Hiring the right team is critical to your business productivity and profitability. But attracting top talent is highly challenging, given the tight labor market. The latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that unemployment has dropped to 3.6 percent, the lowest rate in more than 50 years.

The low unemployment rate means most job seekers are already employed by other companies, meaning they have the flexibility to be more selective than ever before when making career moves. For your team to hire qualified employees for your team, you need a strong employee value proposition.

An employee value proposition is the unique set of benefits a company offers employees in exchange for their time, skills and experience. And today's top job seekers are looking for more than simply a paycheck. Instead, they want to join companies where they are valued and can continue to grow their careers.

I've outlined several key elements your team should consider as you develop or improve your employee value proposition.

1. Defined Career Paths

Today's job seekers demand clearly defined career paths and if your employment brand strategy doesn't include career progression, top talent will likely accept roles elsewhere. Show visuals of the paths on your career site and describe career paths in job descriptions, and highlight examples of employees who have risen through the ranks.

To share employee success stories, you can ask your most successful employees to write a testimonial about how your team has helped them grow in their career goals. In the testimonials, encourage employees to highlight their paths both before they worked for your company and since they joined your team.

Another option is creating a company video featuring your best employees. In the video, not only can employees run through their success stories, but you can also include visuals of a day-in-the-life on your team.

At my company of more than 200 employees, we have several employee testimonials listed on the careers page, along with a culture video highlighting what employees enjoy most about working on our team. We also publish monthly employee spotlights on our blog, many of which specifically showcase employees who have been promoted or otherwise grown in their careers on our team. 

Career paths shouldn't only be used to attract and initially hire employees. Once you have employees on board, set actionable, measurable goals they need to reach to make it to the next level in their careers. This will ensure there's no confusion or frustration over career growth.

2. Continuous Training Opportunities

To help employees reach their career goals, you need to provide the right training resources that go beyond initial onboarding.

Training options can include shadowing fellow employees, attending lunch and learn sessions, taking skills assessments, reading relevant books and watching structured training videos, among others.

In addition to any training opportunities your team might offer, consider letting employees shape their own training. For example, an employee might have an idea for a conference or relevant online certification. If such options align with their career goals and you budget allows, give employees the opportunity for this added training.

On my team, we regularly host lunch and learns so employees can learn about what different departments are working on. We also empower employees to receive certifications that align with their career paths. For example, on our marketing team, our events strategist is in the process of working toward her Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) certification. 

3. Comprehensive Benefits

With today's job seekers being highly selective, your company benefits can answer the "What's in it for me?" and drive job seeker interest in joining your team. Your benefits can be culture-related -- such as whether you're family-oriented, dedicated to diversity, offer volunteer opportunities or other aspects of your culture. Also highlight any standard benefits you offer, including vacation time, retirement benefits, healthcare benefits, office celebrations, complimentary food or beverages, and more.

Your benefits should be outlined in your job descriptions and on your career site, where the most engaged candidates go to learn more about the opportunity joining your team presents before applying to your open roles.

On my company's career site, we share an overview of our company culture, including our core values -- so prospective employees can gauge whether they align with these values. We also list several of the unique benefits we offer employees, including unlimited PTO, regular team celebrations, discounted bike share memberships, and more. 

Unemployment has been steadily decreasing, which has created an applicant-driven economy. Now more than ever, employers need to sell job seekers on their open roles, rather than the other way around. By developing a strong employee value proposition and highlighting what your team has to offer across all employment materials, you can stand out from the competition and hire top talent.

Published on: May 22, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.