Attracting (And Retaining!) the BEST Talent

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“Attracting (And Retaining!) the BEST Talent

By: Courtney Beam

As of September 2018, the unemployment rate in the US has declined to 3.7 percent, which is reported as the all-time lowest since December of 1969. This rate is forecasted to remain around the 3.7-3.8% mark throughout 2019 and only slightly increase in 2020 (via Trading Economics). Susan Ruhl, President and CFO of ICC wrote in 2017 that unless you are watching your employees during their lunch hour, you may not know if they are actually looking for a better job. If leaders turn a blind eye, they may end up being caught off guard when one of their top employees leaves after being approached with a new job offer. So, what’s the answer?

Many companies immediately think to increase compensation and to throw a few extra perks at their employees (think ping pong tables in the breakroom and bring-your-dog-to-work day). What most organizations are missing is that pay isn’t the number one reason why employees stick around. In reality, it’s often not even in the top three. In fact, the top three reasons you may lose your top performers is because they don’t see growth or development opportunities, they don’t believe in the mission and vision of the organization or they don’t like their immediate boss.

Below I’ve outlined three suggestions that organizations can do to encourage their top talent to stick around and to appeal to the best of the best in hiring efforts.

Take a Long Look at Your Culture:
This doesn’t mean revising your company’s values or painting them on the wall of your reception area. Culture extends well beyond the values that are written on the wall. Your company is a combination of the values and behaviors (good or bad) that contribute to the organization and ultimately lead to the success (or lack thereof) of the organization. What behaviors and values are widely accepted, and perhaps unspoken, within your organization? If you don’t have a good culture, chances are it’s leading to your employees looking elsewhere for a new job. Your culture should be visible within your organization and from the outside as well. Companies that have enviable cultures that are visible to people outside of the company have an easier time attracting great talent.

Provide Employees with Development:
When companies invest in their people, it is obvious internally but also externally to future employees, vendors, customers and many more. One great way to accomplish this is to implement leadership development programs. One of the most common themes among industry leaders is that they believe in, and implement leadership development programs, and they don’t stop there. They make sure to assess their talent pool to identify the correct leaders ripe for development and they make sure that any training delivered is directly aligned with their business strategy to ensure that the training ultimately helps meet company goals. By developing your emerging and current leaders, you’ll not only help them strengthen their own leadership skill set but also increase your overall talent engagement, performance, and strengthen your bench of future leaders.

Look to Executive Coaching and Mentorship Programs:
Research has shown that organizations that use executive coaching and mentoring have higher levels of employee retention than those who don’t. How many times have we heard that employees leave because of a bad boss? If you are finding that all of your top performers are running for the hills and they all have one manager in common, look no further. Perhaps you find that you have a leader who displays bad behaviors that are inhibiting their success and the success of their teams? An executive coach can help resolve this issue and much more. While executive coaching is a wonderful resource for executives who need to shore up gaps in their capabilities or possibly refine any unappealing behaviors they may have, it can also be very beneficial for leaders who aren’t quite ready for the next level, or perhaps leaders that were promoted to the next level of leadership and need a little bit of refining to excel. Furthermore, mentors are a great way to leverage internal resources to heighten the commitment level of your top talent, while also focusing on their personal growth and development.

Has your organization implemented any of these strategies for attracting and retaining your talent? What other ideas would you recommend? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section.

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