Over the past few years, it’s become increasingly difficult to compete for the cream of the talent crop. And last week, unemployment filings in the United States fell to their lowest level since 1973.

Great businesses get great people to work for them, and money is always a great way to attract them. Whether you’re a solo-preneur looking to expand, or a middle manager in a Fortune 500, the people around you make a difference. But it’s bad business to offer salaries and benefits you can’t - or shouldn’t - afford. In a market with so little labor available, how can a company compete for the best talent?

Here are tips on how to find a diamond employee in the rough:

1. Your Job Ad Probably Stinks

Career counselors frequently remind job seekers that cover letters and resumes need to catch the eye of the recruiter. But the opposite is often overlooked: your company’s job posting needs to attract attention, too! Your position description should scream company culture.

2. Look Outside the Box

Don’t just go to traditional sources when you’re looking for a new team member. Expand your hiring horizon by looking in new or unusual places for the right person. The arts, for example, are a great place to find business talent. And don’t dismiss an applicant just because they don’t fit the mold you thought you were looking for.

3. Ask Why

Why are your current employees here? Why are you here? Why might someone else want to be here? If you can’t answer this question, maybe you should be in the market for a new job, too. And just as importantly, ask why someone might not want to be here.

4. Money Ain’t Everything

Not all companies can offer industry-leading salaries. And ultimately, high pay won’t satisfy an unhappy employee. Instead, consider inexpensive ways you can incentivize team members. Be willing to change up your employment and work structures. Offer overtime or bonuses to salaried employees willing to perform particularly onerous tasks. Consider job sharing. Allow telecommuting. Reward great performance with additional vacation days.

5. Put Culture First, Last, and In Between

It’s becoming a cliché to say you’re building a culture-first organization. But seriously, you should be trying to build a culture-first organization. Make culture fit a Litmus test for hiring decisions - and firing decisions. You should advertise your culture prominently and be able to define it precisely. And your employees should be able to define it, too.

6. Train Their Brains

One of the best things a company can offer its employees is training. Consider the trajectory of a typical employee at your company, and brainstorm ways you could help them grow into future roles. Millennials in particular care a lot about personal and professional development. Even if it means they move on from your company one day, they’ll stay longer and remain happier if you offer them opportunities for development.

7. Celebrate!

Share accomplishments. Even if you led the charge, give credit to the whole team. Similarly, even if it wasn’t your fault, take part of the blame in failure. Bosses who take all the credit for the good and hang their employees out to dry for the bad are universally hated. Sharing in the credit and the blame will help build team cohesion and loyalty. And when you celebrate success with your team, really celebrate!

8. Take Responsibility

Corporate social responsibility is a great alternative employee benefit. You get a nice tax write off, and your team earns a sense of fulfillment. This is especially true if your industry is cold and dry, and holds even if your CSR programming doesn’t directly relate to your business. Millennials in particular care about these opportunities and consider them seriously when making job decisions.

Published on: Mar 30, 2018
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