Janice Haddon, Managing Director of Morgan Redwood and Thrive in Life 360, has over 25 years’ experience in strategic HR and management consultancy. Here, she outlines how to ensure your business attracts the top talent.
We recently conducted research that suggests over 40% of businesses are looking to increase staff numbers in the coming year, with the number one focus being on attracting top talent. Competition for recruiting the best talent is, therefore, at a peak.
Today’s employees are looking for more than just a job. They want a career, yes, but they also want an employer that can offer them a good package whilst also looking after their needs. If you can tap into the psychological contract and offer both the right culture and a great place to work, then you’ll be putting yourself ahead of the competition.
How do you do that? Well, whatever the size of your organisation, there are things that you can do. Here are the key elements to pay attention to:
Your recruitment process is the fundamental starting place: It isn’t just a question of you searching for candidates; the recruitment process gives candidates the opportunity to gauge whether yours is the right company for them. Make sure your interviewers give a good account and impression of the business and answer questions appropriately.
Train your managers in interviewing skills: There is an art to asking the right questions and digging deeper for appropriate examples of experience. Get it wrong and you will recruit people who can tell a good story. Be too bullish and you run the risk of putting the best candidates off, as they may not want to work in an environment that they perceive to be aggressive.
Ensure your processes for induction are smooth: They should allow new recruits to get a good understanding of the business so they can work appropriately and represent your brand to the fullest.
The culture you adopt is fundamental: No one likes working in a dictatorship. Have the right people strategy in place and key policies that make clear how people are to be treated. Make sure they are implemented effectively.
Work-life balance is the number one motivator for employees: Look at the expectations you have as a business. If there are peak times for workload, then make sure you provide appropriate support.
Communication: If you have people working in the field, as well as in offices, ensure you have communication mechanisms in place to keep all people informed.
Develop your leaders: The leader-subordinate relationship has been proven in research to be one of the biggest causes of pressure and stress. Develop your leaders so they know how to engage with staff in the right way.
One size does not fit all: People have different behavioural styles and different preferences for how they work. Being able to adapt to that is a key leadership quality that will enable your managers to get the best out of their teams.
Provide a clear vision for what the company, department and team are looking to achieve: Without that, employees are left floundering in the dark with no clear purpose. We all like to know where we are heading and what our role is, and this needs to be communicated clearly. Clarity has the added benefit of making conversations easier when people are not performing to expectations.
Provide support and development: People perform to the best of their ability when they are engaged, are clear about their role and are confident they have the right skill set to deliver. Provide support and development to get employees up to speed and help them to flourish with continued encouragement and acknowledgement of successes. If people are dipping down in certain areas, help them understand how to improve. The purpose of Performance Improvement Plans within disciplinary procedures is fundamentally to help people improve – they are not simply an exit strategy.
Make targets clear: If you are providing bonuses for achievement, make the targets clear so people know what they have to do. The important thing is to design a reward strategy that has a benefit for the whole organisation. Be careful not to pitch one person or team against another.
In summary, get your culture right, have strong leadership, implement a slick recruitment process and put in place appropriate people strategies with the right level of employee engagement and wellbeing.
If you get it right, your employees will be your company’s best ambassadors. They will genuinely be able to say that your business is a great place to work, enhancing your reputation and making it more likely that top talent at every level will want to come and work for you.
Get it wrong and you will be on a rollercoaster of plugging gaps with a high turnover rate and low performance.