If you have been in the market to hire or replace someone on your team lately, you will agree we are in a war for top talent in all sectors and job disciplines. I suppose everyone would like to have top talent on their team, yet the question is, “Are You Attracting Top Talent?” Do you have an intentional, multifaceted strategy which invites top talent to proactively knock on your door? There is compelling evidence to confirm the truth that the most talented people achieve the greatest organizational (and athletic) success. Teams comprised of mediocre or average talent achieve mediocre or average results. Organizations who consistently enlist and align top talent according to a common vision of the leader, will outperform competitors every time. Yet, before an organization has the chance to outperform its competition, it has to first attract and retain the top talent. This is no easy task for sure. Mark Miller, VP of Leadership Development for Chick-fil-A, the well-known and highly successful fast food chain, has written a book entitled Talent Magnet. I was honored to receive an autographed copy of the book mailed from him to my office! I wish I could say he and I are best buddies, but this would not be true. We have met, however, and enjoyed coffee together a few years ago. I read the book this past weekend; it’s an easy read, but packed with wisdom and insights from a great leader. I made a number of observations I’d like to share with you, that can serve as a simple checkpoint to assess whether you are a talent-magnet leader or not.
1. Know The Elements Top Talent Look For – This is not as simple as it sounds. But if your background involves conducting extensive research to learn what customers consider when making purchasing decisions, then this observation will make sense to you. By and large, customers don’t really care about the features or benefits of your products or services, unless, of course, they believe your product or service will make their life easier or better. Top talent are like discerning customers. They are smart and choosy, they do their own research, and think towards the future more than most. There must be multiple elements present in your organization which actively interest them. If they are going to devote a significant amount of their life to your organization, they want to know that investment is worth it. And lest you think that decision is all about the money, studies have actually shown compensation is not the compelling element you may think it is. Certainly it is important; however, top talent will work for less money if the organization’s culture is a better match for their goals. Other talent-attracting elements include…
- Challenging work
- Opportunity for professional growth
2. Provide Strong Leadership – Again, this is not as simple as it sounds. Strong leaders enjoy the challenge of helping people grow and achieve. They view this responsibility as a significant aspect of their role and they are really good at it. Strong leaders treat those on the team in the manner that is best for the individual, rather than a one-size-fits-all leadership style. Strong leaders really strive to understand the internal motivators of each person and work hard to activate those motivators often. Strong leaders show they really care about those on their team 3. Help Them Contribute to Something That Makes a Difference – Top talent wants to have an impact on something more than just the company’s bottom line. They are attracted to organizations who are actively committed and engaged in community and external causes which promote the well-being of others. This element is not only important to the millennial generation but to most of the other generations as well. Top talent know they have a lot to offer and want to make sure they can have maximum impact in both corporate and social arenas. 4. Top Talent Attracting Organizations Have An Intentional Strategy – The strategy is two-fold: a. create and maintain the culture which promotes elements which attract top talent b. build and maintain awareness of the presence of these elements internally and externally. These organizations and leaders know hiring top talent achieves great results. They don’t view this endeavor as a fad or flavor of the month campaign. They are serious about creating a proactive “brand” and they commit significant financial and personnel resources towards this strategy. Mark provides more wisdom in his book for sure. These are simply a few of the key points which stood out to me. What about you as a leader? How would you assess yourself in these areas? Do you have top talent regularly knocking on your door or do you lay the responsibility for finding top talent on another department, such as Human Resources or Staffing? Is it hard for you to motivate or retain talented people in your organization? You can answer this easily by looking at your turnover rate. If you are serious about becoming an attractor of top talent, I’d suggest getting a copy of Mark’s book. Once you have read it, let me know if you’d like a thinking partner to guide you or your organization in this endeavor. Best regards, Bill PS, if you know a person who would benefit from reading this or knowing about Mark’s book, please forward this post to them. They will be glad you did!