Tom Williams is the author of Startup, Scaleup or Screwup. Source: Supplied

Tom Williams

The best businesses attract and retain talent by following this three-step approach

Tom Williams
Business Advice
5 minute Read

One of the tougher challenges most leaders have is finding and recruiting the right members for a team. You’ve probably had the experience of setting out to find a great person for a role, and after sifting through a shortlist you pick someone who shows up for an interview and seems impressive. You check out their references: they seem to get on with people, they can tell you how well they performed and what they’ve achieved in the past, so you hire them. After a while, to your horror, you find out they can’t actually do the job and they’re affecting the culture and your team’s productivity. 

A great way to assess a potential candidate is to have your whole team spend some time with them, perhaps in a more relaxed setting like a Friday afternoon drink. If you have managed to develop a great culture in your company, they won’t let anyone who isn’t going to be a good fit get in. It also makes sense to take on new people on a trial basis of, say, six months, by which time you should know whether you want to make their position permanent.

Attracting and retaining talent is an ongoing job for leaders, however, getting the branding, culture and values right can help massively, which is why it is vital for leaders to take ownership of these areas. 

Employer branding

Employer branding is important if you want to become the employer of choice. How do you present the benefits of working with you to attract the people you want? The first thing I observe is that most job ads are so deadly dull it’s no wonder companies struggle to attract candidates. The worst of them are written in dubious jargon; the best are, at best, clear about the job, the responsibilities and the qualifications they’re looking for. But where is the personality of the firm? Where is some sense that this is a human-centred organisation that, while it takes its work seriously, doesn’t take itself too seriously? Where is the language of real people having a chat together about spending the majority of their waking hours in each other’s company?

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