Entrepreneur

How to hire (and retain) talent in a competitive market

(Editor’s note: Razor Suleman is CEO of I Love Rewards. He submitted this story to VentureBeat.)

Despite the dire numbers in the national unemployment rate, the tech job market has not only recovered – it’s booming. Employers now find themselves in a competitive environment, contending for their industry’s top talent. What many employers don’t realize, though, is that the pressure doesn’t just fall on your recruiting tactics, but also on your means of retaining employees.

We are now in the knowledge economy – a revolutionary change in the workplace. That means it’s time to transform the way you recognize and communicate with employees to maximize workforce engagement.

Considering that today’s employees will have 10 jobs by the age of 38, employers need to engage their workforce and ensure that when they walk out the door at the end of the day, they’re not walking in the doors of another company.

The shockingly low length of tenure statistic has employers re-evaluating their recruiting and engagement tactics. Companies not only have to differentiate themselves from their competition, but they also must actively engage their top talent to ensure high retention rates. Today’s employee wants to be aligned to the corporate goals and recognized for their contributions to their company’s bottom line.

Validation of employees’ hard work through recognition is an important – and often overlooked – component of an engagement strategy. Companies that do not evolve their current methods and fail to recognize employees risk losing their top talent. In fact, employee recognition has proven to be instrumental in contributing to a positive workplace and organizational success. (After all, engaged employees produce greater results.)

Of course, before you can retain them, you first you have to lure the talent to your company. Here are three effective ways to turn their head when other companies are courting them:

Build your company brand – According to our Class of 2011 Study, 88 percent of Millennials will apply directly to a company without seeing an advertised position. It stands no reason that a corporate branding strategy that takes into the consideration of the values of Generation X and Gen Y (who currently make up 58 percent of the workforce), is likely to bring more applicants through the door. It’s time to think like a marketer.

Tap into your employees’ networks – Your company’s A-Players know other A-Players. The most effective method to finding quality candidates is through your employees’ existing networks. Involve your employees on the quest to recruit, retain, and engage other strong performers. No one understands your company culture better than your internal employees and their referrals help you avoid the typical recruiting challenges like job postings and weak candidate pools.

Open your doors to candidates – Don’t hide behind a job posting; make your search for talent a transparent and exciting process.  Open houses can be a means of bringing candidates together in a relaxed atmosphere to learn more about your company, other candidates and an opportunity to experience your company culture firsthand. Interview-like scenarios can be extremely nerve-wracking for candidates.

By making the recruitment process transparent, you alleviate the pressure for the talent and provide them with a fun and positive experience. Candidates can network and mingle in a great atmosphere and that way, if their takeaway isn’t a career opportunity, they are still left with a positive perception of your company.


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