5 ways to attract (and keep) the best employees

Managing my business | 2 October 2018

Great staff are worth their weight in gold. Finding and keeping the best people, however, requires much more than the lure of a hefty pay packet.

We share five ways to attract and engage the top talent your company needs to function smoothly.

1. Get your employees engaged

People enjoy working for a cause. They want to do something that matters and sense that their work really makes a difference. If you want your employees to give 100% of their focus and energy while on the clock, then they need to understand your company’s mission and the role they play in reaching that goal.

Craft a mission statement that your employees can get behind. Starbucks’ mission statement is a great example, “To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighbourhood at a time.” Rather than simply selling coffee, its mission is about building human connections - something employees can feel good about.

A sense of ownership can also work wonders. If you treat your staff more like business partners rather than employees, they’ll respect you even more and develop a greater sense of loyalty to your company.

2. Provide perks that really matter

It takes more than just free coffee, a fridge full of beer and a table tennis table to convince talented workers to stay on your team. The more rewards and recognition you can give, the more they’ll feel appreciated. Stay alert to ways you can accommodate the needs and preferences of your team, depending on their personalities and the stage of their lives.

Is a suit and tie really necessary, or would workers appreciate a more relaxed dress code?
How about more flexible working hours, the chance to work from home or other lifestyle entitlements?
This is a big one for families in particular, who will often choose companies based on parental benefits. And some of the world’s most well known businesses are setting a high bar.

Netflix offers one year of paid parental leave for new parents, Snapchat pays up to $US40,000 for infertility treatment and egg freezing and puts $US80,000 towards surrogacy, while HP covers the cost of numerous convenience services for it’s new mums and dads.

3. Provide opportunities for growth

Why should a talented and ambitious employee stay on with your company if there are better personal development and career opportunities elsewhere? You can show a commitment to the personal and career growth of your staff in small ways by giving individual employees opportunities to expand their skills, learn something new or take on new responsibilities.

You could go to the next level and provide study subsidies, send your employees to top conferences or provide ongoing, on the job training.

Most employees want to see the potential for career progression right from the outset. So from day one, give your employees a plan for growth within the company, set clear milestones and continuously review their progress.

4. Promote autonomy

Most talented employees are driven away by leaders and companies that foster a culture of micromanagement. Even top performers struggle to deliver their best work when they feel like they’re constantly being scrutinised under the microscope and told what to do every step of the way. So don’t constantly look over your employees’ shoulder and check up on them, even if there’s the occasional failure along the way.

A growing list of innovative companies, including Netflix, Virgin, LinkedIn and Eventbrite, offer unlimited annual leave. It may sound crazy, but these companies are focused on outcomes. If their talent are delivering quality work and ultimately getting the job done, they deserve to control their time off. That said, while most of these companies show great trust they also have high expectations, and only hire the very best in their field.
When you allow your team freedom, flexibility and trust, they will repay you with their loyalty, hard work and results. And in doing so you’ll create a culture that no competitor, even with the biggest cheque book, will be able to contend with.

5. Encourage creativity

There’s no better way to tap into the potential of your talent pool than by letting their creative juices flow. Create a work environment that fosters creative freedom and your team will thrive. Allowing people to fully engage their passions and create is the best way to get your staff out of bed and running into work with excitement every day. You’ll likely discover some valuable new ideas, too.

Try deconstructing the typical 9 - 5 work day and allowing for flexible hours and work-from-home days, as well as encouraging regular breaks. Flexible schedules not only lead to higher rates of productivity, they allow employees time to decompress and think more creatively. Feeling glued to a desk, clock-watching or rushing back from lunch, on the other hand, does not.

And it’s important to note, creativity is for every business. Whether you’re a design agency or an accounting firm, creative thinking produces inspired staff and outstanding business results.

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The information contained in this article is of a general nature and is not intended to be nor should it be considered as professional advice. You should not act on the basis of anything contained in this publication without first obtaining specific professional advice. To the extent permitted by law, Bankwest, a division of Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124 AFSL/Australian credit licence 234945, its related bodies corporate, employees and contractors accepts no liability or responsibility to any persons for any loss which may be incurred or suffered as a result of acting on or refraining from acting as a result of anything contained in this publication.