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Recruiting and Retaining Top Talent

by Marc Spector

Top talent is crucial to your company’s success. Without it, you’re not in business. That’s why no task on a CEO’s agenda is more important than recruiting and retaining top talent.

In today’s employment market, that takes work. A recent survey from the society for Human Resource Management found that 59 percent of HR executives list recruiting and rewarding the best employees as the biggest challenge their organization faces over the next decade.

It’s not hard to see why. Talented people have many options. Social media makes it easy for others to reach out to attractive candidates. You should assume that recruiters and even other employers are contacting your staff directly. I’m the CEO of Spector Group and I’ve even gotten phone calls! (Note to recruiters: do a little more research before picking up the phone!)

In addition, the mindset of many employees, especially those of the millennial generation, is that they’re their own brand. They may be continually looking for the best opportunity to increase their skills, get more interesting assignments, and, of course, earn more money.

In an environment where someone is probably contacting your top talent, the best response is to continuously “re-recruit” your on-board talent. I recommend what are sometimes called “stay interviews,” which are conversations with your on-board team members about their job satisfaction. Ask them about their experiences on the job, whether there are particular projects they’d like to be assigned to, and what they’re seeking for their future.

Ask directly about what they like and dislike and be sure to listen. As CEO, I find that the better I listen, the more clarity I get on what’s working in our firm and what positive changes we can make.

At Spector Group, we hold “stay conversations” quarterly. In some organizations, that frequency may not be possible, but I’d recommend striving for at least twice a year conversations.

You also want to look for ways to incentivize and energize your team. Bonuses, promotions and raises are important of course, but job satisfaction isn’t necessarily only about additional compensation. In my experience, what employees really want is to be valued, respected and feel they’re an integral part of something great. At Spector Group, we hold “Spector Blasts,” every Monday morning. At these brief meetings we announce new pitches, new presentations and introduce new hires. This keeps employees in touch and informed on what the firm is doing.

Providing training opportunities, whether on the job or sponsored by your company, is also motivating for many employees. So is taking on more responsibility. Look for ways that you can help your team members develop skills. In addition, live your corporate values and encourage employee involvement in company charitable efforts. This is particularly attractive to the millennial generation.

In terms of recruiting new talent, consider that a 24/7/365 job. My firm uses qualified recruiters, but we’ve also found that many of our best hires have come from recommendations from our team member base. Don’t overlook your on-board employees as a good referral sources.

Earlier I noted that social media is being employed to contact some of your team members. Fortunately, that’s a two-way street. Your company can and should be reaching out regularly with a positive, informative image of your company as a great place to work. Via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other sites, you can publish a variety of written and visual content that spotlights your company’s successes, culture and events. This is an inexpensive and organic way to start communications with potential candidates.

In addition, learn to use social media strategically. For example, many job hunters use the search function for social media sites such as Twitter. So, create concise, keyword-rich job descriptions to help your company stand out from other employers.

It’s probably important that your new hires “gel” well with your current team members. To ensure that, I recommend a fairly lengthy interview process. Top candidates should interview with several senior executives and also talk with others at various levels in the firm. It’s also a good idea to have candidates talk with recent hires. They can be some of your best advocates as it’s fresh in their minds why they wanted to join your company.

When I think about success in business, I always come back to the team. That’s where it all starts and that’s why it’s so important that CEOs focus on recruiting and retaining top talent.

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