A battle is raging on. It’s the scramble for great talent. Businesses are in an all-out race to attract and retain the best talent, and with good reason, research indicates that superior employees and freelancers do more work and are up to 8 times more productive.
If we use the 80/20 principle, it’s evident that a few workers will end up producing the most results. Having a few of those people on your team beats having a horde of B-list workers who produce minimally.
In his book, Good to Great, Jim Collins posits that having the right people on the team was one of the critical reasons that successful businesses transitioned to greatness. Great talent comes up with innovative ideas that drive a company forward and positions it to thrive and maintain an edge over the competition.
Despite the need for superior talent though, companies still have trouble acquiring it. Almost a third of senior leaders indicate that finding great talent is one of their greatest managerial challenges.
When the top brass is feeling the heat, you can rest assured that digital entrepreneurs also have the same problem. It thus begs the question, how do you attract and retain the best freelancers to your team? Today we’ll explore some of the leading strategies used by top firms to recruit and retain first-rate staffers.
Top Strategies to Attract and Retain Top Talent
Focus your efforts on the top 5%
Don’t rush to fill every role because you feel a need. That’s a recipe that creates bloat on your team and leads to costly hiring mistakes.
Instead, hold off and think carefully about why you need to feel a role. What results do you want to achieve in the company or project? What tasks does the part fill? Can those tasks be divided amongst existing members of your team? Are there people internally capable and willing to step up into the role?
You want a perfect fit for your needs with each teammate. Don’t compromise on a hire. Sometimes it’s better to go without filling a role that filling it with the wrong person.
Be specific about what you tasks involved in the role and the ideal person to take on the job before you start your search. A few critical areas of your business have the most significant impact on the rest of the company. You want the best people in those positions. Take your time and evaluate each potential candidate.
Make an irresistible offer
Why should an exceptional professional spoiled for choice join your team? What’s in it for them?
Four things mainly attract superior talent:
- Great leaders – These are leaders who inspire, support and empower. They are leaders with vision who are focused on business and individual team members development. They make you feel you’re part of a close-knit team and not just another cog in the wheel.
- Great companies – These are companies with a track record of doing bold things. Just think of the people lining up to work for Google for example. These companies have an excellent reputation and work hard to maintain it. While your business might be in its nascent stages, then it’s your reputation as the leader on the line.
- Great job – Top-notch talent wants a challenge. These individuals aren’t joining your team to pass the time, these individuals want to accomplish something and have an impact. They want to grow as professionals and individuals. A great job features both growth and advancement. Think about career progression when looking to attract outstanding talent.
- Excellent rewards – Rewards include pay packages, non-financial perks, benefits etc. Ownership or equity can also sweeten your offer.
Recognize superb performance and give regular feedback
You’ll be amazed what a simple “Good work” comment can do in motivating your team. People want recognition. They want to know that the work they do matters. They also sometimes need to know they are on the right track.
If you haven’t done so already, grab a copy of How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. It’s a treasure trove of advice on people relations.
Recognition can also be monetary, especially when a team member goes above and beyond expectations. You’ll have to tailor recognition and recognition to each person. People react differently to different recognition tactics.
Regular and constructive feedback is vital in retaining great talent. You don’t have to wait until the end of the project. Continual feedback works bests and helps the team member adapt and change their tactics in getting the job done. If something is going right, say it. If it isn’t, offer helpful pointers and ask questions that can help the teammate discover and improve on their mistakes.
Don’t delay an offer
When you find good talent, don’t keep them waiting too long. They might take it as a sign of the bureaucratic nature of your business and operations. They might also get a better offer.
If you’re having trouble making a decision, use the “airport test.” Based on what you know about the potential candidate, is it someone you’d be comfortable inviting to dinner? If the answer is no, then there’s probably no fit.
You can also use people analytics software to gauge a fit. Studies have demonstrated that algorithms could be better at evaluating potential candidates by removing biases inherent in human decision making.
Ultimately your decision should be based on both your assessment and backed by robust data.
So, to quickly recap:
- Focus on the top 5% of your talent needs
- Make your offer magnetic and deliver
- Recognize exceptional results and offer continual feedback
- Be agile with your offer
You ought to do everything possible to attract and retain the best talent for your team. If you don’t, someone else will. Other firms might even poach your best team members and with them your best strategies, operational strategies etc. The constant turnover of team members is terrible for morale and continued business sustainability. Hire right, and you’ll see your business succeed, thrive and outpace competitors.
What other strategies would you recommend digital entrepreneurs use in attracting and retain exceptional talent? Please leave a comment below and join the conversation on our Facebook page.