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5 new best practices for recruiting and retention

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Author: Amy AnciraMD at HireBetter

The way we work has changed — has your organisation? Our world looks much different today than it did just a few years ago. Life has evolved so quickly that most companies have struggled to keep up. With the new year approaching, it’s time to catch up and rethink your talent strategy.

In my recent Vistage webinar, Recruiting and retention in the workforce revolution, I talked about what exactly has changed, the events that led us here, and what we should do about it.

Your talent strategy is outdated — what’s changed and why?

We have gone through extremely challenging times that caused us to reevaluate the things that truly matter to us. As a result, many of us made changes that kicked off The Great Resignation. People want more choices — from how we spend our time to when, where, and how we work for what purpose.

Also consider that many of us have had to work more hours to maintain our livelihoods. Now, we are seeing the effects of that through burnout and disengagement. This is also the main driver behind the Quiet Quitting trend that recently took the internet by storm.

In my Vistage article, “Recent work trends point toward one widespread problem,” I discuss these events and arrive at the following conclusion:

“We have a disengagement problem, which stems from change that created a work problem, perpetuated by outdated standards from the “old world” (pre-2020). Life today does not work the same as it did just two and a half years ago. And that means work cannot work the same, either.”

When you are ready to update your talent strategy, there are additional factors that are also important to consider. Be sure to account for the current record-low unemployment, the 2:1 ratio of open positions to people available, experience gaps exacerbated by retirement, and generational differences of employees or job seekers.

It’s clear that our approach to work as a society has evolved, creating new challenges for employers. Our approach to talent needs to evolve, too.

When change happens rapidly with broad strokes, it can be overwhelming to know how and where to begin. Here are the new best practices to attract, recruit, and engage talent:

1. Align your business and talent strategies with a people-first approach

After more than a decade of helping our clients grow and scale at HireBetter, we’ve found that a people-first approach to business is the most important factor for success. While this does mean you should make business decisions based on the best interests of your people, it also means considering people first on a strategic level.

In a recent report, a staggering 76% of executives said they don’t have the right people in place for their strategy. Unsurprisingly, the same report also found that only 31% of companies’ business and talent strategies are aligned. That’s why a people-first approach is so important. If you don’t align your business and talent strategies, you won’t be equipped to make the right hiring decisions.

It is also why we created “growth matching” — a process used by founders and leaders to align their talent strategy with the business’ growth trajectory.

Growth matching considers current realities and future goals by blending strategic talent planning, assessing current teams, and implementing a humanized recruiting process. Companies that adopt growth matching accelerate and sustain their rate of expansion by continually hiring and developing the right people to achieve long-term business goals.

If your organisation is not prioritising people as the key to aligning its business and talent strategies, then start there.

2. Make core values central

Once your business and talent strategies are aligned, you should have a clear picture of what hires you’ll need to make and when to make them in order to achieve your business goals.

Before you even begin to recruit your next hire, you need to know what to look for. We’re not just talking about skills and experience here – you should be looking for a core values alignment first and foremost.

Your organisation’s core values must be at the center of your recruiting and hiring process. If you don’t have core values that authentically represent the way your company operates day in and day out, now is the time to develop them. Core values alignment is critical for making good hiring decisions and letting candidates know what they can expect while working at your company.

Building a strong culture around your core values isn’t just important for recruiting. It’s one of the most critical factors in creating a sense of purpose, belonging, and camaraderie — all determining factors for how well you retain your team members.

3. Audit your employer brand

Brand matters, so be sure to audit your online presence. A few examples might be to check your company’s reviews on Glassdoor, assess your job board for usability, and evaluate your social media pages. What image and message are you putting out into the world, and what are others saying about you?

Just as many employers look at candidates’ social media and online presence, the candidate will likely be researching you. Make sure your employer brand is an accurate representation of your organisation.

4. Take the time to write excellent job descriptions

When you’re ready to post a job description for your open role, take the time to review it thoroughly. Every job description should be written to attract the best candidate for the job, and that means you need to provide the right details with inclusive language.

The best talent needs to feel that this job was made for them. They know what they’re good at and what they are looking for in an employer. Make it easy for them to see themselves as the perfect fit by providing highly detailed descriptions of the role. Be sure to include a brief picture of what their day-to-day might look like on the job, as this will help them envision themselves in the role at your organisation.

There has been a lot of talks lately about including compensation details in the job description. While many employers are hesitant to do so, it can help weed out candidates that won’t be interested and attract those who are. Including a pay range can also help identify if you are coming in at too low of a price point, in which case you’d receive little interest from qualified candidates.

Remember the market — there’s a lot of competition for talent out there, and people can get a paycheck from any employer. The best talent wants their work to mean something, and your job description should paint a picture of the impact their work will have within your organisation and beyond. Share how the role will further the company’s mission, how they will impact others, and emphasise the greater purpose they’ll be taking part in by working with you.

5. Implement a people-first interview process

As we’ve covered, great talent has a lot of options when it comes to where they choose to work. And if you are targeting the best candidates, they’ll likely be employed already. They don’t need to work for you. So, it’s important to make it easy for them, too. Your interviewing and hiring processes should create a simple, pain-free experience for the candidate. Be sure to assess your processes often to identify any friction areas that you can improve upon to maximise efficiency.

This means you can’t take a month or two to conduct three or more rounds of interviews. If this is your approach, your best candidates will likely remove themselves from the hiring process before it’s done.

Interviews should be approached as a mutual conversation. The candidate is evaluating whether your company is a good fit for them, just as you are assessing their fit with the role and organisation. Try a more casual approach with a friendly tone and allow the candidate to have their place in the conversation.

During the interview, make it a point to emphasise how your organisation will invest in their personal and professional development. This is a major selling point for the high performers you will be looking for. Also, consider that investing in the development of your people will usually pay off many times over through a longer tenure and deeper engagement.

As the world around us continues to evolve, remember that the needs of our people – and those we want to become our people – are evolving, too. If you want to recruit and retain the best talent, it is time to update your talent strategy in alignment with today’s best practices.

This article was originally featured in the Vistage Research Centre.

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