Know your company's reputationDo you know what your reputation is in the industry? Companies that attract the best employees have an established reputation as an industry leader and have a solid reputation for how they treat their employees.
If your business is not yet well-known in the industry, consider taking steps to build your authority in the industry. You can do that by:
- Build a large and engaged following on social media. Sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are terrific marketing tools, both for growing your customer base and letting potential employees feel as though they have a behind the scenes look at your company.
- Build a high-traffic blog with a significant following within your industry.
- Make sure your company is represented at hiring events in your city, participate in trade-shows, and use all other industry events to get the name of your company or firm out there.
Improve your company culture
Culture is almost as important to today's workforce as pay and benefits. Top talented employees in the field are no longer just chasing zero's on a paycheck. They also want to work for a company that has taken the time to build an engaging, fun, creative culture that allows employees some freedom in how they get their job done.
If your company is struggling with finding and retaining the best talent in the field, start with taking a hard look at the culture of your company. It can be challenging to have an unbiased view, so ask your current or past employees how they feel about the culture of your company.
- Do you have toxicity in your company? Is there someone, or more than one person, who seems to come up again and again when employees have a complaint? Does one department struggle more than others with keeping good employees? Is there a strained atmosphere in your workplace? If you answered yes to any of those questions, you probably need to do a thorough review of the culture that is promoted in your company.
- Do employees ever have fun at work? The era has passed of stuffy cubicles and hard workers punching a time clock, doing their jobs, and then rushing out to their real lives. Good employees are searching for somewhere that they can feel like part of a team, enjoy their workday, and think of co-workers as part of their family. These types of work environments do not happen overnight. It takes a committed effort on behalf of leadership to develop a culture that promotes this type of loyalty and job satisfaction.
- Do you offer flex-time or other creative solutions to help your employees juggle the work-life balance? With today's technology, many jobs can be done remotely, at least some of the time. Employees highly value flexibility and a healthy work-life balance. Can your employees take off to pick up a sick toddler at daycare and then work the rest of the day from home? Can they leave a few hours early to make an event, and make it up by staying over for a couple of days? These are small concessions that have a lot of weight in building company loyalty.
Take a look at your hiring process
The hiring process is like a first date. Everyone is on their best behavior, and it is an opportunity for both the company and the potential employee to put their best foot forward. However, if you are serious about attracting the top talent in your industry, you need to realize that you have to sell your company as much as an employee is trying to sell their skills and experience.
The person who will directly supervise the new hire should always be involved in the hiring process. In larger companies with hiring managers or large HR departments, new hires are often hired by people who will never work directly with that person. Sometimes hiring decisions are made by people who have little understanding of what the job entails. This is a mistake because there are intangible qualities required for each job, and only someone who knows the position well can pick up on things that can never entirely be confined to a written description.
Good hiring practices mean much more than having an ample pool of qualified candidates. The most important metric of how well your company is doing in the hiring process is found in the retention rate. How many employees are with the company a year later? Five years later?
It cost money and productivity when you have to post a new job, go through the interviewing and hiring process, and then training someone to do the job. Good retention means you have developed solid hiring practices that identify employees who will stay with your company for the long term. If your retention rates are low, the hiring process is just one aspect of your company you need to evaluate.
To establish robust hiring practices, use the following tips:
- Always promote from within when possible. Promoting from within has numerous benefits for your business. It lets employees know that there is always room to grow within the company and motivates others to work harder for the chance to move up the rung. Promoting from within reduces the turnover rate as fewer employees feel compelled to leave to seek an opportunity for growth. Some studies show that it takes outside hires close to three years before they perform as well as those promoted from within.
- Recruit new talent. Most top talent individuals rarely go on a job search. The best of the best are often recruited away from their current jobs, lured by better pay, benefits, or an exciting new opportunity. Instead of posting a job and waiting for the slew of resumes to pour in, consider ongoing recruiting where your HR department is always looking for the next great employee.
- Put serious thought into the job description and corresponding requirements. A job description that does not adequately describe the job opening is doing a disservice to potential employees and to the hiring manager who will struggle to find the best candidate for a job that is too vague or too narrow in scope. Review the requirements carefully. Requiring a bachelor's degree for a position may cost you, applicants, with ten plus years of experience in doing the specific job well. At the same time, demanding x number of years experience may weed out very promising up and comers.
- Sell your company to potential hires. Do not take for granted that because someone showed up to an initial interview that they will take the job if offered. Potential hires often shop just as hard, or harder, than do companies that are hiring. If a candidate looks promising, use the interview process to convince the candidate why coming to work for your company is a great idea.
Offer competitive pay and benefits
Pay and benefits are still one of the essential factors in finding and keeping the best employees. Investing in its employees is one of the smartest business decisions a company can make. Competitive pay sends multiple messages:
- It tells employees that your business model is stable and that your company is in it for the long-haul.
- It lets employees know that you value their contribution to the company.
- Better pay improves retention, saving you the cost of multiple hires, and the associated cost of training new personnel. It also sets the tone for a culture that values longevity, creating a robust team environment.
When putting together, compensation packages remember that every little perk matters. The standard things like good, affordable insurance, and 401k plans are expected. Even if you can't afford to match the salaries offered by industry leaders, yet, you can foster employee loyalty with benefits. Some creative benefits that have paid off well for companies include:
- Free, or partially subsidized child care
- Health and wellness initiatives
- Bonuses that match the company's profits
- Free products
- Extra vacation or personal time
- Flex-time or remote-work options
- Extended sick leave
- Educational assistance
- Free continuing education
- Extended holiday pay
- Half or full days off for one birthday a year (employees may choose to take it on a child or spouses birthday)
Anything that you can offer your employees, in addition to their regular pay, is a benefit. Little concessions add up to a happier work environment. If you want employees who are willing to go above and beyond for your company, invest in ways to show them that the company is willing to go above and beyond for them.