How to Attract, Hire & Retain Talent (Part 1)

*Originally published on*

The struggle to find talent is real. Business guru Paul Boucherle shares practical advice to help you bolster your workforce.

This topic has probably been the most often discussed subject with our clients the past three years, and for good reason. Add the reset of 2020 and talent retirement into the mix. This is top of mind for most executives in the systems integration world. 

Now add into the equation the new generations of talent that will replace seasoned veterans, rapid advances in technologies and new competitors’ business models. You have plenty of anxiety to keep you up at night. So, is there a simple answer? 

Unfortunately, there is not; however, there are some fundamentals that can make a significant difference in developing a more effective talent acquisition strategy. The key is developing a new mindset, strategy and tactics that can give you an edge.

Regardless of which way the winds are blowing, trimming your sails and reading the wind and waves can help make your journey smoother. Where to begin? 

Start by putting yourself in your talent’s shoes and look back at what they perceive as a career opportunity. It begins by asking yourself some important questions. 

  1. If you were starting your career, would you want to work for your company? In today’s market, you are not interviewing talent, they are interviewing you, your company and your team.  
  2. What you offered in a traditional sense may not align with their thinking and objectives for work/life balance? This is not about money; many make this mistake. It is about their opportunities to contribute, feel valued and most importantly to gain knowledge. 
  3. Does your company culture tell a story to differentiate yourselves? In telling this story, you must consider your audience and their motivations. Do not tell your story from your perspective, tell it from their perspective.
  4. Have you learned from failed hiring opportunities? If you want to improve your attractiveness, make it a point to re-interview candidates that you wanted but who did not want you. Ask why they chose a different route and listen actively without being defensive. Do not try and justify, just learn from what you hear. Do not accept the first answers. Dig deeper to find the real reasons, then adjust your strategy accordingly. 
  5. Does working with your recruiter go beyond a job description? Choose your professional recruiter wisely. This is your first marketing tool to recruiting the right talent. Take the time to educate them and let them learn more about your culture so they can select and “sell” your opportunity. Too often I see clients simply pass along the job description and benefit package … NOT the real career path. 

We often assume that younger generation talent does not want to work hard and frankly they may look at work differently than you do. The reality of 2020 has proven without much doubt that work can be done differently than defined by our traditional mindset.

Make no mistake, the work still needs be done well to support your brand and growth expectations. This new talent can deliver stunning results when properly understood, communicated with and coached. That is on us to change. 

You must tell a more compelling career story to be successful. While bringing on new talent is important, retaining existing quality talent is equally important. Have you been poached? Why did it happen? 

While often the convenient excuse is more money, I believe the real answer is “you did not show me how to make more money.” If you do not have a well thought out technician career progression, apparently your competitors do. Wake up. The saying, “talent does not leave a company, they leave their supervisor” is tried and true.

This is an unnecessary situation that delivers self-inflicted financial wounds. This scenario is often passed off as “they are not a good fit.” You may have an underdeveloped manager. The good news, this can be fixed with the right training and setting clear expectations. What would those expectations look like? 

The prime directive of any manager is to lead and develop the resources they are entrusted with to deliver the maximum contribution toward the organization’s mission. Take a close look at your company culture and values and see if this thinking is baked into your secret sauce. If that ingredient is missing, perhaps your career entrees are not appealing or attracting the right kind of talent to sit at your corporate table! 

Next month I will provide some additional strategies and tactics to help you recruit talent more efficiently.