July 27, 2017

Attracting Talent-It’s All About the Messaging

By Christy Farrell, Partner, Healthcare Technology & Innovation

Think the Googles and St. Judes of the corporate world have a reputation that attracts only the best talent? You’re right: Business Insider recently included them on a list of the 50 best companies to work for. But if you think that as a newer company, you can’t compete for the same talent, you couldn’t be more wrong.

High salaries, great benefits, and an established reputation aren’t the only way to attract star candidates — the best way to get top talent is to creatively use resources like social media to stand out from the competition, and to emphasize quality of life indicators (like reported job satisfaction and low stress) that will appeal to prospective applicants.

It’s Not Just About the Money

Employee benefits and flexible work arrangements are consistently mentioned as a desirable aspects of jobs. For example, more than 82 percent of Proctor & Gamble employees report high job satisfaction, a number bolstered by employee-oriented programs like stress and time management training.

Your company probably already offers unique opportunities or benefits that boost the satisfaction of individual employees. Identify these and market them in promotional materials aimed at attracting quality candidates.

The small firm’s advantage when it comes to recruitment is tailoring the hiring process and job package to the needs of an individual. Although smaller firms must work harder to attract top talent, they can also more easily customize positions for high quality candidates — something that often isn’t feasible for larger companies.

Consider this: tech leaders like Google and Microsoft use highly developed metrics and rigorous testing to measure the cognitive abilities of their applicants. Sure, they have their pick of the talent pool, but this often comes across as impersonal, turning many potential employees off. Here are a few proven ways to attract top talent to your organization:

Offer a Broad Range of Experiences

At a new firm, employees are likely to have many responsibilities and play many different roles as the company grows; on the other hand, at larger firms, employees are often assigned to just one role, and can stay in the same department or division for many years. Use this difference to your advantage to attract candidates who are looking for a diversity of experiences.

Offer Flexibility

Small firms must be extraordinarily agile to compete with larger competitors, and they can also offer additional flexibility when it comes to benefits for employees. Large firms must define employee rules and enforce them across the board to ensure fairness for all . But it might be more manageable for a small company to allow some employees to work unusual hours or remotely. A bespoke work arrangement can be a win-win for all involved, especially if the candidate is a talented one.

Offer Innovation

Being employed at a small firm from the beginning is an exciting prospect for many, particularly if they believe that the firm is destined for a great future. Newer companies can sell themselves to quality applicants by emphasizing innovative projects and underscoring the level of involvement and impact for each employee.

More importantly, smaller, newer firms are more likely to have one or two impressive entrepreneurs (such as the CEO or founders). Leverage these individuals as attractive resources; you might not be able to offer extensive training or career development, but you can offer in-house, hands-on development from experts.

Offer a Supportive Environment

Pfizer uses the phrase “own it”: the company believes that employees should be empowered to take ownership of their careers and encouraged to take professional risks. Emphasize that your company culture is supportive and encourages risk-taking as an important part of growth, and communicate that philosophy through social media and your company website.

Newer firms have several distinct advantages when it comes to attracting talent, but they have to identify those advantages and make sure they’re being communicated clearly. Recruiters can help you to build your brand and reputation quickly, reach quality candidates through sophisticated networks, and build a team of employees that will in turn build your business.