Sam Makad is a business consultant. He helps small & medium enterprises to grow their businesses and overall ROI. You can follow Sam on Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin.
Implement these 7 hiring strategies to attract and retain top talent in an ever-evolving job market.
Hiring the best talent for your business can sometimes be a long-winded and arduous process.
This is especially true in strong job market environments: job-seekers are simply looking for more. Higher salaries and monetary benefits don’t make for attractive roles anymore.
Candidates are now increasingly evaluating if companies are the right fit for them, with company culture and career growth being high-priority deciding factors. Other considerations include job location, commute, remote work options, work-life balance, brand value, and more.
How do companies navigate the recruitment process in such a scenario?
Investing in the right talent has always been, and always will be, the strength and driving force of organizational performance. But getting to the next step of attracting and retaining talent can be challenging.
This article will dive into just that—touching on seven hiring strategies, you can implement immediately to attract and retain the best talent.
1. Clearly state your company’s core mission and values
The importance of having a centralized document stating your company’s mission and core values can’t be stressed enough.
This is especially true for recruitment drives. Every team member involved in recruitment needs to have clarity on what the company stands for, how company culture is defined, and values that align with the same. Focus on a top-down approach where you can derive ideal personas for individual roles based on higher-level statements to define your employer brand.
This helps better align candidate-employer fit and also helps candidates self-assess whether their values match with those of prospective employers.
As you define the company mission and values, it’s important to understand your company culture and employee engagement/retention practices as they are currently. A structured way to do this is by uncovering patterns from already existing employee data. If you’re looking to leverage a data-oriented method to better gauge core company values, here’s a primer on data discovery definition as it relates to employee retention and engagement.
2. Create well-defined candidate personas
Creating well-defined and comprehensive candidate personas is an often-overlooked component of the recruitment process.
Much like sales or marketing, where you’re pitching a value proposition to an ideal customer profile, you’re also selling your company’s brand value to potential candidates. A detailed ideal candidate profile will enable you to target your search and attract the right talent.
This will trickle down to the following areas of your recruitment process:
A. Sourcing candidates become more efficient
Once there is a clear sense of what your ideal candidate looks like, it becomes much easier to look for them. Based on the role and associated requirements, you can pinpoint your search in the right manner on the correct networking/job search platforms.
B. Attracting top candidates becomes easier with richer job descriptions
A direct consequence of having clearly stated candidate personas is the ability to create rich and targeted job descriptions. Better job descriptions create a positive brand perception and tell top candidates that you clearly know what you are looking for. It also allows potential candidates to self-evaluate whether they’re the right fit, and screens out unqualified candidates from the get go.
C. Recruitment marketing becomes effective
Much like marketing to your ideal customer profiles yields more return-on-investment, so does marketing to your ideal candidate profile. Knowing who to target, where, and how will make your recruitment marketing more relatable for attracting talent and result in better quality applications.
3. Invest in employee engagement
According to research by Gallup, only 15% of employees worldwide can be classified in the engaged category.
What does ‘engaged’ mean in this context?
Simply defined, employee engagement entails that your employees are enthusiastic about and fully involved in the work that they do at your organization. This is in contrast to an undesirable workplace scenario where employees have mentally ‘checked out’.
Organizations tend to gloss over this aspect of workforce management. Poor employee experience in this regard in turn leads to less-than-ideal outcomes when it comes to attracting and retaining the best talent.
For better employee engagement, companies have to focus beyond the low-hanging fruit of compensation and other monetary employee benefits. Gallup research suggests that the focus should be on tackling factors like employee purpose, good managerial leadership, opportunities to create impact, and more.
Investing in workforce engagement not only improves recruitment outcomes, but employee productivity, and in turn, business outcomes like profitability as well. A report by The Conference Board indicates that low levels of employee engagement costs organizations roughly around $450-550 billion each year.
4. Leverage employee referral programs
As much as outbound recruitment campaigns help you attract the best candidates for job openings, you can always look to your own workforce to bring in talent.
Tap into your workforce’s professional network. Given that they already know about the company culture and values firsthand, it’s likely that they will be able to rope in the right candidate for a role.
It’s key to tie the right incentives for current employees to the referrals that they might bring in. Think of cash rewards and employee benefits in the form of gift cards or paid leave.
5. Branch out your recruitment outreach
While run of the mill job search and recruitment sites may help with increasing the volume of applications, they’re not a guarantee of quality. Since these portals are public, it might be difficult to filter out applications that aren’t the most ideal fit.
To source the right talent for roles, you need to look at alternative recruitment campaigns that have a higher likelihood of better quality applications coming through. This might mean reaching out to recruitment agencies specializing in specific roles, hiring via academic programs, networking events or online communities.
Building relationships in the recruiting space will not just help with short-term recruitment needs but also for the long term as well. Focusing on building the right connections in this manner will go a long way in case new recruitment needs arise in the future. It provides a higher-quality pool of candidates to choose from—not just for the present but for attracting future talent.
6. Recognize employee performance
Recognizing the value that your workforce brings to your organization is paramount for retaining talent.
This is especially crucial in today’s job market, where employees try to gauge whether company management will recognize and appreciate their work. While recruiters tend to think candidates can be won over with hefty compensation packages, the best talent will always look for a strong employee appreciation and growth culture.
Setting up a centralized employee appreciation program is crucial to ensure that recognition is given consistently and at the right times. This may differ from one team to another—giving managerial leadership more ownership of employee appreciation is important.
7. Map out clear employee development plans
Charting out clear plans for employee career advancement is a significant positive contributor toward better retention.
According to this survey by Work Institute, lack of career advancement opportunities is a big reason why employees quit their jobs at organizations.
In order to bring about strong retention, organizations have to reinforce a company culture that puts employee career growth at the forefront. To do this effectively, team leaders have to tailor custom employee growth plans that are specific to each individual's preferences and strengths.
Here are some ways you can bring about a culture of employee growth:
1. Chart out a clear growth trajectory with well-defined goals: Each employee within your organization should have clearly laid out career goals and a growth plan to achieve them. Do check-ins regularly to see if they are moving in the right direction, and provide help if needed.
2. Set aside a budget for employee learning: Investing in training programs and employee education tells your workforce that you genuinely care about building their career knowledge. This could take the form of online courses or in-person training as well.
3. Set up a mentor/peer guide program: A workplace peer guide or mentor goes a long way in helping out employees who are less experienced or just starting out with their careers.
4. Provide challenging work opportunities: Ensuring that employees are given work outside their comfort zone fosters role-specific learning. It allows employees to upskill and build more confidence.
5. Consider promotions over hiring: When a senior position becomes open, and a current employee seems like a good fit, consider a promotion instead of hiring from outside. Here, it is key to ensure that their career advancement plan is in line with open roles and provide any training for upskilling if necessary.
Stay on top of ever-changing employee expectations to attract and retain talent
Today’s job market is continually evolving. Candidates and employees have renewed expectations about their work—it’s therefore vital that recruitment teams stay on top of these to attract talent and retain them.
Always begin with a top-down approach: focus on defining your company culture and vision before implementing specific strategies to drive recruitment success like the ones discussed in this article.
After all, the quality of your workforce will ultimately play a big part in how organizational and business outcomes are achieved. Therefore, you must focus on the right recruitment strategies for the same.
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