Having been an entrepreneur for ten years after leaving the Navy SEAL teams, I've made many attempts to "sell" my companies to hot new talent. Some of those attempts have succeeded and some have failed. You have to get creative, but also be genuine.
Let's face it, most likely there are other companies out there just like yours. So what do you do to set your organization apart from the herd? Throwing more money at this challenge just doesn't cut it. The best talent out there will be considering several options. Yes, a higher salary helps but it's only a small piece of the puzzle, especially with today's generation entering the workforce. They want to feel connected to the company's purpose. My friend and colleague Daniel Fisher, the CEO of Physical Gold Limited, a gold investment company says, "The most effective way to motivate a team is to create an environment which allows them to know they are valued, trusted and have autonomy but also the support of the leader if needed. The leader should effectively communicate their collective team goals, to inspire and motivate each individual, on a regular basis."
Here are the top ten ways to move your company to the top of your candidate's consideration list.
New job candidates want to know who they are going to be working for and aligning themselves with. The founders. Senior executives. Managers. Anyone with authority. That means you need great leadership that exhibits integrity and upholds the values of the company on and off the battlefield. They will be doing their research, so make sure that the figureheads have their house in order, so to speak.
2. Career Growth
This isn't as easy as it seems, especially for younger companies. Building an organizational structure that allows for career-pathing takes time and strategy. Being able to show candidates where they can go and how they get there is critical. You also have to prove that you can provide the right resources for professional development. Lacking in this area will ensure high turnover.
3. The Mission and Purpose
Today's generation really needs to understand the "why" behind what the company does. They need to know the purpose behind their work and believe in the mission. They want to know their work matters and how it benefits the greater cause. Having a great mission and purpose statement is a good start but it has to be genuine. Consistency and follow-through are imperative. The mission and purpose must be evangelized from the top.
4. Creative Thinking
Regardless of the job and its related duties, new talent has to be sold on the fact that there will be creative thinking involved. This allows them to feel connected and enjoy their work. Studies show that 50% of today's workforce is not engaged at work. This means they are simply "showing up." That also means that a good portion are actually disgruntled. It's up to the leaders to provide opportunities for creativity. If you can get that right, everyone wins.
5. Giving Back
Philanthropy and community outreach is a great way to show that your organization believes in causes bigger than itself. That it cares about things more important than revenue and profit. Oh, and it's the right thing to do. I was the keynote speaker for JE Dunn Construction this week. They support over 150 charities each year and give 10% of their pre-tax profits to causes they support! Getting employees involved in charitable causes is great for teambuilding as well.
6. Problem Solving
Similar to create thinking, the autonomy to solve problems for the company and its customers is a big attraction to new talent. This aids in their feeling of connection and increases collaboration within the team.
In my most recent company we started an "Innovation Lab" that is open to anyone who wants to join. It has been wildly popular and a huge selling point to new employees. The members ideate various projects that will improve the company, our community, benefit customers or simply show our thought leadership to the industry. The time involvement must be done during work hours. That piece is important.
8. Professional Development
As mentioned above on the subject of career growth, great companies find the time and resources to make this happen. Not investing in this area will deter potential new hires and send your existing talent base to your competitors. Carve out the time and budget for professional development. It will pay massive dividends in the end.
9. Recognition and Reward
Rewards and recognition must be both intrinsic and extrinsic. Extrinsic motivation involves public recognition and external rewards such as bonuses and praise. Intrinsic motivation is even more important. This allows employees to feel connected, like they are "in" on things, that they have autonomy and freedom and opportunity for personal growth.
10. Teamwork and Teambuilding
Who doesn't want to be part of a high-performance team? Nobody! Opportunities for teamwork and teambuilding don't just come in the form of offsite activities. Rope courses aren't your path to building a great team. Teambuilding should be ingrained in the culture. In everything you do. That means that a team-oriented culture has to be decisively created and nurtured. It can come down to the smallest things like where people sit, what types of meetings you have and how you interact with your customers and partners.
Constantly finding new ways to motivate the team is imperative. Everyone is driven by different things. In a recent discussion I had with Brandon Lewis, President of Lewis Revenue Group, he said "All people are different and people are motivated by different things. The first step to effectively motivating your team is to gain a deep understanding about each person on your team. Find out what makes them tick - what makes them feel good about their work. Leverage your findings to create a strategy to keep each individual member of your team motivated to do great work."
Top talent is hard to attract and even harder to keep. But also make sure you are bringing in people that have a shared sense of purpose and believe in your mission, purpose and values. Just because your competitors are drooling over them doesn't mean they are a good fit for your company.