· Features

Five ways to win the talent war

The key to attracting the best talent is to use your existing culture and employees to do the work for you.

Thanks to social media, job boards, Glassdoor, and LinkedIn it’s easy for all to see what it’s really like to work for your organisation – good or bad. Your current employees are your chief talent officers. But to get them ‘in role’ there are some initiatives you must put in place, or they could turn into your worst detractor.  

1. EVP

The lines between business and brand stakeholders are blurring – future employees are today’s customer or competitor – so the brand must work internally and externally. The EVP needs to clearly articulate why someone should join (or stay) and what the ‘contract’ is between employer and employee (so that workers know what is expected of them) in terms of culture, leadership style, career development and reward. Today's head of people has to have a little bit of the chief marketing officer about them.  

2. Purpose over profit

Employees today want to work for an organisation that has a clear sense of purpose. A business that can clearly articulate – and deliver against – why it exists and its role in the world. Companies with a clearly defined purpose are viewed four times more favourably than those without. It makes them a desirable place to work, and not just for millennials, so it’s imperative to ensure this is in place. 

3. People not employees

One of the interesting outcomes of having millennials in the workplace has been the blurring of boundaries between work and life. More enlightened employers are introducing a flexible approach, allowing people to contribute to their organisations in a more human way. Treating people as people, not co-workers or employees, already demonstrates a more human business. 

4. Let your staff do the talking

Attracting the best talent is about keeping the best talent and being comfortable with them sharing and talking, so actively encourage them to share real experiences (warts and all), not just corporate spin. 

5. Create tools and platforms that people want to use

Understand and monitor social media channels such as LinkedIn and Twitter as you would from a marketing or brand reputation perspective. There are clear benefits to participating in conversations with interested recruits. For starters, it delivers an opportunity to engage them directly and correct any misrepresentation of the company. And if the platforms can serve to drive recruitment while saving agency fees it’s a bonus.  

Final thought

If you get culture wrong your employees will vote with their feet, or fail to join you in the first place. When that happens the only winners in the war for talent are your competitors. Get it right, and the benefits are endless.

Dan Bobby is CEO of brand consultancy Calling Brands