Hearts, minds and souls – using business culture to attract talent

Using business culture to attract talent

It goes without saying that you want to have the right people in your workforce. Reliable, loyal teams with the right set of skills will increase your productivity and ensure a low employee churn. However, attracting talent is not always easy. This is particularly true if you have a vacancy that requires a specialist skill or a particular level of experience.

Simple rules of supply and demand mean that the more ‘specialised’ the role, the fewer candidates there are in the potential pool and the harder we all need to work to attract them. In times of low unemployment, such as we are currently experiencing, there is bound to be a higher concentration of passive candidates as well. Changing jobs is a big decision, and upheaval is hard, so the more people in employment, the more passive the marketplace. At the same time, a hasty decision forced by the urgency to close a vacancy can result in a costly, and ultimately quite counterproductive, bad hire.

Talent is attracted to more than the job role itself

What we need to do then is look at the ways in which we, Jobwise, can work in partnership with our clients and candidates to increase the likelihood of a good match. Without doubt, one of these is to make sure we fully understand what it is that drives a candidate to consider an employer. What we are looking for is a match on both sides, and that is more likely to be about personalities, emotional responses and affinity with the business, than a contract negation about salary or benefits.

Talent is attracted to more than the job role itself. They are interested in who you are, what you stand for, where their career will go if they join you, and where your business is going to take them in the future.

What they are looking at is your business culture and asking if they want to be a part of it enough to make a big change in their lives. If we want to attract the top talent, then we need to make the culture of your business part of the process of employment.

A good way to think about the culture of your business is to start with the people that thrive within it. Just like any cultural group, whether large or small, they will share a set of values and beliefs. Gandhi once said that the culture of a nation resided in the hearts and souls of its people. The same is true for a business, and these cultural values for the candidate are centered around:

Your core values and ethos

These can be as big as your response to environment change or support for charitable organisations or as small as the care you show your employees through things such as fitness programmes, care leave, mental health policies or your approach diversity and inclusion.

Who wants to be in your community?

Any marketing person will tell you the value of a testimonial when it comes to attracting people. News reports often feature what they call ‘vox pops’, interviews with the person in the street, for the same reason. We are reassured by the thumbs up from our peers.

Happy employees are cultural champions, so it is a good idea to look for ways to display that. Facility tours, written testimonials, perhaps even short videos all help. Whatever shows your team in the context of your company culture is likely to interest the candidate.

What’s in it for you and what’s in it for the candidate?

Talent loves success and growth, so a candidate is likely to want to see what the plans are for the business and where they will fit into that growth. If they can align their own growth and development to yours, then there is a symbiosis that they can pin their future on. Very few people are likely to gamble on a career move, but most people will want to be part of a long term, mutually beneficial relationship.

Culture attracts talent. However, it also could be a barrier if it doesn’t align with the core values of the candidate. What happens if displaying your culture does the opposite, and a candidate is put off applying for the role? While this initially seems a downside, it is really a good result.

A candidate who does not like working in your business will not stay and may even become the bad hire we mentioned earlier. The wrong candidate will always be the wrong person, so if they drop out of the process early, we did not lose anything, in fact, we gained more time and more focus.

In short then, if you want to attract talent to your business, appeal to more than just their mind, you need to reach out to their hearts and souls as well.

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