How do you attract great people to your organization? What are the intangibles that make your organization a great place to work? How has the market changed to attract and retain great people to your team? I’ve spent over 30 years recruiting great people for my clients and organizations.
I started my career doing campus recruiting and still do high level executive searches for my long term clients. I would share that even when I help make strategic acquisitions for clients, I do it using many of the tools and psychology I developed in executive search. A funny thing happened recently and it got me thinking what it takes to attract, develop, and retain great talent. I got an interesting job offer to go back to work in-house for a large client.
Here are the questions I asked my client about helping him build his organization. What three things do people look for in a great career today? How do we plan to attract great talent? My client reflected on the question. What would you say?
I believe that great organizations today have to have a purpose for being. If you want to attract great people, you must have a larger purpose than just building an organization you might sell someday or make a lot of money in. These are not bad in themselves but they are byproducts of having a great purpose.
People today are looking for more purpose in the organizations in which they invest their lives. I’m not talking about just a mission statement on your wall, I’m talking about an organization where purpose not only drives short term thinking, but longer term decisions as well. The clearer you are on your purpose the better people you attract to your team. It’s been said that culture trumps strategy in the marketplace. I believe that a great purpose is the foundation of all great organizations.
The second important thing to attract great people is having great managers. Great managers happen because entrepreneurs invest in training and development. If you want to attract great people, you must be willing to invest in them not only professionally, but also personally. So many smaller companies struggle with investing in training for their people. When I talk to younger people they cannot believe how much great organizations invest in developing their teams.
There are so many great ways to develop your team. I can hear several of you thinking, “If I invest in my people, they might leave.” To paraphrase Jim Rohn, a well known mentor to many of my generation’s great entrepreneurs, including Tony Robbins and myself, “What if they stay?” If you invest in your people there will always be a great return on you training and development investment. It’s very easy to attract great talent, the challenge today is retaining them. Great training pays both short and long term dividends in terms of better results and higher retention levels.
The final thing you must do is create a business where people work together to get things done. I asked one of my client family business owners if their children would work for their business. You might not believe this, but it’s very hard for some family business owners to get their children to work in the family business. If you want to attract great people to you business, you need to have great opportunities for your team members to grow.
I often share the “challenge, not break” philosophy of building a great organization. Ask your people to stretch and grow in their current role. People love to feel like they are learning and growing. Since many of the businesses I work with are founded by entrepreneurs, they struggle with delegating to others.
To successfully attract people, learn to team people up throughout their careers. Mentors and coaching are incredible tools to help retain your best performers. It benefits the whole organization because all of your people continue growing as managers and leaders.
Finally, here’s a great question to ask yourself as a leader. Would you still come to work for your organization knowing what you know today? If yes, great! You are on the way to attracting and retaining great people. If no, figure out why and recognize you have work to do. It’s that easy.
So what kind of people are you having trouble attracting? In over 70% my clients, it’s building a great sales team. Next week we share how to attract great sales talent to your organization.
See you next week.