Whether you’re a small business or an international conglomerate, trying to find and keep the best employees in your industry can be a challenge. Beyond offering lucrative salaries, keep in mind that the all-stars you seek are attracted to more than just money. Here are a few things to consider while looking for top talent and to make sure they stick around.
Offer More Than Just Financial Incentives
While having a livable wage is ideal, many workers aren’t as focused on financial incentives like salary or company stock options as they are benefits. Especially true among millennial workers, perks like comprehensive health insurance, remote work options, parental leave for new mothers and fathers, flexible scheduling, and paid time off are all high on their lists.
Even if the salary is smaller, having a handful of valuable benefits entices new talent and gives them reasons to stay. It’s not just about the benefits, either. It shows that you, as an employer, care about your workers’ livelihood, while addressing stressful factors like finding health insurance. That concern is worth its weight in gold in a world where companies seem only focused on the bottom line. Keep that in mind and even top workers from larger competitors will come knocking.
Encourage Employee Development and Growth
Beyond the work itself, employees value structured training and educational opportunities as well. In a recent survey comprised of over 1,400 employees, 70% reported they’d leave their current job to one that offered better development and skills training opportunities. Moreover, while 98% of employers in the survey said these opportunities were available, only 26% of employees would rate those opportunities as delivered very well.
Employees, especially if they like their employer, aren’t unwilling to go above and beyond. Whether to negotiate better pay or a different position, their drive to build skills and learn is a great opportunity for you to invest in your current pool of talent, mitigating the need to find outside help. Moreover, by using regular pulse surveys and performance reviews, you can encourage dialogue with your employees and learn how to better lead, train, and support them.
Have Clear Corporate Values
As most of our adult lives are dedicated to working, it’s no surprise that people care deeply about their jobs and what the company’s doing. Just like sports, people want to belong to a winning team that treats them and their fans (or, in this case, customers) well. In other words, the company’s mission, values, and actions — for better or worse — affect how employees are viewed as well.
In another survey by worker satisfaction site Glassdoor, 71% of employees would rather look for another job than stay if their current company’s culture degrades. To apply this rule to your own success, make sure that your company’s values are clear, community-focused, and consistently upheld. While mission statements can be leveraged for external marketing, turning your employees into your biggest fans can have major benefits, from improved job satisfaction and efficiency to word-of-mouth influence, in turn attracting new customers and workers.
Conversely, having values and not upholding them is even worse than not having a mission statement at all. Where the latter leaves people uncertain, the former proves hypocrisy that others are all too keen to distance themselves from. Everyone wants to feel like they’re valued and making a positive difference. Give them those opportunities, validate them, and consistently follow through, and you’ll be amazed at how much momentum you can build towards success, all while retaining your employees.
Trust Your People
This last point might seem obvious, but all too often, great talent is lost due to overbearing or paranoid management. For instance, considering how much you’ve invested in your employees in benefits, training, and time, you’d hate to lose them. Unfortunately, this can escalate to the point where some managers start to get possessive.
Remember that you hired your people for a reason. If they’re good workers, let them do their jobs. Avoid micromanagement or condescending performance reviews, though don’t be afraid to have constructive dialogue when they need coaching. No matter how much you invest in your employees, if you treat them well, they’ll be less likely to leave.
Think of it this way: if you cage someone, escape is all they’ll think about; leave the door open and that anxiety melts away. And even if you do everything right, some of your best, most grateful employees might find even better opportunities. That isn’t a mark against you or your company. That’s life. But their success is your success. After their exploration elsewhere, they might come back. And what if they don’t? Find someone else great to fill that position.
At the end of the day, in order to create a company that attracts and retains its top talent, you and your management team need to be better than your competitors. Care about your people and do so genuinely. Invest in their future and they’ll invest in yours with their time, skills, and high praise. Trust them and give them purpose and they’ll return the favor.