The way we attract and retain highly talented people has been one of the major priorities for Human Resources for a number of years. As the competition for the best talent grows; businesses must reduce the disconnect between their talent requirements and the strategies and processes which underpin them. 

Attracting Highly Talented People

It will come as no surprise to you that research shows the power has shifted from the employer to the candidate. This means attracting the best talent is not just about profiling the role and your organizational fit, it's much more about finding out what likely candidates will want from you as an employer. Your new talent strategy should include:

1. A flexible forecast demonstrated in this HBR article  which cleverly describes how a "supply chain" mentality around your strategy for managing talent can help you focus on accurate timing and speed to cut out unnecessary surplus talent hires and also to be able to react quickly to get the talent you need.

2. Researching the market, finding out where your potential candidates are looking for their next role. Not only engaging with people actively looking, but finding out where highly talented people who may not be in the job market at the moment hang out.

3. Knowing your competition and what they are offering. Where necessary extending the value proposition, your competitors are offering in both financial and non-financial reward. 

4. Being transparent  with an unbridled commitment to transparency which means being upfront externally as well as internally about what you have to offer.  

5. Getting feedback on your attraction strategy to find out what works and what doesn't. Assessing your most successful recruitment strategies and matching the cost against actual performance at stages in the employment lifecycle to measure ROI.

6. A well thought out  employee value proposition is essential. Flexibility, working across geographical boundaries and allowing an enhanced work/life balance are usually on the list of highly talented people and so your infrastructure should be sufficiently robust to be able to satisfy those expectations.

7. Create a potentials network using social media and technology as well as physical networking events to create a potentials network. Engaging top talent at the earliest opportunity is essential.  

8. A simple application process. It's no good having a 10-page role profile or a recruitment process which does not allow highly talented candidates to apply from the comfort of their own preferred device. The application process must be slick, accessible, speedy and easy to complete on all devices, especially mobile.

Retaining Your Highly Talented People

Alan Price of Peninsula believes with the improvement in the economy and a skills shortage, retention of talent will be one of the most pressing issues for HR over the next 5 years. It's imperative for businesses of all sizes to make sure they minimize the risk of highly talented people leaving for pastures new. You need to develop a number of joined up strategies to get the best results.

1. Employee engagement, harnessing new ways to give and receive employee feedback.

2. A mission and vision which gives an employee meaning and purpose. It has never been more important to make an employee feel like they belong, they contribute and are valued. This must be coupled with some of the usual suspects like a healthy work/life balance, autonomy to deliver, and defined ownership, i.e. equity shares or a psychological partnership approach. 

3. Building a loyalty inducing culture which supports, develops and appropriately challenges your highly talented people, allowing them to innovate and grow. 

4. Creating an internal fast route.  An ability to spot and act on emerging talent quickly and efficiently at a pace which matches the aspirations of high flyers. 

5. Creating mutually beneficial contracts, after all, if you are prepared to invest in your highly talented people, they should be delivering great products and outcomes for your business. 

Even with the most well informed and thought out attraction and retention strategies, the time will come when your best performing talent will leave. Your job in these circumstances is knowing you've done your best, and letting them go with your blessing. 

Published on: Dec 23, 2015
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