Talent attraction has been an important topic and source of concern for wise senior leaders for many years. After all, the organizations with the most talented people have a big competitive advantage. But the focus on talent attraction for any organization only grows when one of two things happens. They lose talent (like many have the past few years), or the talent pool is tight (like now).
Whether talent attraction is a constant concern or is now at the top of your priority list, I have four suggestions (really five) for you.
Build an Attractive Culture
I’m not talking about the PR platitudes that might be on your company website. More importantly, what do potential employees read on sites like Glassdoor? Think about what the employees really experience in the daily work. What are the levels of collaboration, support, and success they experience? People will sense culture in their interviews – and many are looking for it specifically. If you want to increase the attractiveness of your organization to the best talent, think culture.
Provide Development and Growth Opportunities
Most people want to work where they can learn and grow. Yes, many want to see a path for promotion, which might not be an option in every position or organization. But the lack of upward movement is different than giving people ways to grow. Do you have resources (time, dollars, and training) available for development? Do you support/expect mentoring and other learning opportunities? Do you provide ad hoc experiences to help people grow their skills, knowledge, and confidence? The talent you want to attract know the answers they are seeking.
Foster Clear Expectations
Expectations set the table for success. Once we know what is expected, we can focus on the most important things. Make sure all leaders have this skill and make it a priority. But are the expectations globally clear too? Do people see what it means and looks like to succeed in your organization? Making a choice to join a new company is a big deal. Clear expectations can reduce the anxiety levels of your new hires and attract candidates to your organization.
Allow for Flexibility
The future of work is flexible. This might mean the chance to work outside of the office some or most of the time. For some jobs, this isn’t an option. But there are other forms of flexibility. What about shift flexibility, time flexibility, time-off flexibility, or other things? Are you thinking about these options from the perspective of the people you want to attract? Just because people want flexibility doesn’t mean they aren’t or don’t want to be committed to their work. Society’s view of work is shifting. Don’t lament it or assume you won’t find great people. Embrace it and those people will flock to you.
Each of those are important – and might even seem obvious to you. Obvious or not, one or more are often lacking – in the view of your prospective talent. And as important as each of these are, there is one more overriding factor. And this factor, can quickly influence each of the others. I’ll frame it with these questions:
How effective and “attractive” are your leaders?
Are your leaders people you would want to work for?
Do current team members want to stay with those leaders?Remember that people want an effective leader. As an organization, preparing, developing, and coaching leaders benefits more than just those leaders. Leadership is leverage. Yes, as you build your leaders, you build your teams. But they do more than that. Regardless of the larger organizational situation, that can create more of the four factors listed above. Effective leaders are a major reason people choose an organization. They are a key to your talent attraction efforts.