Here at Few&Far, we aim to provide you with the talent that you need to grow and scale your business. In order for us to find talented individuals for you to keep and develop, we’ve spent years nurturing our knowledge about what talent consists of and how best to recruit those who have it.
In this article, we are going to divulge some of the learnings and explore the question ‘How to recruit and retain top talent?’. To do this question justice, we’ve broken this article into two sections, one concerning recruiting top talent, and one concerning retaining top talent.
Here are five of the best ways that businesses can attract the best and brightest in their respective fields.
While you’re on the hunt for the top talent, the top (available) talent is out there looking for the top employers. It’s a two-way street that has no room for ego, you can’t put out a threadbare job advert and expect your perfect applicant to come running through the door. You’ll want to highlight the company mission and make it clear ‘why’ it’s a good idea to work for you and what impact you can have. Be sure to fully flesh out the advert, discussing the learning and development opportunities, rewards and benefits, company values, and company culture, and ensure that what you write remains consistent with the message on your website, social media, interview process, meetups and events.
We live in a new world, where working from home, or working from abroad, are quite normal. Be open to these concepts at least on an infrequent or flexible basis, as they might help you to attract some of the best talents in the world. If you are seeking a creative and innovative professional, don’t be surprised if they want to go and explore other cultures for inspiration - it can benefit you. Does your business have a top-down management structure or a collaborative one, is there an open-door policy, and do you offer maternity and paternity leave that goes beyond the minimum? These are all considerations that you need to make because a sense of freedom can be very attractive to new talent.
Well, salary is going to be the first thing that people look at, so, more than anything, try to be in line with or above what your direct competitors are paying. After that, offering insurance, a gym membership, and free lunches in the cafeteria are all going to pique the interest of any applicants. What financial bonuses, whether individual or group-based might there be and can they get the applicant salivating? Are there opportunities to earn extra money working overtime, or earn extra holiday days throughout the year? Are there any staff trips? The more you give an employee, the more they give back, so if you want to attract real givers, you have to give first.
How can the top talent know about you if they can’t see you? If you don’t stand out, you don’t stand out, end of. To attract the top talent, you have to think the same way that they think and act how they act and get in front of them in the right places. The best recruiters in the world have managed to get this down to an art, investing a lot of resources in their social media and digital recruitment tactics.
You have to make the best talent feel that they are being prioritised. Remember that not all hiring processes start at the same time, and that the unemployed or available talent are all at different stages of their job hunt. For these reasons, you’re fighting against time more than against your competitors. Most organisations take weeks to go through the applications, organise first and second interviews, and then finally offer a job. This is too slow, it’s going to let the best talent slip away. The effort you put into winning the best talent is going to be rewarded.
We asked Few&Far’s Director, Samm Green, about what makes for a compelling recruitment process. The answer: “Stand out, be quick in hiring, have a compelling brand message, show yourselves off, pay correctly, and have the right perks”.
Now that the recruiting is theoretically done and you’ve got that talent to sign a contract and start working for you, you have to work hard to keep them around. Here are some ways you can do that.
Continued Professional Development.
Don’t be surprised to find that talent can outperform expertise when their development is managed carefully, so try to find opportunities for continued training; put them through qualifications, or go on specialised courses that will help their role, for example. You can build the bond of loyalty by paying for their studies and training them up - this is what law firms do all the time.
Do your most talented individuals know what lies in store for them if they keep on doing great work, smashing their monthly and yearly targets? Can you imagine how damaging it might be if nothing happens? You need to increase transparency in this department, explain the career tracks, opportunities for new positions opening up and what opportunities exist in other locations too. The better your employees know about the future, the more they can give in the present.
The highest retention stats are often found at the companies with the strongest culture and biggest buy-in from staff. With a common goal to pursue and achieve, such as happiness, teamwork, or respect, or a larger external goal, like saving the environment, helping the disadvantaged, or supporting global access to education, the staff have another reason to stay and work hard. The company culture, combined with the collective energy in the business, is something many find hard to leave behind.
Keep your talent involved in decision-making processes to help build trust, confidence, and instinct. You will empower them and make them feel that their contributions are meaningful. In many organisations, it’s hard to find opportunities for democratic behaviour, but with some creativity, you will manage.
“It starts at the top. Clear vision, a solid culture, role missions, everyone is clear on where the company is heading, OKR's and clear objectives, and a company that provides autonomy for its team to thrive.”
To get top talent, you must embrace trust, freedom, job perks, and transparency of opportunities, and unsurprisingly, it’s exactly the same things that you should look to achieve!