Finding really great employees is a proactive process. It should not be a reactive emergency. Most people don’t wait until their car is totaled to buy a new one. The same should be true if you’re a hiring manager and are responsible for bringing on top talent.
Here are six strategies you should consider implementing to prepare for Q1 next year and stay ahead of the talent search.
1. Have a Plan to Create a “Nurturing Environment” for Employees
This is a long term strategy — but it’s worth the investment. Nurturing current team members for future leadership positions are not only a good idea for talent strategy, it’s also critical for employee retention. It’s important to keep your best talent, and to keep them engaged.
Replacing talent in your organization is expensive. SHRM estimates that it can be 6-9 months of salary cost to replace the person. When employees have a growth track in the company, they are less likely to leave and work for other organizations (or competitors). In addition, it decreases the cost of training and onboarding brand new employees.
From a human resource perspective, the single best way to be in sync with an organization’s leadership structure and long term vision is to build and execute on a strategic plan to enhance your corporate environment for employees. Your plan must include research, data and a timeline. It’s impossible to ask for a leadership team to buy into a plan without these things, because without them you are presenting ideas, which don’t seem real.
Spend some time mapping out progressive career paths for current positions in your organization. Determine the education, training and character traits required for each progression. Outline the salary increase and benefits of each progressive position. Once you have this on paper, you can share it with your executive team. They can champion these internal growth opportunities to up-and-coming leaders to create interest.
- Develop proprietary training processes to equip current team members to progress within the company. You can task current employees to create these training manuals.
- Implement incentive programs to reward employees for obtaining additional certifications or continuing education.
- Create a mentorship program by matching senior executives and/or leaders with up and coming employees.
- Listen to your employees. Are they happy in your organization? Do they know about growth opportunities at the company? Are they excited about them?
2. Update Your Hiring and Onboarding Technology
Millennial will makeup 50% of the nation’s workforce in just a few years. You must update your hiring technology to be relevant to this influential generation and capture their attention. Millennial professionals want to work at relevant, tech savvy companies. You may simply make your organization more appealing to these up and coming leaders by updating your hiring and onboarding process.
Here’s where an expert or consultant will come in handy. Identify a recruiter who knows the millennial mindset and can enhance your hiring and onboarding process. They have the knowledge about what is attractive to up-and-coming professionals and how to get their attention.
Make the onboarding process more efficient for new employees by sharing training videos and digital documents before they start their position. New hires shouldn’t have to spend hours in the HR office on their first day at the new job. Find ways to speed up this process so new employees can jump right in to their new position.
- Engage a consultant or recruiter to freshen up your hiring and onboarding process.
- Make sure your website and online application procedures are mobile friendly.
- Digitize your employee handbook. Millennial don’t want to hang on to a big binder of “rules and guidelines”. They will be more likely to use it as a reference if it’s digital.
- Allow “e-signatures” on the new hire paperwork to speed up the onboarding process.
- Partner with your social media team to tell people what is happening, exciting projects that are coming up, what it’s like to work there – celebrate employees.
3. Budget for Competitive Offers
In the current job market, the candidate has a lot of power. It is imperative that you offer competitive salary and benefits packages. Be prepared to negotiate salaries and budget for this. In addition, make an allowance in your budget to offer raises to the rising stars on your team. Next year your key employee may receive a job offer from a competitor and you’ll need to entice them to stay.
If you find your self in this scenario, where you have to tempt top talent to stay, take it as a wakeup call. Proposing a counter offer is not a long term solution. You must shift your focus on your employees. Your retention plan may not be as affective as you thought. If you have to resort to a counter offer and increase their salary, at some point this will lead to frustration on one or both sides of the counter.
Be offensive in your budgeting and strategize ways your organization can add value to its employees and prospective candidates. Get creative and add additional value to your offer packages. Beyond salary and healthcare benefits, there are many intangible factors that contribute to the candidate’s decision to accept your job offer and join your company. Companies like Connect Delaware assist with relocation, and offer services to help the families of new employees transition well. This kind of intangible benefit is often the deciding factor in recruiting top talent.
Bring in expert consultants to improve workplace culture. The Fun Dept. in Wilmington, Delaware offers team building strategies to enhance employee engagement. These activities contribute to a healthy workplace, which is very attractive to new hires.
- Budget to offer competitive salary packages.
- Find creative partners to help you add value to your job offer packages.
- Implement strategies to improve workplace culture.
- Enhance your employee retention strategy.
4. Leverage Social Media to Keep Your Talent Pipeline Full
Gone are the days where social media is purely for family and friends. You must use social media for professional networking as well.
You may have met potential job candidates over the holidays at networking events, or even at your child’s holiday chorus concert. Make sure you stay in touch by connecting with them on LinkedIn or Facebook. When they show up in your feed later next year, you’ll be reminded of them and it may be perfect timing to reconnect and share a job opening opportunity with them. Your list of connections can become your “talent pipeline” database.
Post open positions at your company right on your social media timelines. Social media is the new“word of mouth” referral marketing. One of your “friends” on Facebook may share the post and their personal network will see it. Now your job post will reach a whole new — very attentive — audience.
- Use Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn as tools to stay in touch with people you meet at networking events (or anywhere).
- Post open job positions to your social media accounts. Ask your network to share the posts.
5. Use Your Employees as Brand Ambassadors
Current employees know the in’s and out’s of the products and services your organization offers. No one knows what it’s like to work there better than him or her. And you can be sure they are talking about it to anyone who will listen — whether it’s personal conversations with friends and family or public social media rants.Your current employees are your best ambassadors and your worst critics. You can trust their referrals for this very reason!
Find strategic ways to incentivize employees for quality referrals. CSC Global uses algorithms to make the employee referral process simple for their team members. Employees have a unique web link (that is connected to their name) they can share with jobseekers in their network. When a candidate applies for a job using the custom link, it can be traced back to the employee who referred them to the job post.If the candidate is hired, the employee gets a bonus!
Another way to make employees brand ambassadors is by outfitting them in “swag”. This is a creative strategy that cultivates pride in being part of the team. Think beyond pens and mouse pads (no one uses those anymore). Put your logo on high quality Under Armor polos, North Face jackets and hats your employees will actually want to wear!If it’s trendy, functional and well made, your team will wear them all weekend long, and be a walking advertisement for company brand everywhere they go.
SevOne does a great job at this. At their location on the STAR Campus in Newark, Delaware, they have a store where employees purchase apparel with company logos on it. There is so much pride in being a part of the organization that employees actually purchase clothing to “represent.”
- Implement strategic referral programs.
- Incentivize employees for quality referrals.
- Make your team walking billboards for your company by outfitting them with company “Swag”.
- Build your brand by caring for the employees that will no longer be part of your organization by providing career consulting to ensure that they have a soft landing in their next role.
6. Bring in an Expert (Hire a Recruiter)
When it comes to filling an executive position, you may need help from an expert. A professional recruiter has a wider reach and bigger network than you. Your recruiter is an extension of your organization. They represent you to a different audience you wouldn’t normally reach. When you work closely with them, and outline expectations it’s a winning partnership (for your organization, for the recruiter and for the new person you hire).
- Hire a recruiter to represent your organization.
- Work closely with them to determine job position expectations and requirements.
- Partner with them to develop your future talent pipeline.