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Guests: Todd Bavol, the Founder, President and CEO of Integrity Staffing Solutions, and Megan Couch, the VP Client Relationship Manager.
Episode in a Tweet: Here’s how to attract top talent in a tight labor market–and it’s not about paying more.
Quick Background: Hiring the best people is always critical. Right now, it’s also very challenging. According to the staffing pros at Integrity Staffing Solutions, unemployment is near the lowest figure in decades. That translates to around 7 million open jobs, and only 6 million people looking. Add in the retiring baby boomer generation and the rise of the millennial workforce and it’s absolutely imperative that your firm is doing everything it can to make open positions as attractive as possible.
On today’s show, Todd Bavol and Megan Couch of Integrity Staffing Solutions give some important tips on how to make your company a preferred destination for top talent.
Transcript: Download the full transcript here.
Key Insights on Winning Top Talent from Integrity Staffing Solutions
1. Listen to the “voice” of your customer and employees.
There’s a very simple way to find out what your employees and customers like and don’t like about your workplace: ask them!
You wouldn’t start offering a new product or service without extensive testing and marketplace research. When it’s time to make a new hire, you should dig a little deeper too. A good place to start can be reviewing the most recent data you’ve collected from employees, like your employee net promoter scores.
Integrity Staffing Solutions uses an exercise that Megan calls the “voice of your customer.”
“Your perception of what the customer wants may be vastly different than the reality,” she explains. “I have a third party come in, go talk to associates, go talk to clients and find out what they really want. We went through this exercise and we have a large temporary workforce. So we automatically assumed that daily pay would be something that they would be interested in. After we went through this, a good percentage said, ‘Absolutely not. I don’t want that choice.’ We find out they don’t want that option because they don’t know how to budget necessarily for the next two, three, four weeks. There’s the root cause. Let’s figure out how to help them and provide budgeting skills for them too.”
As a company that’s specializing in temporary staffing, Integrity’s customers are temp workers looking for placement and companies looking to make hires. But you can easily apply the same thinking to your own search for top talent. Your perceptions of how your workplace functions are one thing. How your employees perceive your workplace is the reality on the ground. If you’re not receptive to their feedback, your reputation on the street and on sites like Glassdoor is going to turn off the best candidates.
2. Have your employees’ backs.
If you think all it takes to make your workplace more attractive is a ping-pong table and a gourmet cafeteria, think again.
Todd says that according to Integrity Staffing’s most recent survey, what workers really want is to feel like management has their backs. “They want managers that are going to support and empower them, help them be successful, and stand for their success,” he explains.
Nobody wants to work at a company where employees are constantly afraid that their jobs are on the line. Likewise, a top performer isn’t going to thrive under a CEO who’s constantly peering over his shoulder. Your employees need to feel like they’re allowed to make mistakes, learn from them, and grow into better employees. If you can point to a track record of rewarding your best employees and promoting from within, even better.
3. Provide meaningful work.
Todd says that Integrity asks itself, “What is the ‘why’ behind the reason folks come to work every day? Well obviously, we’re a business that makes a profit. But deeper than that, we generate opportunities for individuals. And this is especially important with millennials. Millennials who found meaning in their work were six times more likely to stay with a company, than where they didn’t find meaning in their work.”
A common mistake here is the CEO who acts more like a missionary than a visionary. We’re not all working on the cure for cancer, and no matter how successful your widget factory is, it’s not going to spark world peace. If you set off a millennial’s BS detector, they’re going to head for the door.
“You have to be authentic,” Todd says. “What is important, what difference do they see and really tying the work that they do to what’s important to them. That’s all in the selection process, I think. You want to be choosing folks who are energized by the work that they’re doing and understand what their goals are and so find meaning that way.”
One way to tie meaning to work that Megan recommends is prompting employees to reflect on what they see as the importance of their work. She says, “We will start off meetings and communications with, ‘How did you make a difference or an impact today?’ And the impact could be different for each person. It’s not going to be the same thing, but only the communication with your team members can tell you that. But we also promote heavily the fact that if you want to tell us that something is important to you, then please, it’s an open door. We want to hear that.”
Another idea is to incorporate employee recognition into your meeting rhythm. The receptionist who is singled out for excellent customer service is going to leave that meeting feeling just as important as your CFO, and motivated to keep excelling.
4. Make working for you easy.
Log in to your company’s hiring portal and work through the application process. Is applying for a job as easy as ordering a book from Amazon?
It better be. According to Megan, “If it takes longer than 15 minutes, you’re going to lose 55% of your candidates right out of the gate.” Ten minutes or less is the standard here, and since 80% of workers apply via mobile devices, your app or website better be easy to use on a phone.
These numbers show that millennials value simplicity and flexibility. That extends to the kinds of perks they look for in a job as well.
“I would absolutely say flexible work schedule by far would be the top choice,” Megan says, “I would say it’s really the ability to balance different parts of their life.”
That means the CEO needs to be flexible too. If you’re an old-school boss, the idea of a manager working from home a few hours every week might sound counterproductive. But if the best person for the job can accomplish more in their pajamas than a B-player can at their desk, whom would you rather hire?
On the other hand, outsourcing and the gig economy might provide more cost-effective means to tackle a particular project than hiring new full-time employees. If a top temp candidate can execute your tasks on time without clocking in from 9 to 5, workplace flexibility might be the difference between that worker accepting your project or someone else’s.
Above all, however, Integrity Staffing says that great workers want to work for great companies. “It’s that value proposition of ‘I want to walk into work every day,’” Megan says. “Patty McCord said it best: you want to be a company that workers want to come from and want to go to. It’s so important that our associates and our clients are understanding that.”
1. Easy does it. Applying for a job at your firm should not be its own job.
2. Listen to your employees. The best way to figure out what top talent wants is to hear what your current workforce wants.
3. Pitch your purpose, but don’t go over the top. You don’t have to change the world to provide meaningful work.
Transcript: Download the full transcript here.
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