Recruitment is quickly becoming many companies’ biggest challenge as they attempt to attract and retain top-tier talent. So it comes as no surprise that a company’s employment brand acts as a powerful marketing tool to draw in prospective employees
Employees of today understand that they are no longer expendable, but a valued asset that companies must impress before they come onboard — jobs these days are about more than just the paycheck.
So if they haven’t already, organizations must adapt their recruitment strategy to give people what they want: a meaningful, welcoming place to work where they’re well compensated and taken care of.
That’s why I’ve created a 4-step framework for organizations to optimize their recruitment strategy, maximize their dollar spend and walk away with top-tier talent.
My DISE Framework — Diversify, Identify, Support and Engage — walks you through where to look for talent, how to identify top candidates, what strategies will support your employment brand and how to tell if your recruitment strategy is working.
1. Diversify- Are you pulling talent from a diverse set of sources?
I often hear managers and executives complain they aren’t getting quality candidates for their open positions. However when I ask where they’re recruiting from, they’re often exploring only 1-2 areas.
It’s important to pull talent from a wide variety of sources, such as recruiting websites, social media, job fairs, community halls, professional networks, and so on.
That way, we can analyze your data and make informed decisions to invest your recruitment dollars effectively and answer the question, “Am I making a good return on my investment?”
To do so, we need to peel back the layers of recruitment, much like an onion.
- First, we look at your dollar spend and the outer layer of the process: how many total applicants are you getting for your investment?
- Next, we analyze how many of those applicants are actually qualified.
- Next, how many of those qualified candidates do you want to interview?
And we continue to move from this macro level all the way down to the final candidate selection when you propose a job offer.
I start by looking at the raw numbers of each layer, because it’s not about the total dollar spend, but the amount required to get that quality candidate.
For example, you might spend $200 on a recruiting website and find the perfect candidate, but spend $500 elsewhere and come up dry. So it’s important to know, “How much did it cost me to get that quality hire? Was the money well spent?”
By first analyzing the data, I help my clients diversify their recruitment strategy to see what’s working (and what’s not).
There’s no magic dollar amount that a company should be spending on recruitment, as that changes with company size and types of candidates, but there are strategic ways to approach your recruitment process to maximize your dollar spend and find the right talent.
2. Identify- Have you identified critical skill shortages in your company?
A lot of organizations focus on people shortages — they don’t have enough bodies to fill open positions. And while, yes, having enough people to run your company successfully IS important, I tend to focus elsewhere.
Instead of a lack of people, ask yourself, “What skills is my company missing?” If you don’t have many (or any) open positions but you’re not firing on all cylinders, this means you have a skill shortage somewhere.
And what’s even more important here, is to look into the future. Where do you want to be in 3, 5, 10 years? And what skills will be required at those points down the road? They will be different from what you need (and have) right now.
So your recruiting process needs to address not just your current skill shortages, but how you can successfully market to draw in the talent and skillsets your company will need in the future, and focus your recruitment here.
So here’s how I recommend you approach identifying skill gaps in your company:
Look at your key business objectives right now, and what you’re struggling to attain. Perhaps you’re not attaining those goals because you have a skill shortage, and not just a people shortage?
If this is the case, there are three possible solutions to bring in the right kind of talent:
- Upskill current employees
- Train up-and-coming potentials
- Recruit from the outside
I actually just ran through this process with a current client of mine.
They were struggling at an executive level, and realized that a third of their management team did not have the skillset required to move the company forward.
These leaders were previous project managers and engineers who had been promoted. They were (and still are) great at those hard skills, but now they’re leading divisions, departments and even sectors of the entire company, and it’s just not working.
These individuals had been promoted out of their comfort zone, as well as skill zone, so I helped upper management identify the skills required to move the company forward, and how that would look.
Upskilling current employees in this scenario was not an option. It’s not that I believe old dogs can’t learn new tricks, but in this instance, they didn’t want to learn or change because they thought everything was fine the way it was (when it clearly was not).
