4 Lessons in Attracting Talent

The recent NBA free-agency media frenzy may have prompted some HR and recruiting professionals to think about how we as employers are attracting top talent, especially in Northeast Ohio. Have we well-positioned ourselves to attract the best and brightest talent to further our organizational goals and build a winning organization?  

Consider what may be a familiar scenario for some employers: you’ve actively recruited a great job candidate and they are interviewing at multiple organizations. You offer them the job, but they have two other offers on the table. They select an organization other than yours. Why does the candidate select that employer instead of your organization? Let’s explore the factors that could (and often do) come into play.

The winning team. Top performers want to work for a winning team. Organizational success, growth, reputation, and innovation are all important to top performers. They want to work for winning, growing, and stable organizations and contribute to that success. Plus, they want to work among other winners – the best and brightest talent.  We find that top performers are frequently discouraged and frustrated by mediocre and poor performers. They want to “play” with the best of the best. When you commit to building an organization of only top performers, you tend to attract more of them.

The challenge. Challenge is typically the most important attribute sought after by top performers. They are looking for challenging and meaningful roles more than anything else. Top performers are motivated by and thrive in challenging environments.  If your organization doesn’t challenge its employees or allow them to produce meaningful contributions, you may want to rethink how you design jobs.

The package. Each year top performers rank compensation, career advancement, and work/life benefits as the top rewards they seek in an employer. In essence, top performers tell us that competitive compensation is crucial. That doesn’t necessarily mean that your organization should pay the most for every position, but it does mean that paying according to the market is important. In addition, the ability to advance one’s career and balance work/life and family priorities are also significantly important to top performers. Bottom line: family, career growth, and money matter most to top talent.

At the end of the day, people will make decisions based on what is best for their families and careers. If these issues aren’t being addressed in your organization’s recruitment process or if your organization isn’t building a workplace that caters to these interests, it’s time to start because the competition may win you over.

And last but not least, the region.

Though commonly overlooked in recruitment, promoting and highlighting the many positive aspects of Northeast Ohio is a key part of attracting top talent.  Here are some suggestions for how to promote the region:

  • Encourage job candidates to visit websites like www.neoisgreat.com or www.clevelandplus.com. These websites, among others, contain excellent information on all of the “perks” of living in Northeast Ohio.
  • Encourage job candidates to experience something positive in Northeast Ohio such as events, dining, the arts, and other entertaining/fun things to do. Some employers will even take their job candidate out to experience one of these things.
  • Provide job candidates with brochures, magazines, or other promotional materials highlighting the region. We’ve seen some employers provide entire packets or folders of information to job candidates highlighting the city or region in which they are located.
  • Reference the great cost of living, successful businesses and industries, schools and unique neighborhoods and cities in Northeast Ohio. This is essential information, especially for out-of-towners, who are considering moving to our region.

If you’re still stumped on how to attract the best, consider talking to your top people about what specifically attracted them to your organization and what retains them.  Sometimes employers will even use their top performers’ testimonials as leverage and promotional material throughout the recruitment process – in videos, on brochures, and during interviews.

Additional Resources

  • NorthCoast 99 – For reports, articles, and information highlighting ways to attract, retain, and engage top talent, visit www.northcoast99.com.
  • Surveys – To ensure that your organization is compensating employees competitively for the jobs they perform, consider using ERC’s compensation surveys to benchmark pay rates
  • Training – Jump-start your top talent for future roles in the organization by sending them to ERC’s Emerging Leaders Series or the many other training programs we offer
  • HR Consulting – For assistance with a variety of HR projects to help you attract and retain top talent, please contact consulting@ercnet.org
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