3 ways to attract top talent in a hot market

3 ways to attract top talent in a hot market

Although some of the heat has come out of the talent market, finding the right people for your business is still difficult. And yet, the right people can truly make or break your company. Finding the right people can mean the difference between everything running smoothly and having to constantly fight fires, which is tiring and costly.

In this article we look at some of the techniques that businesses, especially smaller businesses, can leverage to attract the best talent, including CEO thought leadership and profit-sharing schemes.

1. Overseas working

Hybrid working and work-from-home (WFH) flexibility is now a standard workplace benefit offered to almost all recruits. So much so that it can no longer really be considered a ‘perk’ that will give you an edge over the competition. It is a necessity to be in the game at all.

As a result, offering WFH shouldn’t be seen as a way to attract talent. It is just the baseline expectation for most top recruits these days. In fact, the baseline expectation among most candidates is being given the flexibility to work from home at least 3 days a week. Anything less than that is probably going to hurt your recruitment efforts and strategy.

This does give you some flex to beat the competition. For example, you may be able to offer fully flexible working, where the team can come into the office as many days (or as few days) as they want. This might give you a marginal edge, but this is unlikely to move the dial significantly.

Nonetheless, there is still scope for employers to innovate on this front to set themselves apart. For example, some companies are starting to explore the possibility of allowing their teams to work from abroad, either from a fixed location or whilst they are on the road constantly. This enables companies to tap into so-called ‘nomad worker’ community.

A company that wants to offer this type of optionality will have to think it through carefully. They will need to ensure that they are operating within payroll rules, as having a team member work from outside of the country may leave them subject to foreign tax obligations. A company may also have to investigate and clear any legal restrictions, including making sure that any locations where their teams are working from allow for remote working in the country.

Equally, a company will have to find ways to accommodate the fact that team members may be operating from different, and constantly changing, time zones

This may require the company to change its management culture by onboarding team communications tools, such as Slack, as well as giving team members more flexibility to direct their own work agendas.

2. CEO thought leadership

Of course, many businesses do not have the flexibility to offer these types of worldwide perks. You need to give your business an edge on attracting talent in different ways.

One underutilised tool is CEO thought leadership. This is the process of boosting the profile on your company’s leadership, specifically your CEO, to enhance the reputation, standing, and visibility of your business.

In practical terms, this might involve boosting your CEO’s presence on LinkedIn and other platforms frequented by potential recruits, securing media interviews in target trade and industry media titles, as well as producing multimedia content, such as videos, that paint the CEO in a positive, insightful, and engaging light.

Why does this work? Because top recruits want to work for people that are respected across the industry. The reasons for this are obvious. Firstly, if the CEO has a reputation for being knowledgeable, informed, and insightful in the sector, then it will generally mean that the recruits will be able to learn from them directly.

Secondly, many recruits understand that going to work with someone with a high-profile in the industry will, by extension, enhance their own reputation and standing via a ‘halo effect’. Recruits will be able to tell future employers (or future potential employers) that they worked alongside a well-known, well-recognised, and well-respected industry figure. This will clearly advance their own career.

Of course, having a CEO with a high-profile can also act as a way to advertise the company to potential recruits in the first place.

It may be that target recruits would not have come across your company naturally – because you’re too small or they’re simply not actively looking for a new job. But if your CEO is active across the media and social media, then it is totally possible that they will be exposed to your company and brand in an organic way. At that point, they may end up researching and reading a lot more.

3. Proxy equity and profit-sharing schemes

Finally, one of the more obvious ways to attract top talent is to offer them higher salaries and wage packages. That much is obvious. Although wages aren’t the ‘be all and end all’ in attracting top talent, academic research shows that it does make a significant difference between whether a candidate will accept one job over another.

But offer bumper salaries may not be possible for many firms that are cash-constrained or investing heavily for expansion. As a result, one of the alternatives is to work hard to give you new recruits a real, tangible, financial stake in the success and growth of the business.

There are many ways to do this, including direct equity; proxy shares schemes, where team members receive a pay-out if the business is sold in the future; or a profit-sharing scheme, where a proportion of the profits are distributed to team members at the end of the year.

There are many benefits to these schemes. Firstly, and most obviously, it may give your offer to the employee an edge over the competition. But it can also encourage your team members to both work harder and smarter because their motivations are better aligned with yours: they are rewarded financially if the business continues to succeed, grow, and boost itself profitability.

Taken together, smaller businesses will also find it more difficult to attract the best talent. That is simply the nature of the beast. However, if you follow these tips, then you will be able to give yourself the edge that you need to attract (and retain) the best people.

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