Part of the “Attracting and Retaining Top Talent” Series
Read almost any book or article on leadership and you will find that one mark of a great leader is his or her ability to select talent – to attract, retain, develop and motivate other leaders. Whether your business mindset falls under corporate, entrepreneur, small business, or non-profit and Government, your ability to attract the best talent with the right mindset defines your future success. The following points will help you in this process.
1. Define your cultural values. What is company culture? It is more than a set of policies, a working environment, or an atmosphere. It defines common beliefs and behaviors as well as the way we view and value relationships. An easy way to define these traits for your company is to simply look at the behavior of the top leaders, particularly the founders or the president/CEO. The behavior of these leaders is the strongest cultural influence in any company. The example set by the top leaders of the company has a far greater impact than any set of rules. It is critical that cultural values guide everyday work.
2. Understand what motivates people. Remember Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs? It can easily be applied to attracting and retaining top talent. There are basic needs that have to be satisfied before higher needs can be satisfied.
- Security: Regardless of the business mindset you seek, you have to be able to address both job and financial security. Study after study shows that the greatest influence on an employee’s commitment to a company is the senior management’s interest in an employee’s well-being.
- Inclusion: People want to feel like they are “in the know.” Company goals and information have to be understood and shared.
- Control: Many people develop a sense of self-worth related to their range of control.
- Ego: People must feel that they play a key role in the company’s success. Their work must be challenging and have importance.
- Doing the Right Thing: People want to do what’s right. The question is not only “Are we doing the right thing?” but “Who are we doing the right thing for?” The social value of the work needs to be shared and understood.
3. Make sure your message attracts the right people.The book, The War For Talent, describes four kinds of messages to which people respond.
- Go with a Winner: This message attracts those seeking growth and advancement in highly successful companies more than a connection with the company’s mission and location.
- Big Risk, Big Reward: This message attracts those wanting good compensation for considerable risk and careers advancing rapidly.
- Save the World: This message attracts those wanting an inspiring mission and exciting challenges more than high compensation and personal development.
- Lifestyle: This message attracts those seeking flexibility with lifestyle choices, better lifestyle benefits, and compatibility with the company’s leadership more than career growth and excitement.
4. Build an engaging workplace. The Gallup Organization has developed a dozen questions that measure the engagement of your employees. These questions, listed below, can be categorized into four main points of interest: “What do I get from this role? What do I give? Do I belong here? How can we all grow?”
- Do I know what is expected of me at work?
- Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work properly?
- At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?
- In the past seven days, have I received recognition or praise for good work?
- Is there someone at work who encourages my development?
- Does my supervisor or someone at work seem to care about me as a person?
- At work, do my opinions count?
- Does the mission or purpose of my company make me feel like my work is important?
- Are my coworkers committed to doing quality work?
- Do I have a best friend at work?
- In the last six months, has someone talked to me about my progress?
- In the past year, have I had opportunities at work to learn and grow?
In the end, a leader will achieve greater business outcomes in the areas of retention, profitability, productivity and customer engagement by:
- having a clear definition of the company’s values and business mindset;
- understanding the values and mindset of each employee;
- recognizing each employee’s true motivation to work;
- helping each employee connect that motivation back to company goals; and,
- maintaining open and honest communication.
Attracting and retaining top talent is all about how an employee feels about his or her work experience. Commitment to the company is becoming much more of an emotional-based decision with employees searching for deeper meaning in their jobs.