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The secret to hiring the best talent (and turning them into star performers)

25 April 2017

As a HR professional, you have to attract the right talent and help them grow into a role. The problem is you face stiff competition not only from other companies, but even from inside your own company.

So how can you find and retain the best talent, help them succeed and your company thrive?


Getting recruitment right

According to LinkedIn’s 2016 survey of Australian and New Zealand HR professionals, the three biggest obstacles for attracting top talent are: finding candidates in a high-demand job pool, agreeing on compensation, and competition from employers.

If you want to overcome these obstacles, know that attracting the right talent starts before you conduct your first interview.

It means communicating to the job market what your company wants… and what it will offer talented employees.

“Increasingly people are less compelled simply by financial reward and are seeking other things as well,” says Jon Ingham, strategic HR consultant and author of Strategic Human Capital Management. “It’s that total reward proposition that needs to come across.”

It’s about understanding how people work best. So factors like flexible working, professional development or an appreciative environment are often highly attractive to talented candidates.

Competing on talent

Many HR managers and directors worry about competing with other companies for top talent and wonder if they can recruit someone without breaking the bank.

So what should you do?

“Try not to compete,” advises Ingham. “Firstly, that’s expensive and secondly it doesn’t really help you retain people.”

“If people only join [a business] because you’ve offered a higher salary than a competitor, they won’t stay for long. Eventually, someone will offer them a higher salary.”

If you’re concerned about what your competitors are offering, you’ll stand a far better chance of attracting top talent if you clearly communicate why you’re an attractive employer.

“An innovative reward proposition can be part of showing [talent] that [a business is] thinking differently,” says Ingham.

“If you do that smartly, very often the type of people you want will be different to the type of people your competitors want.”

On boarding your hires

Your job doesn’t end once a talented candidate signs a contract. To justify the investment of time and resources, it’s vital that top talent commits to your business.

To increase commitment, Jon recommends HR managers help new employees build relationships with colleagues.

“One of the things many [HR professionals] forget is the team-based element of an organisation,” he says.

“If you can help people form those relationships firstly you can help them perform effectively. Secondly, you will increase commitment because you have given them a social network in the workplace as well.”

Once people feel welcome in your business and part of a team, they’re less likely to leave because of conflict or your business’s management style.

“People join organisations [but they] leave people,” says Jon. “It’s not just about a manager relationship, it’s about relationships with lots of people in the business.”

Growing new recruits into star performers

Companies that offer professional development opportunities will naturally attract talented employees, as will those that help new hires grow professionally.

So how can you help new talent succeed and contribute to your business?

“A lot of smart organisations are redefining recruitment from getting somebody into the organisation to [hiring] somebody who is performing in their job,” says Ingham.

You can help talent in their jobs by providing 360-degree feedback, graduate development programs, courses at external institutions, and even cross-functional project assignments.

“It’s not just about coming in on that first day into the office and doing an induction program. [Talented employees] are getting ongoing coaching and mentoring within that first six months,” says Jon.

The secret to your success

You don’t need superpowers to succeed as a HR professional.

Start by clearly communicating to the job market what your company offers and how you’re different from competitors. This helps you avoid competing directly and reduces talent recruitment costs.

Once contracts are signed, the real work of on boarding talent begins.

It’s then up to you as a smart HR professional to ensure new recruits feel valued and have what they need a week, month, and year into their role.