I’m of the belief that good people are a key ingredient to making great organisations.  The opposite is also true as ineffective, disengaged and unproductive people can destroy an organisation.  I’ve recently read about a company that is on the brink of bankruptcy because its people had become disenfranchised and disillusioned with the management and leadership, resulting in a spike in staff turnover (namely their most skilled technical staff), a drastic drop in morale and the loss of several key supply contracts.

Organisations have a vested interest in not only attracting great talent to join them, but also to continually engage their employees and sustain a strong culture where people want to work and can be at their best.  Competing in a global economy is hard enough when the organisation has its act together (ie clear goals, a great strategy, strong leadership supported by talented teams and a great product or service), let alone when it has “people problems”.  A big part of the equation is attracting the right people in the first place.

Attracting great talent

Attracting great talent is easier said than done.  The benefits of a great hire are tremendous, whilst the cost of a bad hire can be enormous, so putting serious thought into your candidate attraction strategy is time well spent.  Some questions to consider are:

What do you really need? 

Pulling out a position description that was last updated three years ago and using that as the basis for your recruitment decision today is not the way to go.  The business environment is changing at a rapid rate and the technical skills and behavioural competencies that were relevant and required in the past may be very different for what you need now and into the future.  Taking time to determine what these should be to drive your business forward will give you the foundation for the job description.Social engineering concept

For our company, the profile of the Consultants we look to hire now versus that of three years ago is quite different.  The recruitment landscape is changing and in my division, we are much more interested in people who have superior relationship building skills, an agile mind and a passion for learning, rather than great ad writers who can do Boolean searches and match resumes to job requisitions.

PWC’s 2014, Adapt to survive study across 11 countries found that 63% of CEO’s worry about the availability of key skills.  It states, “the capacity of a market to match supply and demand efficiently depends on the ability and willingness of employers and employees to adapt to changing circumstances and align skills with available opportunities”.

Where is the talent located?

Not every job needs to be done at your usual place of work.  Working from home and remote staffing is becoming more and more common and if you are open to flexible alternatives, you will be able to source from a much larger candidate pool to find what you are looking for.

Even if you require the person to work in your office/site, it is worth considering where the candidates that you want to attract are currently working and in what locations.  Then you can devise an attraction strategy to suit.

I read with interest an article describing what Australian software company Atlassian did to source IT developers.  According to Andrew Greenberg from The Recruiting Division, Atlassian “won recruitment awards for their “Europe, We’re Coming to Steal Your Geeks” campaign by using a bus and an all-expenses-paid relocation package instead of a backpack to tour Europe. Their goal – hire 15 developers in 15 days to relocate to Australia. The results – their choice of more than a thousand qualified applicants”.

How attractive are you?

Prospective employees will assess you and your organisation as much as you will assess them and their suitability.  So your level of attraction is based on a number of factors including your organisations reputation, your products and services, your financial performance/stability, the strength of your leadership team and what your existing employees say about you.  U.S. talent acquisition expert, Dr John Sullivan says, “employment branding has been characterized by some as the science of establishing a velvet rope behind which talent will line up clamouring for an opportunity to be let inside, much like patrons at a hot night club”.  If your staff where asked to describe your organisation what would they say?  Would they recommend your company as a great place to work?

Are you up for it? 

Recruiting great talent requires effort.  Many of the people you should be targeting are high performers working in other jobs right now and are being well rewarded for their efforts.  Identifying who they are, engaging in conversation with them and attracting them to your business will take time and a skilfully executed strategy.

Do you need help?

If, like many busy managers, you are either struggling to justify the time to recruit or your skills lie in other areas, you may need help.  This is when you should outsource it to a recruitment provider.

Alternatively you may just need help in developing a robust recruitment process or need to hear some ideas on different sourcing options, or maybe your hiring managers need some training on interview techniques… all these areas can be outsourced.

What is plan B?

Consider the cost of a bad hire.  A weak sourcing strategy combined with a rushed recruitment process can very easily lead to a bad hire.  This may result in expensive training to fill skills gaps, frustrated colleagues who can’t understand why this person was hired, disappointed or angry customers who don’t receive the service they are accustomed to and you will be caught up in time consuming and stressful performance management processes.

Plan B, may require you to buy yourself some time to recruit effectively.  A temporary employee or contractor may be able to fill the void for an interim period until you find and hire the ideal talent you need.

The People Factor

If, like me, you agree that the people factor of most organisations is the differentiator between poor, average and great performance, then putting time, thought, financial resources and effort into attracting talent is well worth it.

Ben Walsh – General Manager, Recruitment

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