Expanding your team or filling a recent hole left by a former employee can seem like one of the worst parts of being an executive leader in an ever-changing corporate field. Not only does it require going on a wild scavenger hunt to find a legitimate pool of qualified candidates, you also typically have to weed through them one by one before the best option becomes clear. As a result, the new-hire process takes weeks and often months for those of us in charge, and the most nerve-wracking part is that even if a candidate nails the onboarding and training, there is no way to guarantee that they will be well suited for the position or that they will stick around for long. It’s a stressful and time-consuming experience for all involved, despite how many times you might have done it in the past. In fact, a 2017 article by McKinsey & Company recognized finding (and keeping) talent as one of the most significant managerial challenges that corporate leaders face in today’s workforce, regardless of what field they happen to be in. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to improve your chances of attracting ideal job candidates:
First of all, make sure you are focusing on the 5-10% of people who make 90-95% of the profit. In other words, make sure that you are prioritizing the needs of the great employees you already have, even while searching for people to add to the team. Not only is this a good investment into people who have already shown you that they can work efficiently, it often costs less to bring a current employee to the next level than it would to hire and train an entirely new person. In addition, making sure that your top employees feel valued will reduce the possibility of them slacking off or leaving when you turn your attention to training new hires. The last thing you want is for one of your company’s top leaders to leave while you are investing your time, efforts, and resources into a newer employee that might not be as valuable or profitable in the long run.
Be very clear about what you are looking for and list any restrictions or required qualifications up front. This will ensure that only eligible people will apply and reduce the likelihood of incompatible schedules, misunderstandings, and wasted time on both your part and theirs. For example, if you need a full-time employee who is able to travel and work long days, that should be disclosed in the position description. If you are specifically looking for someone with previous experience or are hiring at a non-negotiable pay rate, that should also be included. Not only does this allow you peace of mind knowing that the majority of candidates that apply will be qualified for the job, but it also gives candidates a solid idea of what they are getting themselves into by applying. This is a positive start to any employee relationship and a great way to promote honesty and transparency.
Make it a priority to maintain a desirable work environment. This includes providing employees with all of the resources they need to do their jobs effectively, as well as fostering an environment of culture and community. In short, think about whether your company is a desirable place to work from the eyes of your average employee. Do you ever organize get-togethers for employees? Do you offer bonuses, paid time off, vacations, or other benefits? It’s important to remember that if you don’t devote attention to the work-life balance of your employees, they are more likely to be drawn toward other opportunities that will.
Understand what it is that top leaders want and make a strong effort to offer it. Keep in mind that the best relationships between leaders consist of a give-and-take mentality where everyone is eager to help one another succeed. As such, it is important to maintain an understanding of what your employees are looking for in a job and what helps them feel valued and needed. According to a survey done by Russell Reynolds, most top performers are motivated by more challenging work and better career growth prospects. This means that contrary to popular belief, the nature and quality of the work ends up mattering even more to them than better work-life balance and higher salaries, as can be seen below.
As convenient as it would be, there has yet to be a direct algorithm for ensuring that you will only hire competent, qualified, dedicated people who will fill all of your needs. However, there are a few things you can do to draw the right people in and incentivize them to stay. First and foremost, use your best judgement and make sure you are investing in the most profitable and effective employees. Make sure they know that their needs are a priority, even during times of change or team expansion. When hiring new people, be as clear as possible about your needs and what you are looking for. This includes any restrictions, qualification requirements, or any other important info about the position. In addition, don’t be afraid to invest in culture initiatives and other things that get employees together, talking, and excited. Think of your company’s social reputation and how you can make it more positive and inclusive in the long run. Lastly, make sure you are offering what top professionals are looking for, not just what you think they would want. In other words, make an effort to provide benefits and growth opportunities that can genuinely better the lives of your employees – they will see that you have their best interests in mind and develop loyalty to both you and your company. Overall, the more you are willing to invest in the wellbeing of those working for and with you, the more likely it becomes for the right people to be drawn toward your company. If you can make them feel valued enough, there is a good chance that they will stay.