You’re looking to do much more than fill a vacancy. In this hyper-competitive job market, one of HR’s primary roles is to seek out, find, and hire the best of the best: the top performers. One study found that top performers are up to 400% more productive than others.
The problem is that the rise of the gig economy – putting talent ahead of the length of employment – and the focus on quickly wracking up diverse career experiences is making it harder to attract and retain today’s top talent.
To connect with these world-beaters, you’ll want to understand what motivates them to choose one company over another:
- Values: A love story
Top performers who have the working world by the tail are more likely to join a company if its values strongly align with their own. But values are much more than feel-good slogans. They are the core principles and beliefs that make your company run. Which values define your company? Are you obsessed with customer service? Social improvement? Innovation? Individuality? Collaboration? Creativity?
Potential employers that don’t hold values that job seekers feel are important will simply be passed over. Meanwhile, defining and promoting your company’s values will help you attract like-minded individuals and increase the likelihood of finding the right match for your team.
- Advancement: The gift that keeps on giving
Like everyone else, top performers are seeking to maximize their earning potential. However, studies show that professional advancement and stimulating work rank right up there with compensation as primary motivators for choosing one company over another.
What this means is that you’ll want to remind your top candidates that your company puts a premium on internal advancement. Top performers thrive on continuous learning since they see it as a way to advance professionally. So you’ll want to consider developing ongoing training and development programs that are clear pathways for growth and promotion.
- Job postings: Clear as crystal
Research shows that bad hiring decisions can cost dearly, with 75% of companies saying that they’ve hired the wrong person for a position. To attract the right candidates quickly, you should take the time needed to write up an accurate job description.
Top performers are more likely to respond to a job description that clearly shows that your company is looking for a lot more than someone with a few hard skills and a certain educational background under their belt. To make a great impression you’ll want to drive home the point that you’re also looking for someone with the right soft skills.
The tone of your job descriptions should be casual, friendly, and accessible. After all, you’re looking to hire the top-performing people on the market, not robots.
- Top performers: It takes one to know one
One of the best ways to find and attract top performers is to tap into your current staffers’ professional network. Turning your people into recruiters will show how much your company values them. Beyond recognition, you can sweeten the pot by creating a referral program based on cash bonuses for helping your company hire the top performers currently on the market.
You can jump-start this program by encouraging your current crop of stars to write blog posts about their work experiences and use social media to show their network what projects they’re working on. Such initiatives will help you reach those individuals you may not otherwise know about. The most important thing to remember is to always be authentic in your messaging to potential candidates.
- Courting KPIs: When HR meets data
People analytics may be in its infancy, but it’s already having an impact on HR. In 2016, 8% of companies said they were fully capable of using predictive modeling, double the previous year’s percentage. Companies that don’t start leveraging technology in order to attract top talent will quickly fall behind.
Where can you start? There are different algorithms you can use to screen applicants for certain desired character traits and soft skills. Also, you should focus on KPIs that provide information about qualified candidates per opening, candidate survey results, sources to close, and offer acceptance rates. Using data-driven metrics will quickly improve your hiring process, by supporting a more strategic recruiting function.
If you build it, they will come: Creating a culture of success
Today’s candidate-driven job market is making it more difficult than ever for companies to find and hire top talent. However, the late Steve Jobs summed up the importance of attracting top performers with this advice: “Go after the cream of the cream. A small team of A+ players can run circles around a giant team of B and C players.”
By taking all the steps listed above you’ll create the kind of culture that top performers, once they hear about you, will find irresistible. Attracting top performers requires planning, implementation, as well as regular evaluations and improvements to the recruitment process where and when needed. But the payoff is huge: your company’s long term health and prosperity.