In my first article on this topic I shared my views on:
- Who the right people are
- Why getting them is so important
- Why attraction and retention matter
- How we got to this current position which is challenging for employers
In my second article I shared a list of the key things that I believe attract the right people to firms and contribute to them staying.
In this third article I’m sharing some ideas on how you can promote and deliver on these elements of engagement, with a focus on getting clear on who the right people are and how you attract them. Then in a fourth article in this series I’ll focus on the retention.
For me attraction and retention comes back to having a strategy to build the key elements of engagement into your firm and communicate them to both existing and potential team members. In short, each firm needs an attraction and retention plan, which ties into the firm’s business plan.
In my view, regardless of the size of your firm, workforce planning is a foundation. I like the BusinessDictionary.com definition of workforce planning:
Systematic identification and analysis of what an organisation is going to need in terms of the size, type and quality of workforce to achieve its objectives.
It determines what mix of experience, knowledge and skills are required and it sequences steps to get the right number of people in the right place at the right time.
In practice this is about looking at your organisation chart today and projecting what it will look like in the future. For most firms this probably should be a 1 to 5 year view. This allows you to define what the right roles are that you will fill and when you will fill them. Some people use a basic Excel headcount model to capture this. That is what I did when I was in a large firm and it was an incredibly helpful exercise. It’s about planning to have the right capability and capacity and being able to answer the question what position is my next hire, and then my next, and then my next?
I’m convinced many firms don’t spend enough time thinking about this.
For each of the roles on your current and projected organisation chart I then suggest you have a position description. In a broad sense you have identified roles but it is only when you have a reasonably detailed position description that you really understand what you are looking for. Most firms I hope would already have a template for position descriptions used across the firm. Here are some things you might consider including in it:
- Position title
- Position goal
- Who it reports to and who reports to it
- Responsibilities (categorise)
- Authority boundaries
- How success is measured
- Skills / Knowledge / Competencies / Capabilities
- Qualifications and experience
- Personal characteristics
- Hours (what flexibility is there?)
- Location (what flexibility is there?)
- Any other expectations
Now we are clear about the roles we are trying to fill and the detail of what is expected of each. Then we need to attract the right people to those roles.
Elements of your attraction strategy
I’ve identified 7 elements for an attraction strategy:
- Have a great business
- Have a positive online presence and especially your website
- Have a presence where your ideal team members hangout
- Have team members as advocates
- Have strong relationships with recruiters (if relevant)
- Have confidence!
- Have a story……..that demonstrates how you deliver the elements of engagement
These elements combine to help you be visible to potential employees and answer the question “why should I work for you?”
Have a great business
By this I mean a business that has a clear vision, mission and values, a business plan to make them a reality and a business that is very profitable so there are funds to invest in people and make it a great place to work. A business with clients who are a joy to work with, who value your advice and pay a fair fee. A business that uses modern ways of working and leverages technology well. You get the idea I hope.
Have a positive online presence and especially your website
Nearly every person who is considering working for you will go to your website. I look at a lot of websites and although the standard has definitely lifted in the past five years, I am often disappointed by what I see. Look through the eyes of your potential employees. Is the website answering that fundamental question “why should I work with you?”
Have a presence where your ideal team members hangout
This is both online and physically. If you assess that your ideal people hang out on Tik Tok then you have a presence there. If it is Facebook have a presence there, and so on. If they are members of a particular organisation or attend particular events then figure out how to be there too.
Have team members as advocates
This will come from the strategies you rollout to genuinely engage your people. If they love working with you they will quite naturally want to tell others about it. I was the CEO of a firm where this worked brilliantly. Some firms offer a monetary incentive as well, which I am not against.
Have strong relationships with recruiters (if relevant)
I am aware that many firms are not fans of recruiters and it could be argued that if you get the other 6 elements really humming, you won’t need them. My experience is however that there will be instances where their help is required and so having a relationship with one or two you can trust is important.
Have confidence, enthusiasm and passion
These are traits that in my experience are very attractive for potential employees. Display them!
Have a story… that demonstrates the elements of engagement
Every firm should have a story! A story that is true, and demonstrates how you deliver on the elements of engagement identified in my second article. For some years I’ve been suggesting to firms that these 10 elements can be used to build and present this story:
- Beliefs / culture
- Why / purpose / mission
- BHAG / vision
- Business model / how we work
- Positioning / brand
- Personal and professional development
- The work done by the firm / individual
- Team stories (video)
- Client stories (video)
Remember, you are answering the question “why should I work with you?”
Next time I’ll look at how you put in place some of the elements of engagement to retain the fabulous people you have hired.