By Bruce Tulgan
You may have noticed that despite using the most tried and true tactics, your organization is no longer attracting the top-quality talent that it used to. Competitive salary, good benefits, and long-term career paths are no longer enough to make you stand out as an employer.
So, what do you do?
Many employers today realize that a winning culture is the key differentiator when it comes to hiring. Employees today are savvy enough to learn what an organization’s culture is really like very early on, even before they walk in the door on their first day. Social media and employer review sites, such as Glassdoor, have made it easier than ever for hiring candidates to vet their potential employers before deciding whether or not to work for them.
But what does having a winning culture mean? And more importantly, what does that mean for your organization in particular? Most likely, for your organization, a winning culture does not mean having beer on tap in the break room or hosting a plethora of scheduled social activities for employees. What we’ve seen in our research is that, most often, a winning culture is defined by the more fundamental aspects of the employer-employee relationship.
There are three reasons why your attraction efforts are missing the mark when it comes to communicating what your organization’s winning culture looks like:
By now, most employers understand that simply offering the same old-fashioned benefits is no longer enough to attract high-quality candidates. But additional “culture-based” incentives, such as team social activities and other trendy perks, may not reflect what potential new hires are really looking for.
In your interviews with job candidates, start asking them: “What would your dream job look like at our company?” Of course, it likely won’t be possible to meet all (or perhaps even most) of the conditions that person lays out in their answer. But if a candidate lets you know that scheduling flexibility is a top priority for them, and you can offer that flexibility, make it clear in your recruiting messages that flexibility is one benefit of working for you.
Start looking at the types of benefits your top competitors are offering and see how they compare to your own. Your competition might be providing employees with performance-based compensation, supportive leadership, or more training and development opportunities.
It is normal for employees to come and go, especially today. But if you start to notice that your best talent is voluntarily leaving at an increased rate, it might be worth investigating why. The reasons that top talent is leaving could be the same reasons that top talent doesn’t want to come and work for you in the first place.
By the time those employees are heading out the door, it’s almost certainly too late to ask, “What can we do to keep you working for us?” So don’t just ask those who are already planning on leaving what they need: ask your best employees what they need from you as an employer on an ongoing basis. It may be that your employees are lacking the resources, support, or training that they need in order to succeed.
By taking care of the best employees you already have, you help to establish your reputation as a prestigious employer for future candidates as well.
Career development today requires employees to constantly improve their skills and make lateral moves within their organization in order to succeed. No matter what else you may offer as an employer, if you don’t provide clear opportunities for employees to grow, then you’re practically guaranteeing that you’ll be viewed as a way-station job by future candidates. That is, potential employees will see your organization as a place to hide out and soak up as many resources as they can before finding a job where they can truly establish themselves and grow.
Let your job candidates know, specifically, how your organization helps employees grow in their careers. Do you provide mentorship opportunities with key decision makers in the company? Do you offer prestigious training opportunities? How do you identify new leaders and set them up for success?
No matter what buzzwords or promises you make in your recruiting brochures, if you don’t have a truly winning culture to back up the trendy perks, candidates will be able to tell. And they’ll almost certainly pass on the word to their job-seeking friends. No one wants to work somewhere that doesn’t fit their needs, doesn’t sufficiently support current employees, or doesn’t provide employees with a future.