Monday, January 26, 2009

Attracting Top Talent: Do You Have What It Takes?

Today's employees are attracted by a hiring package with both extrinsic (pay and benefits) and intrinsic (motivation, training opportunities, etc.) elements. But does your organization have the right mix?

There's really only one way to find out: Ask them. Hold focus groups or distribute questionnaires to your employees with the purpose of determining what they think of your present pay and benefits program and also the work environment. Which benefits do they rate the highest? Which are least important to them? What do they find most and least desirable about their jobs and the workplace?

Studies have been done by numerous compensation organizations and they have identified the following as the most important benefits:
  • RRSP or other matched employee retirement plans
  • Dental plan
  • Pension plan
  • Pay for performance compensation
  • Flexible working hours
  • Childcare
  • Tuition reimbursement

Ideally, say the experts, you should be offering each of these. But if you can't offer them all, determine which you should be offering based upon your employee focus groups and survey findings.

Likewise, examine employees' opinions about their jobs and the workplace. The ideal company offers:

  • Job security
  • Employee participation in decision-making
  • Work/family balance
  • Increased employability through training and development opportunities

Of the elements above, which are missing in your organization? If they aren't there, they should be. Whereas the elements in your benefits package most important to your workforce will vary with the nature of the group (e.g., younger employees will be interested in childcare or tuition reimbursement, or funds to finance a new home), all, regardless of their place in their careers, want job security, involvement in decision-making, training opportunities, and time to enjoy their families along with their jobs.

Once you have retooled your package to attract those employees your firm needs, your next step is to determine how to market your revised package. If you have a website, and you are looking for technical people, make sure that you advertise on it. Visit the websites of competitive firms to determine how they use their site to prospect for job candidates. Job search sites should be part of your marketing plans, of course. But you shouldn't limit yourself to them. Don't forget newspaper classifieds.

Classifieds aren't as effective as they once were, especially if you are recruiting from among those who are still employed. But you can increase their usefulness if you highlight in the ad what candidates would find most attractive about the job (e.g., good pay, great benefits, childcare, and employability). Actually, you should do this in all ads you run.

Here's another avenue for marketing your job openings: direct mail.

Send out mailings to those individuals who match the profile of recruits you want. Associations or magazines targeted to your industry or the necessary discipline can provide the mailing list and names of candidates with the general background you want.This provides a new avenue for the top talent you want.


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