Is your company competing in the “war for talent?” This term refers to the continuous efforts of firms to attract high performing employees at a time when too few workers are available to replace the baby boomers now departing the workforce in advanced economies.
“Failure to attract and retain top talent” was the number one issue in the Conference Board’s 2016 survey of global CEOs, according to an article by McKinsey consultants Scott Keller and Mary Meaney. Almost one-third of senior leaders surveyed cited that finding talent was their most significant managerial challenge.
The Conference Board also reported that 82 percent of companies don’t believe they recruit highly talented people, and for companies that do, only 7 percent think they can keep it.
In the current labor market, it is hard to find top talent. These are the facts. What can your company do about it? You can always keep on recruiting. Here are some tips:
Have a portal on your website for candidates to submit resumes to jobs, even if the opportunities are not immediately available. Make your site user- friendly and let candidates know that if they send a resume, it will be read and kept for the first available opening. Additionally, you can influence your recruitment efforts with marketing tactics as a way to increase your applicant pool.
Keep Candidates on File for Openings
Have you recently advertised for an executive position and had to select one candidate over several other excellent contenders? Be sure to keep a file on these runners-up. As soon as the appropriate position opens up, contact these contenders and encourage them to re-apply.
Hire Top Performers and Train Them
If you interview a top performer but do not have a position for this person at present, try to hire the candidate and train him, so that once a suitable position opens up, he can fill it. You may be interviewing a candidate who would make an excellent sales leader at your firm. Hire him, and train him in your particular selling techniques, and let him learn about the company. When the time is right, promote him to an available position or create an opportunity just for him. Good talent is hard to find.
Your HR Team Should Always be on the Lookout
Do the members of your Human Resources team canvas conferences and other industry-wide events to identify top performers? Are they reading the business publications regularly, looking for someone who stands out with her originality, voice, and experience? If so, your team is more likely to be able to recognize a top performer in the field in which you work, and more able to recruit this person to your firm.
Why Hiring Top Talent Gives You a 4X RoI!
A recent study of more than 600,000 researchers, entertainers, politicians, and athletes found that high performers are 400 percent more productive than average ones, the McKinsey writers reported. Keller and Meaney said that the gap rises with a job’s complexity. In highly complex occupations – such as the information-and interaction-intensive work of managers, software developers and the like – high performers are 800 percent more productive.
Many of the top companies in the U.S. adopt the ABR approach: Always Be Recruiting. Sales Expert and Founder of Engage Selling Solutions, Colleen Francis, recommends: “It’s essential to constantly have recruiting on your to-do list.” In other words, don’t settle into complacency when the team is performing well. Peak Sales Recruiting reported that “57% of job openings that are not filled within the first 30 days will remain unfilled for the next three months.”
How would having a job opening remain unfilled for three months affect your company, especially if you are in a business where you must meet aggressive sales targets? Doesn’t it make sense to keep a stable of top performing candidates available to jump in and make a difference?
Recruiters Need to Understand the Business
It’s also not enough for HR recruiters to always be on the lookout for top talent, but they need to have a deep understanding of the business in which they work, to identify the skills required to succeed. A recruiter needs to know how to recognize if a candidate will make a good team member, and that means understanding what the team’s challenges and goals are.
Patty McCord, former Chief Talent Officer at Netflix, discussed her recruiting strategy with SHRM Online: “I advocate starting with the problem to be solved, and working backward to who is the best person to solve that problem, instead of starting with the kind of person you want. You’d still want someone who has the right attitude, and some who is excited to solve the problem. You wouldn’t want to hire someone who can solve the problem but isn’t interested in the challenge or doesn’t like your company.”
Whether your goal is to stay ahead of the competition, always to have a pipeline of great talent, or to be prepared for the natural exodus of baby boomers at your organization, it pays to still be recruiting.
Remember what the late Steve Jobs of Apple said to Talent Trust about the importance of hiring outstanding people: “Go after the cream of the cream. A small team of A+ players can run circles around a giant team of B and C players.”