THE BLOG
06/14/2016 11:48 pm ET Updated Jun 15, 2017

Bring the Best Talent to Your Company: 6 Tips

Anyone in business knows that having the right people in the right roles at the right time is critical. But getting that done is harder - and more important - than ever. So how can you attract high-quality applicants to your workforce?

I'm not talking traditional advertising to fill vacancies - that's just a small piece of the puzzle. While three in 10 companies are still starting outreach efforts only after they need to fill a role, organizations that have their talent acquisition act together are 2.6 times more effective at hiring outcomes AND 1.3 times more effective at business outcomes.

Here are six key tips for becoming one of those companies.

1. Get Integrated When it comes to strategically attracting talent, nothing is more important than integrating all related efforts:
  • Structurally: Forge new partnerships between the right teams
  • Strategically: Ensure all tactics interlock under one key plan
  • Technologically: Connect systems and acquire new ones needed to ensure smooth operations and measurement
  • Analytically: Gain agreement on what success looks like and how to measure that success.
Most critically, ensure your recruiting strategy is aligned with key business objectives - otherwise there's no point to any of it. Work backwards from short-, medium- and long-term business goals to talent needs and plan accordingly.

2. Evangelize, Evangelize, Evangelize

Corporate initiatives can only succeed with executive support, starting with the CEO. "Talent attraction," as it's sometimes called, is no different. Executives must wholeheartedly and repeatedly communicate the importance of having the right people in the right roles at the right time.

If they do, everyone from middle management to the front lines will understand that the future of the organization is at stake. After all, who do you think job candidate referrals come from?

And the stakes are high. According to PwC's 17th Annual CEO Survey, 70 percent of U.S. CEOs worry that the availability of key skills will undermine their strategies and plans for growth--a dramatic increase from 54 percent the previous year.

3. Build Your Employer Brand

To attract great employees, you need to be known and trusted as a great employer. This won't happen by chance. Companies rated highly for employer branding were 280 percent more likely to "have established a process for refining the employer brand" than low-rated companies.

Part of managing your employer brand is delivering a start-to-end positive recruiting experience that is aligned with company values. This includes how candidates are treated when they don't get the job.

And remember, like any brand promise, your employer brand is worthless if you can't deliver on it.

4. Wield People Analytics

Big benefits await. Companies that build capabilities in people analytics outperform their peers in quality of hire, retention and leadership capabilities and are generally higher ranked in their employment brand, according to a 2013 study.

Predictive analytics can aid recruiting by forecasting candidate success and identifying characteristics of successful hires overall (cultural fit, skills, experience). Adaptive algorithms can match jobs with candidates based on profile demographics and real-time behavioral feedback.

Yet a 2014 report by Oxford Economics and SuccessFactors, an SAP company, found that while 53 percent of executives say workforce development is a key competitive differentiator:
  • Only 38 percent have enough workforce data to assess their talent strengths and weaknesses.
  • Just 39 percent use metrics and benchmarking in strategic workforce development.
  • Less than half can extract insights from data at all.

Don't get caught behind the curve. Daunting as it may seem, dive in.

5. Leverage Social Media

Social media is just as crucial to attracting talent as it is to marketing, customer relationships and brand building. According to a 2014 Jobvite study 93 percent of recruiters already use or plan to use social media and 55 percent use or plan to use a mobile career site, citing benefits like shorter time to hire (14 percent) and better candidate quality (13 percent). Digital marketing tools also enable companies to segment and target talent with relevant roles and communications at scale.

Unfortunately, similar to data analytics, just because the tools are out there doesn't mean we know how to use them. According to Jobvite, 82 percent of recruiters believe their social recruiting skills to be only proficient or worse.

If your house isn't already in order, now is the time.

6. Be the Kind of Company People Want to Work For

If you want to recruit great talent, you need to help the employees you already have flourish and grow in a positive, supportive environment with prospects for an attractive future. In other words, be the kind of company that will attract the talent you want.

This is so important that company culture is the #1 tactic recruiters use to remain competitive against other employers; significantly more than offering superior benefits (73 percent vs. 53 percent).

Being a terrific employer isn't just about warm fuzzies. Highly engaged companies can hire more easily, deliver stronger customer service, reduce voluntary turnover and be more profitable over the long run, according to the Great Place to Work Institute.

And remember that dismal Gallup finding that only 70 percent of the U.S. workforce is engaged, with 18 percent actively disengaged? The same poll reported that disengagement costs the United States between $450 billion and $500 billion in lost productivity each year. The good news? Gallup also suggested three key ways to grow engagement:
  • Select the right people.
  • Develop employees' strengths.
  • Enhance employees' well-being.

Yep, it's not enough to find the right people--you have to treat them right once they join you or they won't stick around.

What it All Comes Down To

Your employees spend more hours of their lives contributing to your organization than doing anything else. They want to feel that it's worthwhile and that they serve the customer and advance the mission regardless of their actual job.

Attracting the best talent who will give their all to the cause is hard work, but it will yield immense benefits, and that will make your job all the more worthwhile.