Every organization wants a reputation as a great place to work. In many fields, the workplace has become a candidate’s market where the best people have their pick of jobs. And it’s not enough to attract and hire top people—you have to be able to retain them too.
Being known as an organization where the best people want to work isn’t just an HR issue—it brings a serious competitive advantage when the best people want to be part of your team. But it doesn’t just happen by chance.
As a business consultant and leadership executive coach who has worked with thousands of companies around the world, I’m able to see firsthand which strategies are the most effective in attracting and keeping top talent. They fall into six critical areas:
People are attracted to leaders who are inspirational, supportive and empowering. Supervisors and managers are sometimes unaware of the role their actions and decisions have on employee turnover, so manager training and leadership awareness are a must. Managers need the skills, the tools, the knowledge and the inspiration to keep employees engaged. When you get leadership right, you get the right people.
Getting people to join your workforce won’t be a problem if the job is attractive and challenging. But to retain your best people, you have to provide room for advancement with a career path and meaningful professional development. If you fall short in this area, you’ll lose employees to organizations that do better—which in turn will harm your reputation with prospective employees.
People are more committed and engaged when they can contribute their talents and ideas. A sense of ownership and respect makes employees feel they can excel. Creating a culture that nourishes top talent, encouraging creativity and risk and avoiding petty rules, is among the best ways to keep and attract the best people.
Millennial’s now entering the workforce need to understand the why, not just the what. They want to understand and connect with an organization’s mission; they want to know how their work benefits that mission. You need to make sure you have a clearly expressed mission that resonates with people, and an organization that lives out that mission with authenticity and consistency at every level.
The best workplaces make training and development part of their culture. A solid professional development program is one of the best recruitment tools you can develop. The investment of time and money will yield massive dividends in workforce security and the resulting benefits.
It goes without saying that your salary and benefits need to be competitive. Beyond that, you also need to make sure people feel appreciated and recognized for their efforts with external rewards like public recognition, bonuses, and awards. Even more important is intrinsic motivation—feeling connected and valued, with autonomy and opportunity for development and growth.
Even if you’re doing well right now in recruitment and retention, these issues are important enough to warrant a proactive approach. Make an assessment of your organization’s leadership, culture, and practices that affect employees—and if you see an area that’s wanting, don’t wait to make it right.
And last but not least, Lead from Within: Being a good employer means staying aware of what it takes to attract and keep the talent that you have. Pay attention to what your people need so you can be responsive to what they want.
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