Improving Your Talent Magnet: Three Critical Factors in Attracting and Retaining Top Talent

thinking-back-imgThe pandemic brought a lot of changes to our lives, and for many people, among those was a change in jobs, whether due to workplace shifts as industries adjusted, because of personal circumstances, or myriad other reasons. It’s made the value of great employees even more essential than ever before. The best contractors or employees can be difficult to find, especially as remote work becomes more available, allowing top talent to work from anywhere and get hired nearly anywhere in the world. 

As many things about the future remain uncertain, talented individuals—the kind you want to hire—are looking for stability in their workplace. They want jobs that will take care of them with good pay and benefits as well as work they enjoy and a positive work environment.

Attracting and retaining top talent is an important factor in your business’s profitability. A talented team member can improve your revenue with the value they provide. Furthermore, the cost to replace an employee is significant. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, on average it costs a company approximately 6-9 months of an employee’s salary to find a replacement.

Even in the midst of the pandemic, we added new benefits to improve our talent magnet and help retain our employees. We increased our PTO to five weeks, added incentive programs, and introduced a 401(k) with matching contributions. 

Recruiting top talent requires a top magnet to attract and keep excellent workers. So what factors into your talent magnet? While there are many strategies to improve it, I think there are three especially important areas to focus on, because they are likely to make the biggest impact overall.

  • Benefits

The truth of the matter is that the benefits package you offer is a major deciding factor for many prospective employees. The better the talent, the higher expectations they’re likely to have in this area. Start by gaining an understanding of what type of benefits are important to your top talent, then get creative about what else you can offer to attract the best talent.

Benefits play a major role because they can determine whether your compensation package will meet the employee’s needs. For example, a good health insurance plan is a priority for many people who may have medical needs or family members they must care for. Similarly, offering some form of retirement benefits is beneficial as many people have little in retirement savings but are beginning to see the importance of saving for retirement.

Paid time off is another important and highly desired benefit, and some people may choose a lower paying job that allows them more time off than one with higher pay and more restrictive vacation policies. Time off is about more than just vacations. It’s extremely common for life circumstances to arise that require someone to take time off from work, forcing them to use vacation time. As a result, they may forgo important time off to rest, as ten days of PTO can quickly get eaten up over the course of a year. Offering more PTO tells your employees you care about them and their wellbeing and understand that they have lives outside of work and families with needs.

Another benefit to strongly consider, if you haven’t already incorporated it, is allowing work-from home either full-time or part-time. Full-time remote positions open the talent pool and can allow you to hire top talent from anywhere in the world in a win-win situation for you and the employee. Part-time work-from-home can be very attractive to many, especially if they have a long commute, have children to care for around work hours, or concentrate best in a quiet and controlled environment.

  • Company Culture

Another area to focus on is company culture. While this is harder to advertise in a job listing, it is something many prospective employees want to know about. It plays a role in your reputation as a workplace, and it can be a motivation for current employees to stay or go.

Because employees spend the majority of their days at work, it’s important to create a pleasant and friendly atmosphere that they’ll enjoy, and a big part of that is work culture. Have you ever had a job you dreaded going to each day? It can make your entire life miserable, from the time you go to bed the night before to waking up and driving to your job. In a lot of cases, it comes from negative energy in the workplace or a toxic work culture. A toxic work culture can stem from gossip, a too-competitive atmosphere, high employee turnover, overworking and lack of breaks, poor management, and many other issues. If employees don’t feel comfortable and appreciated for their work, they won’t want to stay. With tools like Glassdoor available to prospective employees to learn about a company’s work culture, your workplace reputation matters. 

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways you can strengthen your company culture and make your business somewhere people want to work. Fostering a collaborative environment and helping team members develop a sense of purpose in their work are two impactful methods. A collaborative environment empowers team members to take ownership of their roles and solve problems among their teams at the level the problems arise. It is based on teamwork rather than competition, where everyone plays to their strengths and supports each other in what they do best.

Employees also need to feel a sense of purpose in their work. If their job feels meaningless, they won’t be invested in it and are likely to grow bored or frustrated. Clearly articulating your company’s purpose is an important step in helping employees feel invested in what they’re working toward. Your purpose isn’t what you stand for or what you’re trying to achieve—it’s the reason you do what you do. Every employee’s role should connect to that greater purpose in some way, and it’s important for them to see the reason for their role—their individual purpose as a member of your organization. People want to feel like what they do matters—otherwise, what’s the point? Helping them understand how they make a difference will energize them and increase motivation.

  • Leadership

The third highly important aspect is leadership, as it can make or break an employee’s experience. Directive, top-down management styles can interfere with a team member doing their best work, frustrate them, and even ruin company culture. Leadership plays a large role in a company’s culture and the experience of your employees.

A great leadership team collaborates with team members rather than simply instructing and monitoring them. They should be available to help in problem-solving and mentoring their team members.

One important role of your leadership team is to recognize employees for their work and accomplishments. Always take the time to celebrate achievements and show employees your appreciation—it goes a long way in establishing a positive relationship. One mistake I often see leaders make is providing feedback to employees without praising them. Always try to provide at least three praises for every criticism. They’ll respect you more if you’re praising them rather than telling them what they did incorrectly, and you’re more likely to open their ears to truly hear the feedback if you show them your appreciation.

By offering a strong benefits package, fostering a positive work environment, and having a great leadership style, you’ll create a place people want to work, making it easier to attract and retain top talent.

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Jason Hennessey

Jason Hennessey is an internationally-recognized SEO expert, speaker, and serial entrepreneur whose ethos of “educate and empower” has earned him a reputation for excellence in digital marketing.

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