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Win the war for talent: 10 tips

22 May 2006

Win the war for talent: 10 tips to attract and retain the best

As the candidate market tightens across certain industry’s, those with experience and skills in the areas of shortages are finding they are in demand. Attraction and retention has consequently become a much higher priority for employers and here specialist recruiter Hays provides ten tips to help employers win the war for talent.

“The challenge of retaining talented staff has intensified. Employees are aware of their own value and the opportunities that are available to them in the NZ marketplace. Employers also have to contend with other countries, such as Australia who promote lifestyle and the opportunity to earn more via tax cuts.,” said Jason Walker, General Manager of Hays. “Yet the war for talent will not be won through salary alone and a company needs a coherent, consistent and sustained program to make sure they enjoy successful attraction and retention.”

Hays provides the following 10 tips to aid in winning the war for talent:

1. Know what you are looking for. “Retention starts with great recruitment,” says Jason. “Clearly identify, by benchmarking great performers, what makes someone successful in your organisation. Make sure the individual fits this criteria and in the recruitment process include an assessment of the individual’s values and motivators to ensure they are aligned with the company's or team's goals.”

2. Train people well. “Do you ensure that the people in your business have everything they need to do their jobs well?”

3. Communicate expectations. “Ensure employees know what your company stands for - in other words, it’s culture and values - as well as what is expected of them in terms of technical output and behaviour,” said Jason.

4. Performance management. “It's no surprise that employers of choice have solid performance management methodology, such as a robust, regular appraisal system that is user friendly and which managers are committed to. Formal performance feedback is critical and an excellent opportunity to ensure talent is engaged.”

5. Career development. “Does everyone in the business know what opportunities they have available to them for development?” said Jason. “Not everyone is interested in career development but top talent always is! It can be difficult for small organisations to offer opportunities but career development is not restricted to promotion. Can you offer additional responsibility? Supervising other employees? Coaching and training others? Managing projects? Chairing meetings?”

6. Quality of managers. “Front line managers are the key to retention. People join companies and leave people. They are at the coal face. How good are your managers at motivating and inspiring their team members? Managing performance, good and bad? Setting useful goals? Providing useful performance feedback? What does your organisation do to develop its managers?”

7. Inclusion. “Ensure employees have a feeling of inclusion and are empowered to make decisions,” says Jason. “Allowing people to be part of the decision making process, particularly in relation to decisions that affect their jobs and the overall direction of the company when possible, engages them with your business.”

8. Rewards: Well developed reward and recognition programs can be used as part of a successful retention program, as long as there is a fair and equal system of processes for rewards. “In a recent survey we found that employees prefer financial or a combination of financial and non-financial rewards over straight non-cash benefits. The way in which staff are rewarded for hard work or successful results, or even as part of a salary package, is at the heart of the employment relationship.”

9. Attractive package: “Not all organisations can offer a competitive salary. If you can’t, you should try to offer an attractive benefits package, which could include flexible hours, weekly or monthly office lunches, life or health insurance, sports events and a work/life balance.”

10. Recognise unique talents: “Everyone is unique,” said Jason. “Recognise and utilise the unique talents of each staff member.”


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