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How to Attract and Retain Talent: Two Changes You Should Make Tomorrow

This is my contribution to the Benivo hardcover book “Attracting and Retaining Top Talent In Times Of Brexit” which is available for free (incl free shipping) here.

It's a truth universally acknowledged that high quality people create high performing companies.

Establish you've sorted the basics: Recruitment is dynamic, not a one-off event, and you will only attract and retain the best talent by genuinely being the best destination for them. Create an appealing place to work by investing in comprehensive L&D programmes, then communicate this to the market. Expand your search for talent, if necessary looking beyond your industry to find candidates with right problem-solving capabilities for the role. Run hiring processes on the basis of key evaluation criteria for each role, working closely with a motivated recruiter.
 
On top of this, these two are the most important lessons I learned in my career as a recruiter:  

Lesson 1. The most important attributes aren’t found on a resume.

Start by identifying the key qualities outside the formal job specifications which are essential for success in your business. This goes beyond the 'culture-fit' question: ask your employees which five key attributes are most important to make them fit in the business. Run workshops or focus groups internally to establish these, or ask them to complete a survey.
 
Hospitality critics who hand out stars to luxury hotels examine a thousand tiny factors, from the temperature of the fridge in the mini-bar to the springiness of the mattress. Anyone who is hired as a hotel critic will therefore need to have a minute attention to detail. Similarly, those who will succeed in a customer care-centric industry will be those who have resilience and a generosity of spirit. 
 
Once you have established these required attributes, decide how you will test for these qualities: whether it needs to be based around questions, tests, talking through case studies etc. An examination of attention to detail for a hospitality candidate could involve asking them what they would change in the interview room, or what is out of place. Keep the key attributes of your business front of mind. 

Lesson 2: Provide feedback, regardless of the recruitment outcome. 

Our society is built around a review culture: every service, product and site are accountable. Your business is no different. The first port of call for prospective candidates, when deciding whether to apply to your company, are online review platforms, such as Google and Glassdoor. One way to improve these is to ask current employees to leave positive reviews. But your score doesn’t only depend on your company being a nice place to work at. You will also be reviewed by unsuccessful applicants.
 
It's essential you get ahead of your online ratings before you are given a bad review: don't wait for it to happen before you take action. A key frustration for applicants is not getting the job they applied for, especially when their skills were a good fit on paper. A two-way dialogue of feedback makes a huge difference, and the reputational benefit for the company provides a solid business case for doing so.
 

This article was recently published in Benivo's new book "Attracting and Retaining Top Talent in Times of Brexit." This book covers many aspects of hiring and leading people in fast-growing businesses.

The first 1,000 copies of the book are available to order for free (incl. shipping) until December 31st - click to order

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