World-wide, the war for talent is on, and South Africa is no different. Today’s highly competitive business environment has led to people becoming a key differentiator for most companies and brands. Businesses need to have the right people – top talent that make a difference to the bottom-line. Attracting and retaining top talent has become a strategic imperative.
The result is that many companies have started focusing on how to hire the right employees. They attract the right candidate and offer a position and package that is accepted – and think the job is done. Well, think again.
Attracting the right talent is only half the battle won. Retaining your top talent is an ongoing battle; a battle that actually starts before the offer of employment is even made. How you act following the offer of employment can make the difference between securing top talent and settling for number two.
Keeping great talent
First, it’s crucial for HR to know their target talent market and the employers they are competing with. Knowing who is a possible threat to your target talent pool offers unique opportunities to attract the best-of-the-best.
Understanding what employment differentiators your competitors offer can provide you with a competitive edge that could greatly contribute to the success of your talent attraction strategy.
But this gets your top talent through the door and accepting a position. What keeps them? Companies often regard the offer of employment as the final step in the talent attraction process. Instead, they should see acceptance of the employment offer as the ‘starting day’ for the new employee.
As an employer, don’t sit back and wait for the new recruit to start. Rather use this pre-starting period to court the new recruit. This not only confirms that they have made the right choice to work for your company, it also builds the vital employer-employee relationship and shuts out competitor offers.
A job change (particularly if it’s also a career change) is stressful for anyone. The period between accepting an offer and the actual start date is usually characterised by doubt, compounded by the thought of leaving the familiar and taking on the unknown. The new employer should step up activities and follow a courting strategy until the start date – and beyond!
Here are a few pointers for companies to include in their courting strategy:
- Start placing the new recruit on distribution lists; the more he or she knows about current projects and information vital to the job, the less time it takes to become productive. This often also creates a sense of excitement about new challenges that lie ahead.
- Put together a ‘new starter’ marketing pack that contains exciting marketing materials, company information, company achievements, relevant product and service information and maybe even a corporate video. Providing valuable information will also get the employee up to speed quicker.
- Invite the new recruit to appropriate company functions. New starters take time to adapt. If they get to know their co-workers before starting, they will feel more comfortable once the actual start day arrives.
- Invite him or her to company meetings that may be of relevance or value.
- Ensure their work-station is ready; nothing wastes more valuable time than ‘kitting out’ a new starter. Add a personal touch with a company branded coffee mug with coffee waiting when they arrive.
- Prepare a welcome pack for the first day; not only will the new starter feel special, but he or she will know from the pre-starting phase that your’s is the best company to work for!