Three Key Elements for Recruiting and Retaining Top Talent
By Sarah Lazzaro, Business Assurance & Advisory Services Senior Associate
In Mark Miller’s new book,Talent Magnet: How to Attract and Keep the Best People, he presents the results of the research he has been conducting on how to recruit and retain the best employees, or “top talent.” Recruiting and retaining top talent is essential for an organization to become more profitable, more resilient, and attractive to other top performers. The research followed top talent individuals aged 14 to 65 across a wide variety of income levels, industries, and regions in the United States. Mark’s research found that there are three key elements that top talent look for in an organization.
Element 1: “Better Boss”
The first quality that top performers look for in an organization is a “better boss.” This may seem like an obvious answer – of course everyone wants a great boss, but top talent have a higher bar for leadership than “typical talent” individuals. Specifically, they must feel that the boss cares about them and their success. This group of people will respond to the boss taking a personal interest in them, knowing their kids names, and truly showing that they care.
Element 2: “Brighter Future”
Top talent individuals also seek companies that can deliver a “brighter future.” Again, this may seem like an obvious response, but for top talent this factor is more important than for typical talent. Top performers are much more future oriented than typical talent and come into the interview at the organization asking a different set of questions – How will I grow here? How will I be challenged? They recognize that they are unlikely to stay at one organization or one position their entire career, so they are looking for a company that will provide opportunities for growth and allow them to thrive in the future.
Element 3: “Bigger Vision”
The final quality sought by top talent is a “bigger vision.” Top talent individuals care more than typical talent about the mission and vision of an organization they are going to work for. They have to have personal resonance and personal pride in the organization they work for. Participants in the study consistently expressed that they wanted to make a difference in the world. Companies can convey their commitment to contributing to the local and global community in the mission and vision of the organization.
During the study, the researchers came upon an interesting indirect finding that they dug into – companies that had the three qualities discussed above did not get the response from top talent that they expected to receive. When the researchers investigated how these three findings were implemented, they found that these companies were not telling their story properly. In order to recruit top talent, an organization must, from the outset, communicate a cohesive story of how it will provide employees with a better boss, a brighter future, and a bigger vision – this information should not be set aside until orientation. There must be an understanding throughout the organization, from the very top to the very bottom, of what the story of the organization is and then companies must send out their “better bosses” along with their top talent individuals to tell the story and attract more top talent. Organizations should deputize their best employees as brand ambassadors and arm them with the tools to be successful at public speaking events so they can successfully promote themselves and the organization.
In the end, the only way to retain top talent individuals is to live up to promises. It is not only important to recruit using the story of your company embodying the qualities desired by top talent, but when the individual enters the workplace they must see this in action and believe the company is living up to their promises. If they are promised something and find it to not be true, top talent are much more likely to quickly move on from the company.
At Keiter, our team has the ability to make this their firm with opportunities to find fulfillment in their careers, flexibility to balance what matters most in life, and an atmosphere that inspires creativity and community. We are always looking for new talent and future leaders of our Firm. Contact our HR team for more information or apply for a position on our website.
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