keeping employees happy, motivated, and productive at work. And considering only 32% of employees are engaged, it’s something we can all do better at.
Measure your engagement levels with this calculation, or use things like surveys to frequently ask how employees are feeling. Once you know how engaged your workforce is, try these strategies to improve engagement:
- Ensure you provide the flexibility employees need to maintain a healthy work-life balance
- Model your organization’s core values and help connect employees’ work to those values
- Frequently recognize employees for their efforts
- Provide plenty of professional development
- Encourage autonomous work and avoid micromanaging
Notice that many of these strategies are similar to ones already listed in this blog—that’s because upgrading your Employee Value Proposition is connected to many desired benefits, such as increased engagement, better recruitment, higher retention, and increased productivity.
Attracting Top Talent: Bring the Best of the Best to Your Doorstep
There’s no secret to attracting the best employees. It simply comes down to creating a work environment that is attractive to the type of employees you want. That includes providing avenues for growth, giving recognition for effort, ensuring work has a purpose, offering fair compensation, and supporting employee health with flexibility.
With these strategies in mind, take a look at your Employee Value Proposition. Decide where your organization may be lacking and make plans to improve. Create a robust EVP and (tastefully) brag about it online, through reviews, and on social media.
No only will your upgraded culture keep employees around longer, but soon enough, you’ll get applications from talented people who want to join your team.