Building a strong team has always been a crucial but challenging part of succeeding in business. With the dynamics between employer and employee shifting over the last couple of years, it’s getting harder than ever.
So how do employers deal with this challenge in 2022?
First of all, we need to deal with reality as it is, rather than remain stuck in our old perceptions of how things should be. The phenomenon that’s being called the Great Resignation has changed the game.
Employers can no longer sit back, let the workers come to them, and hope to just remain competitive in financial compensation. Everybody is desperate for help these days, so it’s time to start treating talent like the valuable resource it is.
Let’s start putting the effort into attracting talent that we put into attracting customers. To this end, we can apply much of the wisdom we’ve learned from marketing and selling our products/services. In other words, recruitment is just another form of sale.
If you’ve never had a well-defined recruitment strategy, you’ve got some catch up to do. If you do already invest into a well-defined strategy, there’s probably room to refine it.
Think outside-the-box about compensation
The first and most obvious place to start is with your compensation. But what if you simply can’t offer a more competitive wage/salary?
First off, you probably can. It may seem like it will cut into your profit margin, but companies need to see the big picture. This may simply reflect the cost of doing business nowadays. You might need to raise your prices (the cost of everything is higher these days, so you’re limiting yourself if you rule out this option completely).
Ultimately, this means thinking outside of the wage/salary paradigm. Maybe you can offer more incentive based compensation, such as commission, stock in the company, or piece work. You might get some ideas from this article about structuring compensation.
Challenge yourself to be creative when it comes to compensation.
Think beyond compensation
Next, think about what you have offer besides compensation. Just like with any other sale, it helps to think about it in terms of value, rather than “price”. Here are a few other things you can focus on to better your offer:
- Opportunities for advancement
- Growth and development
- Remote work options
As you well know, talented workers are sometimes willing to take less money in the short-run if it empowers them to meet long-term goals.
You might not be able to offer them as much in compensation as you wish you could, but valuable training and advancement opportunities are as good as a promise of more money in the long run.
And that ties into your company culture. Are you investing in your talent in every way that you can? Or just thinking about it in terms of dollars?
Does your company culture reflect that you see the value in investing in the growth and satisfaction of competent workers? Talent is going to go where it’s valued. Or, more accurately, talent is going to go where it feels valued.
As in sales, the process is the product
Finally, just like any other sale, the actual process of interacting with the seller is a big part of the sale. To put it another way, the experience that the customer (or in this case, recruit) has in interacting with your business can be viewed as part of the product itself.
The old days, when employers had all the leverage, are gone. If a talented worker has an abundance of options, are they going to waste their time trying to navigate a recruitment funnel that is frustrating or needlessly time-consuming?
That means you need to work on two things:
(1) Strong communication, and (2) an expedited recruitment process.
Provide as much details as you can about your job openings. Let’s draw from some tried-and-true sales wisdom from Neil Rackham’s SPIN Selling. Ask yourself if you’re advertising features, or benefits?
Be as specific as possible in communicating how the job directly benefits the prospect. There’s a major difference between saying “rated #1 employer in the region” and sharing something more specific, like “room for career-advancement” or “certified in-house training programs for rapid growth”.
If the prospect is left with a lot of questions, and it’s not obvious where they can get answers to these questions, they’re going to be wary. It reflects an inability to communicate, which reflects a lack of investment in communication.
A simple strategy for improving your communication
One way you can re-vamp the conversations you’re having with recruits is to do the research on the talent you want to attract (just as you would with any other sales prospect). If you know what their needs and best interests are, you can better predict what they’ll want to know about your company.
It will probably help to try and uncover any resistance you’re going to run into: objections, negotiating tactics, questions.
Note: if you don’t have the right answer to some form of resistance, the solution is not learning to talk about it better – it’s to do everything you can to remove that resistance. If you can do that, talking about it becomes easy.
Streamline the recruiting process
Another useful sales book we can draw from is The Effortless Experience, by Matthew Dixon. This book focuses on improving the customer’s experience. Again, think of the recruit as the customer, here.
A few areas you might improve the prospect’s experience are:
- answer the most immediate questions as soon as you can
- make it obvious what the next steps in the process are (in this case, they probably want more info)
- make your website user-friendly
- be accessible
Make it convenient and easy for them to move down the funnel. In the prospect’s mind, the only reason for not doing this is that you don’t really care to, or you don’t think it’s important.
Another way to think of this is in marketing terms. Whether first contact with your prospect is on a sign/billboard, a Monster or LinkedIn posting, or a walk-in off the street, your messaging needs to deliver a good value proposition in the space you have and be coupled to a clear call-to-action.
Nowadays, the first place your leads are going to want to go for more info will be your website. Make them feel that your website is built to serve them as well as your customers.
Finally, for those who prefer to have a conversation in-person or over-the-phone, be accessible. You can’t reasonably expect to answer all the questions every prospect has. Don’t make it hard for them to get answers.
Like it or not, the employee is in a position to be more selective than ever. Those employers who can show that they are willing to adapt to this dynamic are going to be the ones who attract and retain the core talent they need to survive and thrive.