The First Step in Recruiting Top Talent: Get Over Yourself

headshot angry woman isolated on grey wall background. Negative face expression body languageTop talent is in high demand everywhere, and companies all over the world are scrambling to develop better strategies centered on talent acquisition.

Smaller businesses and organizations are at a greater disadvantage than the bigger name businesses. They want ambitious employees that exhibit a lot of self-initiative, but typically don’t have the resources to shell out impressive salaries. It’s a catch-22 situation. You cannot grow until you hire the best, and you probably won’t attract the best until you’ve grown to a point.

What is the way out? Theoretically, it is simple: Understand the needs of top talent in your industry and fulfill them.


What's Stopping Top Talent From Joining Your Organization

But the execution is made problematic by a number of factors. Here is a look into what the talented and the ambitious really want and how your company, without even realizing it, could be putting them off. Here are ways that you could be going at it all wrong.


Not Being Very Employee-Friendly

Regardless of how much you pay your employees, creating an employee-friendly work environment is as important as the financial aspect of it. This friendliness (or the lack of it) of the management towards their employees reflects itself in many ways.


“Crazy Long” Working hours

No one likes long working hours, particularly for a long period of time or as a matter of habit. And yet, companies have got it into their heads that the higher a salary they offer, the more they can extract out of their employees.

This is an extremely short-sighted view, and a dangerous one as well seeing that entrepreneurship is increasingly an option for many bright employees these days.

There are only so many hours in a day during which an employee can stay at their brightest and be most productive. It doesn’t matter how much you offer them beyond a point; it’s unrealistic to expect a human being to perform at their best for an insane number of hours day after day, week after week. At some point or the other, they will falter. The pressure that a high workload brings along with it will lead to a build-up of stress, which will further compromise not just their productivity but also their desire to stay with you.

Stress, as we all know, is a killer. If a good salary comes at the price of one’s health or one’s peace of mind, it is not worth it. An employee assured of his self-worth will not stay in such a job for long.


Not Caring for the Female Staff

Women make up almost half of our workforce, and yet a very small percentage of them make it to the top. There are many reasons behind this, but the absence of female-friendly policies at work is certainly among those that deserve blame. Often women are in the position of working and looking after families, so anything that can be done to make your environment more family friendly will disproportionally benefit women.

Companies can support their female staff in many ways by offering an adequate number of leaves, maternity leave, and childcare support to name a few. Basically, policies that make the life of a working woman easier will always make you more desirable to the top talent of the female variety. If you don’t have female-friendly policies in place, you are already repelling a good chunk of potential talent.

It’s worth noting that these kinds of policies will also benefit men who are looking after their families too!


Absence of Flexible Working Hours

If you expect your employees to be at work at 9 am sharp each and every working day, you’ve already lost access to a vast pool of creative minds. (Don’t confuse being on time with productivity!)

Creative folks just don’t adhere to strict guidelines. Many tend to be up until late in the night, which makes it difficult for them to be at work early the next day.

Therefore, if you need to hire creative people, it would help not to get so stuck on the in and out timings of your employees, and instead look at the amount of work they do per week.

It also helps to let people work from another location from time to time and judge their performance by the quality of work instead of whether it was all done dressed up in a crisp Calvin Klein suit sat behind their desk at work during peak hours.


Not Giving Employees the Opportunity to Grow

So you’ve hired a few people you think are your ideal employees; they are talented, possess a strong work ethic, and bring an infectious enthusiasm to their work.

The problem is, if you don’t give them enough of a challenge, they could get bored and start looking for opportunities elsewhere.

By challenge, we don’t mean throwing even more work their way, no. What we mean is give them that which brings out the best in them. They need a way to realize their passion, and you want somebody who converts their passion into excellent productivity for you. This could turn out to be a win-win for all of you if you (as their employer) handle it well.

Don’t tire your best talent out by burdening them with mule-like loads or repetitive work. Make the best use of them. Find out what motivates them and how you can use their talent to meet your own strategic goals. Train them accordingly. Let them grow and help them in realizing their potential.

If they are inclined to leave you, they will do so in any case. But by making sure that you have taken care of their deepest needs, and have offered them a career path instead of just a role, you will have maximized your chances of holding on to them.


Not Conducting Regular Appraisals

Nobody likes the idea of getting hired for a tidy sum and then hitting the ceiling. No appraisals or increments coming your way for the next entire year? That’s a very bad deal.

The better an employee’s performance, the more they expect by way of compensation. It need not all be related to their salary either. Guide them as to how they can improve. Give them goals and reward them in line with their performance. This is a tremendous motivator for those inclined to work hard and smart and rise rapidly through the ranks.


Empathy and consideration towards our fellow human beings may not be the most popular concepts in the corporate world, but you’d be surprised how far they can take you. There’s a reason that monk sold his Ferrari. You don’t want to lose people who can take your business where you want it to go just because you forgot to take good care of them along the way. A mass shift in the corporate mindset is the need of the hour. If you run a small business and are in a position to effect changes in employee policies, we recommend you give this a good thought. Make your workplace something employees would love coming to. If you can take care of that, you can attract all the talent you want.


About the Author: With a background in training and tech, Mark Nevius helps get the word out about Administrate, which makes time-saving management software for training providers. In addition to assisting in marketing, Mark keeps his finger on the pulse of the training industry and helps provide great content to training providers around the world.

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