Great Job, Great Company
Recruiting is an endgame. A lot of businesses see their inability to retain top talent as a product of their recruiting practices (“I hire people who tend to hop from job to job, so I will fix it by hiring people who prefer to stay put.”) I could go on for hours about the misuse of the “job hopper” label to disqualify candidates, but I will spare you the word count. Businesses can improve the approach of their recruiters and hire people whose behaviors, motivations, skills, and experience fit the company and the job, which is something that NewHire helps our clients with everyday. Recruiters must be sure to include appropriate language in job ads and sell the job itself to potential candidates. But the fact of the matter is, recruiting is an endgame, and if the company isn’t doing the work to sell the company to top talent, it may be a difficult one.
Here’s what I mean: the market for talented individuals is a complex one. The employer is both buyer and seller, as is the potential employee. In order to win over the best talent at a fair price, the employer must create and market a desirable work environment. Then, the recruiter must communicate what makes the job unique to other available jobs. Finally, they must select from the available pool of interested talent and negotiate a price that doesn’t break the bank. All the while, the potential employee walks the tightrope between expressing interest in a new company and looking out for their needs as an individual (“I want to work for you, so long as you meet these requirements for me.”)
This isn’t just happening with the employees you’re looking to hire. The employees already in place at your company are playing the same game, and it benefits you as an employer to remember this. Your employees are consistently (if unknowingly) aware of what other options are out there. Job boards send daily email reminders, recruiters consistently bombard them with InMails, and friends or peers are always talking about the good, the bad, and the ugly of their own work environments.
Whether they are looking for a job or not, sometimes hearing a buddy talk about his job at an ad agency in the city can get the gears turning in your best employee’s head. Not to mention, if your employees are badmouthing your company, word is likely to get around. So as an employer, you must recruit and re-recruit the people who you have already employed.
Keeping your existing employees engaged and employed is not a simple task. If you’re looking for a few things you can tweak at your business to motivate people to make you the next Google, now would be a good time for a reality check. This is something that is going to take some time, some thought, and maybe some professional help.
Okay. Here’s what I think it boils down to: employers need to understand why they are in business, who they are in business for, and where their business will be in the next 10 years. Then, they need to communicate those things to employees, and fulfill the expectations they set.
For example, I work with a lot of small manufacturing companies whose sole purpose is to build widgets. All day, every day, 10 people in a 12 person company sit in a factory and build the pieces that attach to the other side of industrial bolts. They are in business because people need lock-nuts. That’s why they are in business.
These manufacturers usually say, “We are in business for our clients. Everything we do, we do for them.” And that’s a great sentiment for selling widgets, but it’s not a great sentiment for pleasing your employees. The idea, then, is to have a message that is compelling for your employees that is just as visible and consumable as the message you have for your clients.
If you’re in the right industry, both messages can be the same! Because quite frankly, I don’t really care that the person I buy my widgets (or burritos, or dental floss) from is “dedicated to my happiness.” What if my widget supplier said to me, “Listen, I sell widgets because I want to build a better life for myself and my employees. Widgets are the vehicle in which we approach that goal . We’ve built something great here, because we know that the better this widget is, the better education our children get. You understand that?”
Heck yeah I get that! Now you’ve got a message for your clients that says “We’ve got a personal stake in the success of that widget,” and a message to your employees that says, “We do this all for you.” And if you back that message up and actually provide your employees with an improved environment and lifestyle (and dare I say have a little fun once in a while), do you think that they’ll want to stay? Do you think that talented individuals will want to join them?
That’s the why and the who of it. The final task is to set up processes for communicating to employees where you’re going. This includes lofty goals (see: Google) as well as shorter term goals. Giving your employees a road map for where you’re going as a company is a great way to ensure that they’re focused on bringing you there. If you say it for long enough — and loud enough — the employees who will make the biggest difference will hop on board.
In closing, people want good jobs at good companies. Those two things aren’t mutually exclusive, but each piece needs to be defined and communicated in a compelling way in order to find success in the search for talent and beyond. In order to win at the recruiting endgame, you will need to build a great foundation for your recruiting strategy. This falls conveniently into Step 1 in our 6 Step Recruiting Process — Preparing to Recruit.