Four Essentials For Attracting Top-Notch Talent

September 24, 2018By Views

By Dave Wendland, CommunityVoice for Forbes Agency Council, as appeared on August 20, 2018

Although there are numerous factors that potential hires may consider when seeking employment, in today’s competitive marketplace, there are four essential areas that must never be overlooked by potential suitors: people and culture, environment, integrity and purpose.

Flexible work scheduling, regular company-sponsored lunches and celebrations, recognition of hard work and achievements, and bolstering a collaborative environment, are factors that set our firm apart from others. Our culture also encourages respect and fun; we lead by example, and listening to clients (both internal and external) is, indeed, job No. 1.

As we attract talent, we often place priority on collaboration to build co-worker relationships and, ultimately, provide the best deliverables to clients. It is this demonstrated commitment to teamwork that allows us to consistently deliver beyond expectations, addressing the heart of each client’s challenge.

People And Culture
Given the competitiveness of today’s labor force, companies that offer a fun and welcoming atmosphere stand out. From the moment a prospect enters the front door, there should be a feeling of energy, unity, collaboration and commitment. Believe me, it shows. Research centered on organizational culture conducted by the University of Warwick found that happiness increased productivity by 10-12%.

Genuine smiles and sincere eye contact can immediately create sentiments of care and inclusion. It’s the kind of culture that many find captivating. It’s also a culture that is, too often, uncommon. 

Conversely, cold, blank stares and stoic expressions can leave a prospective employee feeling isolated and alone. Despite words that may describe a culture of cooperation and teamwork, the appearance and interaction with its people speak volumes to the true, underlying culture.

We recognize the importance of having fun at work and enjoying time with colleagues. We have intradepartmental teams that host company lunches once every quarter. We also have regular challenges that either work the brain or body.

For instance, while the Winter Olympics were underway, we held “office Olympics” with a couple events every week for four weeks, providing an opportunity for all to participate. We held Star Warstrivia on May 4. And we enjoy annual traditions like our grill out for the kickoff of baseball season and our Halloween extravaganza. These all take place during the workday, which gives associates a fun break and lets them interact with others they may not work with on a day-to-day basis.

Because an office often serves as a home away from home, comfortable surroundings and flexible furniture matter. The natural light that pours in, accessible outdoor spaces, carefully constructed internal lighting, collaboration zones and warm, invigorating color palettes will all be considered by candidates.

Additionally, remote office policies and flexible options are among the many lures being offered by some of the most progressive companies in America. In fact, a recent study by the Flex+Strategy Group, “Discontinue Remote Work and Flexibility, Undercut Productivity and Collaboration Gains,” which surveyed 595 full-time employees, reported that “60% who have flexible work options feel they’re ‘more productive and engaged.’”

At HRG, employees are provided with laptops so they may work in any number of different spaces around the building. All desk surfaces are height-adjustable, enabling associates to stand while working and take advantage of the associated health benefits. We’ve been able to work out plans for employees to work remotely — whether across town or from a different state. And employees with young children often create flexible schedules with their manager that allow for daily drop-offs and pickups.

I encourage others to take another page out of our playbook. As we prepared to relocate to newly constructed offices, we asked each associate what was most important to them in the new office space — the majority of those ideas were incorporated into the design.

Honesty, approachability and consistency are increasingly being sought by job seekers. In a job market flush with opportunity and low on strong candidate inventory, potential employees can evaluate the reputation of each company.

With access to information in a few keystrokes or via a simple Google or LinkedIn search, a company’s brand identity and character can be instantly known. This is a potentially double-edged sword that not only hinges on the public relations efforts of the company but also on the current staff’s social media habits, postings and public chatter.

Winning an award such as our company did for “Top Workplace” certainly begins to distinguish organizations. So, too, do philanthropic and volunteer community-focused activities. We utilize Facebook to promote these activities as well as fun events the company engages in. Posting pictures on your social media pages and on your website can showcase the type of environment you promote within your company.

Prospective employees are positively influenced by companies that demonstrate social responsibility and are committed to values similar to their own. While employees still view earnings as the most important factor in taking a job, 58% of people would accept less financial compensation to work at a company that matches their own values.

Directionally, potential candidates should be able to quickly assess whether an organization is stagnating or poised for growth. It is often the company’s purpose and the opportunity for growth that can tip the scales in favor of a candidate evaluating various options.

To ensure associates are focused on common goals and company purpose, consider engaging intradepartmental team members to craft your mission statement, as we did. Then, we created small table tents for each desk with our mission and explanation printed on them. We also incorporated wall art inside our lobby so everyone that walks through our doors knows what we are about, how we conduct ourselves and what we aim to achieve. Alongside the mission statement is a giant word cloud generated from terms team members and clients shared to accentuate points of difference.

Keeping a keen eye on critical factors such as your people and culture, environment, integrity and purpose will help attract the best talent to your company. Having a solid team undoubtedly raises your organization’s stature in the eyes of your clients and within the market at large.