Finding the right talent for your business can be the difference between profit and loss. Many industry experts agree that the deciding factor in business success is not technology, or thoughtful leadership, or brilliant marketing, but talent.
According to a study by the National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers and Treasurers, as of 2012, the U.S. lacks enough young workers to replace those who retire. That makes the battle to find and keep the most qualified individuals fiercer than ever. Let’s take a look at what some of the most healthy brands in the country are doing to keep their talent pool fresh.
According to Entrepreneur.com, Southwest Airlines does this so well, the company once received 50,000 applications for only 500 open positions. Google has reportedly taken in as many as 70,000 applications in one year. One of the biggest reasons for this was an attractive work environment. Companies with happy employees find more than their share of talent knocking on the door. A few principles that go a long way to keep employees raving about their jobs:
These principles work best from the top down. Hewlett Packard’s co-founder, David Packard, exemplified this well. He was known for setting high expectations for himself, and treating each employee as a valuable equal. That set the pace for the entire corporate culture, and made HP one of the top choices among IT stars.
The single best way to change your company culture is through hiring. If you are the one with a vision for the working environment you wish to create, you must be on board for hiring decisions. Many experts agree it is just as important to hire for personality fit as it is to hire for skill. Personalities make the culture.
Recruiting expert Rasmus Ankersen was quoted on CNN: “If you speak to a business you'll have a hard time finding someone to explain why they are using the metrics they are using; they basically put an ad in a newspaper because that's what everyone else does.” He recommends looking outside the usual suspects, even outside the industry at times. Companies that depend on innovation and creativity can’t afford to stick with the status quo, even in their hiring practices.
Ankersen reportedly once told a fashion company to stop looking at resumes altogether, and to hire individuals that showed forward thinking in places where creativity was hard to come by. The result was an influx of fresh thought, from a variety of backgrounds. How do companies find these people, if not by way of the old standby - the resume?
Now more than ever, new talent is easy to spot and evaluate, without ever listing a vacancy. New apps, such as Create.it, link to platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube, to help scouts find the people they need on their teams. These recruiter apps can also use crowdsourcing to collect and filter reviews from third parties, providing candidate credibility and a loose ranking system.
According to the Washington Post, sixty percent of small business owners say finding skilled workers is their greatest challenge. So how do you compete with the Googles and the HPs of the world for great talent? You play to your strengths.
And of course, the most effective strategy for building a strong talent pool, according to Entrepreneur.com, is to take care of what you have. When an employee fits your corporate culture and brings value to your team, show appreciation. If a talented employee seems to struggle in his current position, try to find a position that suits his strengths, rather than rehiring. This is cheaper, more efficient, and creates a company in which employees feel valued. That, in turn, will help you attract more rainmakers to your business.