Most of us are deep into recruiting these days, so Gallup's question caught my eye and held it. "Many star employees are probably ready to leave their companies. Is your business prepared to attract them?"
Grab a beer with colleagues and you'll hear people admitting to using chewing gum to hold their salary structure and administrative practices together as they do their best to follow the market. We still have a hangover from the recession, which makes internal equity a sore point as we negotiate for new talent. Plus, we've been sending an awful lot of mixed signals through reward practices in the last few years, so don't think I'm making light of our challenges.
It's especially easy for us to get bogged down in the weeds right now, and it's exactly the wrong time for it if we're going to shine at recruiting new talent. Gallup got me thinking of another way to look at recruiting work that can make us more effective members of the recruiting team -- and more satisfied with our work -- if we take time to understand today's recruiting context.
Not only is the famous battle for talent waging outside your company's ramparts, but a large chunk of the people you want to recruit think career opportunities and inspiring business goals are higher priorities than compensation when choosing a new employer. Don't get me wrong, total compensation is still a go/no go for the job seeker, but:
" . . . today's job seekers -- particularly job-hopping millennials -- want things that aren't conveyed in typical job postings. They seek companies that feed their desire for meaning and purpose -- and run-of-the-mill job ads and career websites rarely differentiate companies or showcase purpose-centric cultures."
It doesn't take much contemplation to realize that any job seeker is both rationally and emotionally motivated. Always has been, always will be. But we need to notice that the balance between these two impulses is changing, with the skew shifting toward the emotional. Everyone on the recruiting team who is serious about attracting real star employees to your company will benefit from the recommendations offered by Gallup, including those of us in compensation. Take a look.
First impressions are critical -- Potential employees are using your company's website and social media to kick the tires. Do yours help employees picture themselves working in your company, seeing how they can fulfill their need for meaning and purpose there? If there are employee testimonials, how many are talking about how they and coworkers perceive the value of their work or about the ways they receive recognition?
As potential employees go through internal interviews, they pick the dealership where they'll purchase their next car, so to speak. How are you coming off in those interview meetings -- sales-y or like a potential team member? Compensation conversations can easily begin with an upbeat discussion of the culture of the company and its commitment to customers and innovation. Then segue to how this is demonstrated in total compensation offerings. With certain job levels, the link between incentives and the company's mission would be quite valuable, too. After all, that's the context of your pay-for-performance philosophy, isn't it? And, Gallup tells us, this is exactly what your potential stars are waiting to hear.
Make your pitch on a human level -- Don't talk job description, describe how a really good day in their job will feel when you meet to discuss the offer. Will it be like teaming up with others who share the job recruit's preferred cause? Can everyone in your company link their team's mission to the company's reputation? How about offering genuine positives about the travel that's involved in the new job -- meeting new people; projects that are shared among talented people; different company locations with good, better, best facilities. Admit the travel inconveniences, too, and mention benefits/perks that can help the new employee out when they are on the road.
Know what makes your company unique -- This is essential. But for those of us who are not job seekers, these insights can be nearly inaccessible. So make a point of finding out, perhaps with professional recruiters' help, the aspects that will help your company stand out. You need to walk into every recruiting situation knowing how job seekers will be sizing up both your company's offer and your company's "employee brand" before they bring up the comparisons with your competitors.
By the way, if you think the recruiting scene is going to be cooling down some time soon, think again.
'Fifty-four percent of Americans say now is a "good time" to find a quality job. This marks the first time a majority has said this since Gallup began tracking the question in 2001. What's more, 51% of U.S. workers overall -- and 60% of millennials -- are considering new employment opportunities.'
Margaret O'Hanlon, CCP brings deep expertise to discussions on employee pay, performance management, career development and communications at the Café. Her firm, re:Think Consulting, provides market pay information and designs base salary structures, incentive plans, career paths and their implementation plans. Earlier, she was a Principal at Willis Towers Watson. Margaret is a Board member of the Bay Area Compensation Association (BACA). She coauthored the popular eBook, Everything You Do (in Compensation) Is Communications, a toolkit that all practitioners can find at https://gumroad.com/l/everythingiscommunication.