6 Ways to Attract and Retain the Best Employees

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The past two years have seen some of the toughest times to attract A-Players for many of the companies I consult with. With a labor market continuously competitive, businesses, especially small businesses, must innovate to stand out as the employer of choice.

A few years ago, I sat down with my leadership team and mapped out every area we needed to improve to build a sustainable, people-centric business. These six areas were the foundational areas for our growth story.

Before we begin, I highly recommend you put yourself in the job seeker’s seat. Go ahead and search for a role you plan to be hiring for. Where do you start? What do you type? What looks worthy of your time to engage with? Note this process. The tips below can only help if you know where to get in front of the candidates. The steps you just went through will often be where your ideal candidates spend their time as well.

1. Enhancing company culture

A compelling company culture is one of the most significant draws for potential candidates. But what does this mean in practice?

  • Creating a Positive Work Environment: Cultivate an atmosphere where respect, teamwork, and open communication are the norm. This positive environment is often reflected in higher productivity and job satisfaction.
  • Offering Unique Employee Perks and Benefits: Besides the usual health insurance and retirement plans, think about what unique benefits could set your company apart — maybe it’s unlimited vacation days, pet-friendly offices, or wellness programs.
  • Encouraging Work-Life Balance: Show that you value your employees’ time inside and outside of work. This can be done through policies that prevent burnout and promote well-being, contributing to employee loyalty and satisfaction.

2. Building an employer brand

An employer brand is like a beacon that attracts applicants aligned with your company’s mission and culture. The right employer brand fosters a stronger sales and partner ecosystem as well.

  • Defining and Showcasing Company Values: Clearly articulate what your company stands for. This transparency helps potential employees see themselves as part of your team.
  • Highlighting Employee Success Stories: Sharing genuine stories from within your company can provide a more personal touch that resonates with prospective employees.
  • Leveraging Social Media and Online Presence: Utilize platforms where your target candidates spend time. Maintaining an active, engaging online presence can showcase your company as an excellent workplace.

Related: Why Aligning Your Company Values is Crucial for Long-Term Success

3. Offering professional development opportunities

Professional growth is often at the top of candidates’ wish lists. Here’s how you can meet that desire:

  • Providing Training and Mentorship Programs: These programs demonstrate that you invest in your employees’ success, which can be a critical deciding factor for job seekers.
  • Supporting Continued Education: Consider offering tuition assistance or flexible schedules for employees pursuing further education, showing candidates that you’re committed to their long-term growth.
  • Offering Growth Opportunities Within the Company: Develop clear pathways for advancement, making it known that employees can build a career, not just hold a job, at your company.
  • Showcase Growth: Publicly praise the professional development happening internally. Others notice.

4. Implementing flexible work arrangements

Flexibility is key in the modern workplace:

  • Remote Work Options: The option to work from home — or from anywhere — can be a massive draw for talent, especially considering the paradigm shift towards telecommuting. Don’t forget to consider the employee’s location of remote work. There are labor laws and regulations local to the employee you must abide by.
  • Flexible Scheduling: Allow employees to work hours that suit their lifestyle. This level of autonomy can be highly attractive.
  • Job Sharing or Part-Time Positions: Offer various types of job models to accommodate different needs and attract a broader range of applicants.

Related: 6 Ways Multi-Generational Workforces Lead to Business Growth

5. Creating a growth-focused workplace

By instilling a growth mindset throughout your organization, employees feel inspired to continuously improve. Take the time to define and celebrate growth.

  • Ensuring Growth Opportunities for All Employees: Personal development should be available to everyone, not only those in leadership positions.
  • Celebrating and Embracing Personal Development: Regularly recognize achievements and milestones, which bolsters morale and encourages others to aim higher.

Related: 6 Ways to Keep Your Employees Learning At Work

6. Culture marketing

Effectively marketing your company culture can turn current employees into brand ambassadors.

  • Publicly Sharing Employee Success Stories: When you showcase your team’s accomplishments, you foster pride in your workforce and show potential candidates what they can aspire to within your organization.
  • Empower Internal Thought Leaders: Asking your team to coach and lift each other creates a special bond. Find opportunities for teammates to publish, share and take credit for a unique system, process, insights, and accomplishments.
  • Social Storytellers: Designate a handful of employees to help share your company culture via social media. Make it raw. Embrace the bad and show off the good.

Attracting great people to your organization is not an overnight success story. It takes thoughtful, intentional design and dedicated time.

Companies that take an innovative and intentional approach to fostering a culture that deeply appeals to current and potential employees can set themselves apart in the competitive landscape. By adopting these strategies, you not only lure superior talent but also lay the groundwork for a robust, vibrant, and enduring workforce. Remember, it’s not just about hiring talent — it’s about nurturing a community that wants to build the future with you.

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