How to attract, engage and retain your top talent

As we come to the close of 2016, the last ten months has seen many businesses across New Zealand face a variety of sometimes overwhelming, but always unique, challenges.

Through this, the ability to engage and retain valuable employees remains a critical risk for all, not only for the financial impact, but also as it adversely affects employee morale.

Renewed hiring confidence in our market place has resulted in a shallow pool of trained staff, particularly in areas such as construction. This has meant that the balance of power is now in favour of the candidate. As a result of this shift, it is clear that stronger emphasis needs to be put on attraction and retention efforts in order to hire (and keep) top employees.

The first step, before even going out to market, is understanding what candidates are looking for. Opportunity for growth and development remains one of the top influencers in an employee’s decision to look elsewhere, or in accepting a new position. Despite this, many employers rank career growth low when thinking about what candidates are looking for (instead ranking salary and benefits much higher), thus creating a disconnect between potential employees and employers.

Another critical factor for employers to get right is the need for speed and communication throughout the hiring process. A standard (permanent) recruitment process typically takes five weeks, and throughout this time there are limited updates to individuals. Failing to keep a candidate in the loop, and long lead times until an offer, can result in frustration and all too often an employer will make an offer only to find the candidate has accepted another role.

Attracting top talent is only one piece of the puzzle however. If a new starter feels undervalued once they are an official employee it is likely in today’s market they will take their talent elsewhere. In order to keep prized employees, employers need to start their retention planning as soon as new hires start.

Retention strategies can range from the traditional offering of coaching and mentorship programmes, through to providing rotational schemes that give employees exposure to different areas of the business. Further to this, support (financial or other) for additional training, and fostering opportunities for colleagues to collaborate on key projects will have a positive impact on engagement and ultimately long-term retention.

Remember, actions to retain staff don’t have to be time consuming or expensive; here are some simple guidelines:

  1. Create a vision – vision feeds financials and not the other way around
  2. Provide a sense of purpose – create a simple, actionable, and meaningful connection to the company
  3. Genuinely listen – the most inexpensive solution to increase people engagement
  4. Foster effective motivation – encourage intrinsic motivators over the traditional ‘carrot and stick’ approach.

Give us a call if you’d like to explore these ideas further.

Published summer 2016

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