How to source, attract and retain the right talent

An everyday reality for HR practitioners is that there are resources aplenty, but excellent talent is scarce. Sourcing, attracting and retaining the right talent is an ongoing challenge.

The best-of-the-best know they’re sought after, so the question is how to attract that particular level of resource.

The focus should be on packaging offerings in a way that makes talented people want to invest in your business, rather than those of your competitors. A consistency in communication from recruitment, through the interview process and into the clearly outlined expectancy from them has them confident from the start: that carried forward, makes them want to stay.

Attracting and retaining resources becomes one and the same exercise.

It is important to build internal strategies that actively attract and retain these types of people, and the overall corporate strategy is the first point of departure. That strategy determines the company culture which drives every engagement thereafter.

Attracting talent

The hiring process might be only the beginning of personal contact with the resource, but in deciding to engage, potential workers are already attracted by the business’ reputation.

External branding is the formal message a company puts out there, but it is no longer the big influencer for individuals. They look to a company’s current and previous employees and take market gossip into consideration to evaluate the type of employer a business is viewed as in the market-place.

In other words, in a technologically switched-on world, it is internal branding strategy delivered via social media that’s seals the deal in terms of reputation to a prospective employee. It has become a small world thanks to social media with employees as the ambassadors and drivers of your image.

With corporate strategy to help keep HR focused, HR is the custodian of that culture.

It’s HR’s job to manage culture through an internal branding strategy to attract the type of people who will thrive and excel. Those are the people that will be retained because they are fulfilled as people, not just as workers.

Empowering in-house talent attracts other likeminded talent to you

The best resources have higher expectations in terms of support from HR and from the company, so it is necessary to provide an employee experience that meets their tech-savvy needs.

Most organisations have processes that work well for HR procedures, like onboarding and performance management, but with the level of demand, it is more a matter of how these are implemented and how they are used to drive internal strategy rather than merely just having them available.

It is important to ask yourself questions like; Is our workforce centralised or decentralised? Do our processes meet that style? How can I get closer to my resources without placing an admin burden on them? In other words, make sure your processes are demand driven.

As service providers providing support to a specialised workforce, the level at which this interaction takes place is critical and consistently scrutinised.

The consequences of this evaluation then become part of internal branding.

To be perceived as the best, relevant, comprehensive information is needed at all times to guide the actions of both management and resource. How accessible and how detailed should the information be? That again is driven by internal branding strategy. But the higher the demands on the quality of resource, the better the info should be that is provided.

Typically, a workplace has between four and five generations – all of them these days are technologically-driven, but in different ways.

Take Generation Z for instance: the 90s babies have blurred the boundaries between social and professional communication on digital media, so what they communicate and what they expect to be communicated with digitally, differs from the expectations of someone born in the 70s.

Again, it is mission critical to use all the tools and all the approaches to communicate effectively with each generation, making them all feel a sense of belonging. Of course, this needs to be done effortlessly.

Part of retaining a good resource is empowering them and not just with information. The best resources don’t stand still, and either these are grown and challenged within the company or they’ll move. If their needs are met and they are excited, the company will have the best kind of employees – loyal and passionate.

Being everything to everyone is hard work, and the better the information available, the better the analytics and reports that are accessible, the better the overall delivery.

Immediate information is needed to help pick up trends and patterns that indicate positive or negative changes in individual patterns.

Are there positive trends to be encouraged or negative ones to be managed?

This can be a warning that adjustments may be needed to be made before behaviours affect a company’s culture. Good analytics provide information packaged in a way that allows for proactive management.

Social media is an emotive branding tool

Social media is emotive and affects branding instantaneously. If an employee feels happy or frustrated, they broadcast a status, a tweet or a message with telling emojis. You need to have your finger very strategically on the pulse to cope with that. The faster you can identify a change in course, sentiment or status, the faster this can be corrected.

With good, sophisticated digital tools, there is a clear opportunity to win the war for talent but the tool is only as good and strategic as the practitioner using it.  

Bernadette Froelich is the Specialist HR Manager at DAC Systems.

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