So that left us with training up-and-coming employees within the company, who would then leapfrog the current managers, or else recruit talent from outside the company.
This step of the framework can be difficult to do from the inside, so it helps to hire an outside professional with a fresh set of eyes. Book a call with me.
3. Support- Does your recruitment strategy support your employment brand?
Building and maintaining a strong employment brand is one thing, but designing a recruitment strategy around strengthening and supporting that vision is what will set your company apart.
Ask yourself this: Are you recruiting the kind of people who will support your company culture? Or are you simply checking the boxes?
Sure, it’s great to find someone with five years experience and a proven track record, but what about: adapting to a dynamic environment; working individually or with a team; carrying a conversation or supporting others?
It really comes down to: Are we able to develop people’s soft skills, or is it smarter to hire for culture?
While, yes, this is a horse and cart scenario, I believe you should hire for culture. It’s much easier to train or teach someone the hard, technical skills of a job, but if you hire someone who is not a good person or a proper culture fit, it can wreak havoc in your workplace.
One of my favorite examples of this was when I heard former CEO of Zapos, Tony Hsieh, speak.
At the time, Zapos was widely known to hire employees based solely on culture. Their philosophy was that they could train anyone to do just about anything, but if you weren’t a culture fit, it wasn’t going to work.
Tony described when they were hiring for an upper management position and the candidate they brought in was perfect on paper — even the entire management team agreed after meeting with him.
However, Tony jumped in the company car after the interview and got chatting with their driver. He asked the driver what he thought about the candidate, only to find out that he had been arrogant, dismissive and openly rude to the driver.
Even though the candidate had exceeded Zapos expectations on paper, he had treated their management team with one attitude, and a frontline employee with another. This wasn’t what Zapos was all about, and they didn’t hire him because of it.
Walking away from a seemingly-perfect candidate is tough to do, and a lot of companies struggle with this. But smart companies pick culture first, because the alternative is that person becoming a cancer in the workplace and your employment brand suffering because of it.
4. Engage- Does your workplace engage and inspire people?
If your recruitment strategy supports your employment brand, and you hire people who are a good cultural fit, your workplace will become somewhere people want to be, and this becomes infectious within any company.
If an employee knows you’re willing to invest in them, they’ll come to work with a much better, more positive outlook and a willingness to give back to the company.
Because employee engagement in the workplace means your recruitment strategy is working.
An employee giving you their time, talent and efforts to drive your business results in exchange for a fair salary, nice benefits package and a great place to work — it’s really that simple. This is how you create a truly committed employee.
A lot of companies get SO focused on hiring people based on specific skillsets, and the reason I’m often given is time. But what I don’t understand is how you DON’T have time to train. This is our responsibility as business owners, managers and executives — to train our people, and do it well.
And the interesting catch is, today’s employees WANT that training. By hiring someone inexperienced, you have the opportunity to mold them into your company culture, values and practices — you’re not dealing with past employment baggage.
Most business owners also worry about employee retention, especially with skyrocketing payroll costs these days, but here’s the thing… It’s not just about the almighty dollar. Employees might hop to a different company for $1/hour more, but it’s not just about the money.
People understand that if they’re getting paid more somewhere else to do the exact same job, there’s an underlying reason. Maybe it’s a poor work environment, and some people would accept that for an extra, say, $5,000 a year.
This is an example of someone who is accepting their current work environment instead of thriving in it.
And no one wants that. That doesn’t create a committed, loyal employee.
If you focus on finding the right people and giving them an opportunity to shine, while ensuring they’re compensated fairly and well taken care of, you don’t have to worry about retaining employees. They’ll think twice about leaving when offered a slightly better package elsewhere.
If you’re willing to hire the right person and give them the time and mentorship needed to grow, that’s how you transform your culture.
That’s how you create a great employment brand.
That’s how you become a workplace people want to be in.
If you’re ready to kick your recruitment strategy up a notch, contact me today.