How do companies attract and retain top talent?

Engaged, quality employees are one of the important ingredients for a successful business. A company’s staff is the face that customers associate with the organization and consider as a representation of the rest of the company, which largely affects customer experience and loyalty. Consequently, replacing high-quality, reliable employees can be very challenging.

Furthermore, it is costly to hire and train new employees – statistics show that it costs a company 33% of an employee’s compensation to replace them. It stands to reason why, even among some receding markets, many employers are asking how to invest in attraction and retention of top talent in their business.

Here are 9 aspects that directly influence talent attraction and retention:

1.) Leadership

New employees want to know the leadership of the company. They want to know who they will they be working for? Charismatic leadership that exhibits integrity and company values is inspiring and greatly increases your chances of attracting top talent.

2.) Sell the vision, mission and purpose

It is not surprising that a company’s vision has the ability to attract or repel desired staff. A company’s vision gives employees a sense of direction which they need in whatever job they will be doing. Sell your vision to your employees. Make them understand just how important they are in materializing your company’s vision. Employees want to understand and relate the ‘why’ behind the company. Have a genuine and meaningful purpose and narrative that effectively conveys the source of passion within your company.

3.) Recognition and Reward

Public or private recognition of top talent has a way of motivating your employees to do more in your business. Highlighting behavior and performance that exemplifies the core values of a company is a powerful means of motivating all employees. You can choose to recognize them publicly in your staff meetings to remind them their value in your organization; or even implement a spotlight initiative so that teams and individuals can be nominated for recognition.

4.) Give feedback

Feedback allows employees to know whether they are heading on the in the proper direction or have completely gone off-track. In situations where they have missed the mark, they can adjust accordingly. Feedback helps employees to reach their job goals. Regular and casual feedback boosts employee motivation.

5.) Make work more efficient

Invest in ways that make your employees’ work easier. This could be software that automates tedious work or systems that streamline processes. Where applicable, eliminate simple annoyances and make tasks easier.

6.) Career growth

Employees are interested in a place that offers growth in opportunities and ultimately in their careers. It is important that employers have the right resources for professional development. Be intentional about professional development by setting times and budgets.

7.) Philanthropy

Employees are attracted to companies that give back to the community through social responsibility programs. They view such companies as being more interested in causes bigger than itself rather than only making profit.

8.) Innovation

Innovation hubs are a pivotal selling point for new employees. Given the opportunities to ideate projects that improve the company and community, employees can be drastically motivated. Occasional ideation workshops are becoming more common in the workplace and serve very well to channel the best and brightest ideas to the right stakeholders.

9.) Teamwork and Teambuilding

Every employee wants to be part of a coherent and high performing team. Ingrain teambuilding in your company’s culture not only through offsite activities but also in everything the company does. Create and nurture an open, collaborative culture.

It is difficult to attract top talent and even harder to keep such employees. Bring in individuals who are bought-in to the company’s mission and purpose and you will find that both become much simpler.

Corporate Cultural Transformation

Leading an organization through change can be exciting yet challenging. Most companies are unsuccessful with transformation efforts because it requires changing the actions and behaviors of every single employee. Transforming a culture requires changing the hearts, minds and skills of the workforce. In order to do this, it is important to have a clear picture of the desired outcome and involvement of all leaders at all levels. Furthermore, it is important to have a proven path to success. A company’s cultural transformation seems like a nearly impossible task, but with the right approach, it is possible.

Understand Cultural Transformation

Initiatives that bring about change are aimed at solving problems or seizing new opportunities. The success or failure of the change is determined by the individual behaviors of the workforce. The culture of an organization is made up of an individual’s behavior, problem-solving skills, communication and their ability to get things done. The positivity or negativity of these descriptions determines the success or failure of an organization.

Why is Cultural Transformation needed?

Cultural transformation is beneficial to a company. Changing the behavior of individuals typically results in increased sales revenues, improved customer care services and fewer safety accidents. These are just but a few examples of benefits an organization stands to gain from a cultural transformation when the Board of Directors or customer feedback deems it necessary to have a change in culture. When an organization has a blend of many cultures and its culture is poorly defined then there are no clearly defined standards or a common direction for the organization. This results in wasted energies, efforts, resources and opportunities. In order to avert such a situation, it is important to implement a disciplined approach towards culture transformation which aligns every employee and leader on what to do and how to do it for a specific outcome to be achieved.

When and Where to start

Cultural transformation should not be procrastinated due to an apparent pressing situation because employees will be using the already identified sub-standard methods in resolving the ‘pressing’ issue. In the end, the results would be unimpressive compared to when a culture transformation had been started. Once the need for a cultural transformation arises, do not hesitate. The earlier you begin to change the way people do things, the sooner they will learn the desired behaviors and the greater impact they will have. If the changes are for the better, then they will make their works easier and it will feel seamless and helpful to them once the change initiative begins. Building a complete picture of your current culture is important to have an idea of what needs to change and what can remain.

The following tools can be helpful in this process:

-360 or 180 degrees surveys. The intention is to capture the impact of certain leadership styles. -Focus groups to gather information from all level employees -Meetings with high-potential employees who are influencers in your organization -One-on-One meetings with executives. They have the most impact on culture -Surveys to gather information in large organizations with employees in multiple locations.

These data points enables you to codify current culture behaviors exhibited by leaders and team members. More importantly, you can move to the next step of setting measurable objectives for changing those behaviors.

The different roles in Cultural Transformation

The Leader’s Role

-Offering visible support. Leaders may not be involved in every aspect of change but they determine the final outcome. -Modelling behavior that is required for a successful change in culture. People look up to leaders since they are highly visible. Therefore, the behavior they portray is followed by others.

The HR’s Role

-Designing communication strategy -Training individuals -Tracking progress -Offering feedback -Providing tactical guidance to leaders on how to support the transformation -Linking the culture transformation to the HR cycle of recruiting, performance management, career planning, succession planning and promotion. The HR and leadership team chart the course of transformation.

Employees’ Role

-Adopting new behaviors at their own pace depending on their willingness and ability. Every organization has a different process of cultural transformation. However, there are key principles that apply to every company that make the process successful. They include:

1.) Change led by executives. The message sent by executives is crucial. If they are seen to be supporting the process of transformation, then the employees will support the changes as well. However, if they are seen to be delegating and unconcerned with the changes, then the employees will follow suit.

2.) A clear line of sight Understanding the tangible benefits of a change is important for the team members so that they can be motivated. It is necessary for them to understand the current state of the organization and to see the benefits materialize once the process of change begins. Frequent communication by the leadership team to the employees about their progress and anticipated benefits sustains the momentum across the board.

3.) Clarity on behavior A cultural transformation should be communicated in practical terms in order to have every employee on the same page. They need to know how every day-to-day priorities, decisions and behaviors will be affected by the changes.

4.) Change captures the employees’ hearts and minds It is possible to have an intellectual understanding for the need of change but to be reluctant in changing habits. It is important to build the emotional convictions of the employees on why they need to adjust to the new changes. Appeal to more than just their intellect. Appeal to their hearts.

5.) Experimental learning Opportunities should be created for teams to actively learn new skills associated with transformation and apply them on the job. An environment of support and allowing employees to ‘not get it right the first time’ is essential. In this way, their convictions that the changing process is rewarding and beneficial are enhanced. Every change should have a finish line once the objectives are realized. However, a relapse to old behaviors is possible. Sustaining a new culture requires pride in the results from the transformation and the continued commitment to model new behaviors. A strong culture is one that outlasts the management that initiated it.