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How To Attract & Retain Employees

One of the areas that our clients seek to address is talent sourcing and of course, they aim to hire the ‘best and brightest’. No one wants to go through the effort of finding the most suitable candidate only to lose them a short while later. Retention is just as important as talent attraction. Your first question you may be, ‘Why is attraction important?’ Why do we have to allocate resources for this? A healthy recruitment program allows you to grow your staff compliment based on the needs of your organization.

Recruitment also makes room for growth opportunities and succession planning. It is important to understand that a wide and diverse team helps you to match the right people with the right divisions. For example, a new team member with competencies in communications and human relations is a great connector and should be encouraged to cross-train in human resources or public relations. Recruitment also promotes innovation and adaptability. As with any organization, it’s easier to promote from within as there’s a familiar talent pool, trained in-house, and fully subscribed to your company’s mission and vision. However, external candidates bring fresh ideas, new skill sets, and can promote ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking.

Branding is the best place to start when a company is considering talent acquisition. You must first understand who you are, who you’d like to attract and why should they choose you! Let’s use Service Culture Firm as an example; what are we known for? We are a small consultancy firm that provides management solutions. We are known for our responsiveness and quality service. Our team boasts a diverse background based in a wide range of industries.

Sounds great? Good! Then who would we like to attract? Attraction objectives may differ. Are we aiming to grow our staff compliment with people that have similar goals and interests? Is there a skills gap that we’d like to address such as technology or communications? Would we like to bring in young professionals or candidates with leadership experience? Understanding your target audience helps you know where to focus your efforts. Let's not forget the fact that there are lots of comparable organizations in our region; each with their own brands that candidates must consider before applying for a position. What are the benefits of working with our firm in particular? The value proposition must be made clear at the onset so that candidates can make informed decisions.

We understand why recruitment is important, our company's brand, our target audience, and how we stack up; let’s look at the basics of attraction. Employee attraction is the identification and recruitment of qualified candidates that meet the organization’s needs (i.e. fill an existing or anticipated opening). Therefore attraction has two components; first identification and then recruitment. Based on the needs of the organization, we may want to attract a diverse group of individuals whose ages could span different generations. Listed below are the different generations and the mode of communication they respond to the best.

Companies start to develop their talent pool by advertising vacancies on their organization’s website, utilizing online job boards, advertising on print and social media, and working with community partners such as the Labor Department's job board. Similarly, your organization can interchangeably utilize these measures based on the candidate they would like to attract.

When trying to attract a Baby Boomer, that is, those born from 1945 to 1960, newspaper ads, editorials, and features work well. So do television interviews, commercials, and specials. With Gen X, those born from 1961-1980, swap out print media for email blasts, add LinkedIn articles and job postings to Facebook posts, and incorporate online videos embedded in those social media platforms or YouTube as a way to build brand awareness.

Gen Y, or the group more commonly known as Millennials born between 1981 and 1995, utilizes most social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Advertising on these platform generates almost instant engagement. As opposed to Boomers, switch out the newspaper articles and features for a well-written blog post, with links to your company’s website for more information. Gen Z, those born from 1996 to 2012, like Millenials are attracted to posts and advertisements on all social media including Tik Tok and similar to the platform, enjoy short content and live videos. An example of how that can be utilized is to ‘go live’ at your next social or community event to give candidates a behind-the-scenes preview of what it’s like to be a member of your team.

The common denominators across all generations in this region are the use of Whatsapp groups as a quick way to disseminate information and personal referrals or testimonials from employees with your organization. With attraction, a one-size-fits-all approach isn’t best as you may find yourself wasting efforts. As we all know, these preferences can vary from person to person, but these are our most common findings. It is important to consider all generations as experience paired with innovation makes for a well-rounded organization.

Employee retention refers to the ability of an organization to retain its employees. We’ve spent a lot of time, effort, and resources to recruit our new team members. We understand if there are extenuating circumstances or better opportunities that motivate them to leave. But if other factors are negatively affecting the employee experience, its best to understand and address them as quickly as possible to salvage and improve the relationship.

Let’s work through this very common scenario that can be found in any organization. We will identify at least three factors that led to my departure. I’m a new member of your organization. I participate in staff meetings and community initiatives. I’m expected to bear the brunt of the workload as I’m new and everyone 'had to go through it' when they joined. I try to add to the planning discussions but my ideas aren’t well-received as I’m not considered as seasoned as my other colleagues. Some of the team members are friendly, and I try to form working relationships but there isn’t anyone willing to walk me through the unwritten rules of the organization, provide insight, or even inquire as to how I'm enjoying my time with the company. I was engaged for my skill set but have not had an opportunity to fully utilize it and I do not foresee any growth opportunities. After just a few months, I decided to quietly leave.

Ultimately, new employees are looking for engagement, mentorship, and growth. An engaged employee is one that is fully tuned in and excited about their work and seeks to positively support the company and its interests. Treating new members as equals and forming genuine connections contributes greatly to their engagement and mutually benefits the organization in return.

Mentorship is equally important and can take place in formal or informal ways. There may be a structured mentorship program in place where new members are assigned to seasoned ones to ‘learn the ropes’ as they say. While your company readily provides information to prospective and existing members through their onboarding programs and websites, there is nothing that can take the place of being taken under wing by a mentor.

Lastly, growth opportunities are essential. Growth in this setting can resemble team members realizing their full potential, learning new skills, or reaching new heights. Whatever form growth takes, it is an important component of retention.

Paul P. Harris, Founder of Rotary International, once said, ‘The foundation upon which Rotary is built is friendship; on no less firm foundation could it have stood.’ Similar to friendships, attraction and retention are based in the relationships that we must take care to cultivate and manage. Moving forward, ask yourself these questions; 'Is our brand established?', 'Is our target audience identified?', 'Will we diversify our efforts to attract them?', 'Will we engage, mentor, and retain them?'

To talk more about how Service Culture Firm can assist with talent acquisition or provide other management solutions, please feel free to send us a message, or connect with us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, or our YouTube channel.

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