Good recruitment is not about finding you someone who has the skills to do the job you want them to do. It is about finding you someone who wants to do what they do but for you rather than someone else.
The amount of companies, clients and even agencies that talk about skills and talent like it’s going out of fashion is at pandemic levels. But how many of those same companies keep losing staff? The idea of having to use a bunch of incentives, perks and expensive benefits to attract staff in my mind is short sighted. If you need to do that why do you think someone will want to work for you? For the perks, benefits and incentives, right? How is that sustainable though? Someone else soon enough will offer better incentives and guess what you’ll be back to square one.
What companies who have successful hiring and retention strategies do to make it work
First off, let’s take away the huge household names paying top dollar. If you pay the best money and you’re the biggest industry player, then of course you will have a better chance of attracting and retaining people. This is about the every day normal companies out there competing for the same people that many other businesses are after.
They do three things. 1-They know what their company values are and will only consider people who share those same values. 2-They understand that hiring is a two way street and that if you want something you have to offer something back that the people you want to attract will want for themselves. 3-They operate a who first, then what business philosophy.
Hiring someone for what they can do skill wise prioritises skills over values. Have you ever worked in a company with a complete bunch of be**ends around who are revered by the management? That is usually the result of several years’ worth of using skill prioritisation as a hiring strategy. Some would say it’s results that count. However, I’d ask “At what cost”? If the trade off to garner strong results stems from a heavy staff turnover, you’re going to go more into the death spiral of hire to replace rather than hire to expand. Your culture will be shot. Good people will leave as they hate the environment. And to retain your top performers you’ll be forever offering more expensive perks, giving in to counter offers and bending over backwards to keep a bunch of disloyal a**eholes content.
In the nicest way how many companies out there seem to have adopted the perks, benefits and incentives tactic combined with brand marketing that talks so much nonsense it’s verging on comical?
What does your company stand for? Why does it do what it does? What is it passionate about enough to fight for? If you know what these are those are the characteristics you should hire for.
The best people enjoy what they do. And the best people want to be part of something that feels the same about what they do. It’s a place where what they stand for is echoed and built into the very fabric of things. If you want the best people you need to understand those things about yourselves and sell that to the people you want to attract. The people who are then interested are because you have the environment, purpose and beliefs that they want, need and seek. Then you look for who of those people has the minimum skills required.
Give and Take
Giving perks, incentives, benefits, salaries, overtime, commission and bonuses are not the most important things for the right people if you want to retain them long term. Someone else can always offer better perks. There is always more money being paid elsewhere. And if you hire someone who only came to you for those reasons you will struggle to retain them generally.
The best people enjoy what they do. The question you should be looking to answer is why should they do what they do for you instead of someone else? The answer lies in making it a place where people who share your companies’ values are facilitated, supported and rewarded for doing what the they do. Give them the best kit to do their jobs rather than having cake making days for example. Prioritise management to be out for their best interests rather than just their numbers for a quarterly appraisal. Reward them properly with things that they actually want rather than what generically suits. They should never feel like a number, but a valued member of the family.
Who First, Then What
If you haven’t read Good to Great click on Amazon now and buy it. I read it years back and it’s important to read. Plus, it explains this point in a lot more detail using evidence.
So many companies hire reactively rather than pro-actively. They win a contract and only then hire people to fulfil it. Or only hire staff when it suits them to do so rather than when it suits the right candidates. The problem with this is that you’ll just miss out all the time. You can afford to be fussier when you don’t have to hire but are always keeping your eye out. Always have a bit of budget set aside when the opportunity presents itself. If you hire to a deadline it might be to your convenience, but you only have a limiting window to hire if you go with this tactic. Good Recruitment shouldn’t be reliant on your convenience. Spending your budget on a glitzy office, premium lunches every week and other luxuries should be avoided if you haven’t set aside a proportion of budget for consistent recruitment when a good candidate comes along.
If when a good candidate is presented to you, you cannot afford to hire but you can afford an unnecessary office and pointless perks your hiring strategy should be looked at. Good recruitment is the priority, not a luxury lunch out for the board of directors every week.
Understand your values and hire people who meet those values first. Consider skills only after they meet your values. Never compromise. If you want the best people place your efforts on support, facilitation and rewards they actually want. Perks, benefits and incentives should come second. Finally, get your priorities straight. If you keep going for a round of golf and putting off seeing someone for interview who is right for your business, you’re making a mistake. On occasions when you cannot be available, ensure there is someone always available who has the power, knowledge, trust, ability and understanding that you yourself have, to hire when you aren’t around.
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