Attracting talent doesn't have to be a war

Not interested in slugging it out with rival companies for top talent? Here's how to avoid the conflict and still come out on top.

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It’s not even February, yet I must have already seen a dozen articles this year about employees quitting jobs in their droves due to ‘The Great Resignation’ & ‘The War for Talent’. The push narrative seems to be clear: you are going to lose top talent and it’s going to be challenging to hire and there’s not much you can do about it. But is this true or is this good, old fashioned hyperbole? Let’s find out.

Let’s start by confirming that The War for Talent is not a new idea. The term was coined over 25 years ago by McKinsey and refers to an increasingly competitive landscape for recruiting and retaining talented employees. The truth is that corporations have been vying for top talent for decades and the way to ‘win the war’ is to stop getting caught up in fear-mongering and start thinking about what actions you can take to keep hold of your top talent. Instead of some diabolical war, we need to look at talent strategy through the lens of opportunity and the desire to truly be the best in class at it.

Through our consulting partnerships with global brands, we have compiled the data that shows exactly what organisations need to be focusing on to attract the best talent around.

👉 Read article How to use language to attract a larger and more diverse set of candidates

By learning and implementing these different elements into your strategies, you can accelerate the performance of your recruitment process and avoid the dreaded ‘war’.

8 key areas where you need to focus

When it comes to people, there are a few areas to focus on to influence change.

For example, does your organisation encourage healthy challenge? If you create an environment where challenge is welcomed and supported, the data tells us that you are more likely to be more open to candidates from different backgrounds, industries or experiences. This naturally widens your talent pool of potential candidates.

How about accountability, do you know who ‘owns’ the hiring process? Is it the hiring manager or is it HR? A lack of ownership leads to one thing, a lack of accountability and inevitably a slow and inconsistent process. Not only does this affect your objectives and timescales but ultimately your great candidate doesn’t receive the best experience, either.

Let’s talk about diversity. Does your organisation value it? To the point where action is taken? For meaningful outcomes and results, organisations need to align their commitment to diversity with their process. It’s the only way to walk the walk and not just talk the talk.

It’s essential to look at the language you use. For example, using gender-neutral and accessible language in job descriptions (and all company documentation) will have a significant impact when attracting candidates from underrepresented groups. (Find out more on the power of words here)

What about your process? What processes can you think about different and modify to ensure you’re attracting the best talent out there?

To begin with, are you an attractive company to work for? If so, why? You need to be able to articulate it in job descriptions, in interviews, everywhere. Why should someone work for you? What are you offering over another organisation?

There’s also a big opportunity in being proactive with sourcing. Don’t just ‘post and pray,’ proactive sourcing is essential for targeting passive candidates and also broadening your talent pool and networks concurrently.

When it comes to assessment of candidates, are you being consistent? Do you have clear competency frameworks and leadership behaviours that you assess against to ensure objectivity and efficiency in the selection process?

Finally, what does your appointment process look like? It’s so important. Imagine you’ve run an entire race in first place only to trip over the last hurdle! That’s what happens when you are not swift and efficient with communication or aren’t competitive with your rewards and benefits. These details matter.

The truth is that if you’re experiencing difficulties when trying to attract top talent, one or more of these areas will likely be the source of your challenge – and if you start addressing them you can begin to reap the sweet rewards.

How to get started

Starting in these areas and building a plan to address them will not only give you the best chance of attracting the top talent, but it will also give you the best chance of attracting diverse talent, whilst significantly improving the efficiencies of your process – meaning you will not only hire the best person, but you will also hire faster.

Unfortunately, it’s not a quick fix. It never is! You can’t just implement a great ATS and stick your hiring managers through interview training and put your feet up. You need to work on all these areas, cutting across process and people and have everyone firing on all cylinders to truly hit the next level. It’s only through taking action that you will keep hold of and find the best talent.

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