It’s no secret that it’s an employee-focused market where competition to find the best and brightest is fierce, and snoozing means losing.
To stay competitive in this climate, companies are constantly seeking and implementing ways to attract top talent. But that’s only the start of the battle. To maintain high performance teams and reach increasing goals, there must also be a strategy in place to retain the talent they worked so hard to lock in before they take their experience and skills to a competitor.
Here’s how they are getting the job done.
Communication is paramount
From the first interview to well into employment, communication plays perhaps the biggest role in attracting and retaining top talent. “When I ask candidates about what they would like to see from a leadership team, the number one thing is always communication in one form or another,” says Mavi Lenon, the founder of Orange County, Calif.-based Mauve Talent Group whose extensive recruiting background also includes years as a hiring manager. “I feel leaders are not communicating enough to their staff to keep them engaged, retained and there.”
It starts with being clear about the hiring process, like whether multiple interviews will be required and if so, a projected timeline for those to happen, and when candidates should expect to hear back from the company. Touting a good communication plan between manager and employee, explaining reviews and how often they occur and even asking where a candidate wants to be in five or 10 years are part of a solid recruitment package, Lenon explains.
And, it may sound like a no-brainer, but making sure that the job description provided to the candidate matches the actual job they will be doing is vital. For example, Lenon talks about a candidate who was presented with one job description by the hiring manager and a second list of duties by the CFO that the original one did not have.
“It’s about everyone getting on the same page,” Lenon says.
In Lenon’s specialty of hospitality, there’s not a lot of flexibility as far as remote work. However, with creativity, employers can more than make up for it with strategically placed time off or designated work-from-home timeframes. For example, one of Lenon’s clients allows employees to work from home during the last week of every month – the most stressful time for that company. “If there is no hybrid model, it should give some sort of flexibility in terms of time off or benefits that would come along,” Lenon says.
Selling goes both ways
Whether it’s facing the counter offers in the world of commercial finance or the flurry of initial offers in hospitality, Lenon advises that, especially in this worker-driven market, employers must put forth a concerted effort to lure a top candidate. Selling the company as a leader with a solid plan as to where it is heading is part of it. “Companies have to remind themselves that they have to sell themselves to the candidate, too. It’s a sales call on both ends,” she says.
And sometimes this means not letting too much time pass between the interview and offer. “If you’re not making an offer within two weeks, someone else is,” Lenon says.
Training, development opportunities
In Lenon’s experience, professional development plans attract talented candidates who recognize that getting into a new position at a new company comes with a learning curve. It also can go a long way in retaining quality employees by helping them feel secure in their current positions.
“A lot of candidates are apprehensive about starting new roles. How am I going to be trained? What are the expectations?” Lenon says. “Great companies with a professional development plan have a training department that is really focused on making people feel better in their roles.”
Demonstrating genuine care for employees goes a long way toward attracting and retaining talent. This means investing in, for example, personality assessments to recognize an employee’s strengths and communication style. Also, Lenon notices that today’s candidates are craving a bit more of a human element in their employer and not feeling like they are just a number on the payroll. This goes a long way toward attracting top talent – and keeping them from jumping ship, regardless of salary. “The reason is not only money,” Lenon says. “People leave people, not money.”
The bottom line: Companies are focused on doing what is vital to attract top talent. But the exceptional ones are thinking long term and making the effort to keep that talent on their team, which is just as appealing when considering your next career move.
Georgann Yara is a journalist based in Phoenix. Find her on Twitter @georgannyara.
Photo by PICHA Stock