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How to Attract High Performers

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In the current candidate short market, many organisations are settling for the best they can find of those that apply for the role – often the person that meets the greatest portion of the criteria. But could you be missing out on the market’s strongest performers?

When it comes to attracting top talent to your vacancy, it’s important to consider why a high performer would want to work at your organisation. Are you doing everything possible to make your role and company appealing to these sought-after people?

6 Things that Attract Top Talent

If you can tick off all of the above, then you are well set up to attract high performers. If not, don’t despair! Here’s how you can improve your employee value proposition and ensure you are positioned as an employer of choice for great talent.

Making a Role More Attractive to Top Candidates

Market Rate Salary

The salary you are offering may have been attractive a couple of years ago, but have you kept up with the changes in the marketplace? The reality is that if you are not offering a competitive market salary, no matter what other benefits you supply, it is unlikely that you are going to attract high performers in our current market. The only exception is NFP organisations that exude the feel-good factor, but even then, your choices are going to be limited if you are significantly below the market rate salaries. 

I recommend having a chat with a recruitment consultant who specialises in your area; they are placing a number of candidates in similar roles and know what the current market is demanding. Here at Beyond Recruitment, we have put together a comprehensive salary guide that we review and update annually – it’s as good a place as any to start with comparisons!

Attractive Work Environment

An attractive work environment can mean different things to different people, but there are several factors to keep in mind when ensuring your business is appealing to top candidates. Some of the key things to think about include:

  • Are you positioned close to shops and places of interest that staff can go and visit at lunchtime?
  • Are you handy to public transport or do you offer free car parks?
  • Do you offer stand-up desks and H&S friendly workstations?
  • Is your work environment something people enjoy being in?

Growth and Training Opportunities

High performers want to grow. Even if they join your organisation, they won’t stay long unless you offer them the opportunity to move forward with their career. To demonstrate to candidates that you care about their professional development, it’s a good idea to:

  • Highlight leadership or growth opportunities when you advertise and when you interview.
  • Find out what is important to the candidate and be honest about whether it is something you can offer.
  • Provide training and support to help people grow into leadership, where appropriate.

Flexibility in the Workplace

Post-COVID-19, nearly every prospective candidate asks about flexibility when weighing up a job opportunity, so providing flexible working arrangements such as working from home (WFH) is essential. It's also important to be aware of what your opposition is offering in terms of flexibility to ensure you are being competitive.

Consider the following:

  • If your opposition is offering 2-3 days WFH per week and you’re only offering one, could that be a deal-breaker for the candidate?
  • Flexibility doesn’t just mean WFH. The ability to drop the kids off at school or pick them up may be important.
  • Are you open to people popping off to the gym for an hour during the day?
  • What is important to the candidate sitting in front of you? Bring up the flexibility question during the interview (e.g. “What does flexibility look like to you and how can we support you in your work/life balance?”).

A Great Culture

Look around your organisation and ask yourself:

  • Do the people who currently work there, like working there? If they do, why is that?
  • Do you offer the opportunity for your staff to bond? (e.g. work drinks on a certain day, team events or outings, encouragement to collaborate and work together)
  • Do you have written values, and do you truly live to those values?

It’s important to be honest about your culture. If you are working to change and improve the culture, share that with potential candidates. If you have a bad name out there culture-wise, prospective candidates will have heard about it, so own it and honestly assess the journey you need to take. People make the culture, so if you are trying to employ the right people to improve your company culture, be honest about that too.

Diversity and Inclusion

Whatever you do, don’t make diversity and inclusion a box-ticking exercise. It has been proven that diversity will strengthen an organisation’s culture and performance, but diversity doesn’t work without inclusion. Be authentic in how you undertake this. Be honest, too, with candidates as to where you are on this journey. If you bluff it and don’t offer inclusion when they arrive, they won’t stay. (You can learn more about diversity and inclusion in our webinar with Dr Harold Hillman, as well as in my recent blog.)

I recently attended a seminar run by HRNZ on Diversity & Inclusion. One of the speakers was the GM People & Culture for PwC in New Zealand. PwC has recently introduced a parental package that is incredibly attractive. They offer their staff (whether male or female) 18 weeks of paid parental leave to be taken in the first two years of a baby’s life. This also includes foster parents and LGBTQIA parents.

In addition to this, when a parent returns to work, they give them an additional $100/week for the first six months. This can be spent on anything they like to assist with the move back into full-time work. Some choose to spend it on daycare, a cleaner or a meal kit delivery service such as My Food Bag – whatever they need. This package demonstrates that PwC genuinely wants to support its staff, and is an excellent example to inspire organisations about ways to improve their diversity and inclusion initiatives.

Where Do I Find High Performers?

So, if advertising doesn’t attract high performers, how do you find them? You can rely on your own networks, but the truth is that you will be bound by those you know, and this will have its limitations. This is where a highly experienced specialist recruitment consultant comes in. Here at Beyond Recruitment, we work within a variety of key specialisations and have grown significant talent pools over the years. We know who the high performers are and have developed strong long-term relationships with some of the best candidates on the market.

What we need from you is a great “selling proposition”. How are we going to sell your role to a passive high performer who is not currently seeking a role? Where Do I Find High Performers?Once we understand what you have to offer, we can then approach candidates with a full understanding of why they would choose you. If there have been culture issues in the past, we can talk through the changes underway and allay any fears. We will then present you with an excited high performer who is keen to talk to you about the role.

Initial coffee meetings with high performers are a great way to engage with them prior to the formal interview. That way, if the interview process takes a while, they feel fully invested in the process and are more likely to stick with it. It also gives you the chance to impress a high performer who may not have been fully convinced prior to the meeting. Never underestimate the power of you as the manager for attracting people!

Ensuring They Stay

Once you have your high performer, how can you ensure that they stay with you for a reasonable length of time? Here are my top onboarding tips:

  • Have the conversations around leadership and growth opportunities with your new employee from day one, and then include these in your ongoing catch-ups.
  • Ensure they have a full understanding of the systems and processes and feel fully supported.
  • Provide them with an onboarding buddy who will be their go-to person.
  • Make them feel welcome – encourage everyone to introduce themselves fully and make time for the new person to have coffee catch-ups and fully bond with the rest of the staff.

Once the new hire is fully onboarded, ensure that you live up to your promises. Have regular one-on-ones and provide the promised training and support. Talk to them about their changing requirements and encourage them to contribute to the growth and wellbeing of the organisation. Listen to them and embrace their good ideas. And when they have made a valuable contribution in any way, publicly acknowledge this across the organisation.

What’s Next?

Now that you have all the tools you need to attract high performers, this is your opportunity to gain someone who will enhance your work culture. If you’d like to catch up with a recruitment consultant who specialises in your area of need, please feel free to reach out to us.

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