5 Tips to Make Your Company Tempting to Top Talent


To today’s talent, money isn’t everything. In fact, it’s not even in their top three.

When Korn Ferry surveyed 5,000 professionals about what motivated them to look for a new job, the management consulting company found that a third of them — the most of any reason — simply wanted a new challenge. Almost as many, at 24 percent, cited cultural misalignment, while 21 percent pointed to a predicted future job loss.

So how did salary score? Less than one in five of those surveyed struck out in search of more money.

Tips to Make Your Company Tempting to Top Talent

Challenges and culture are broad categories, of course. How, exactly, do cream-of-the-crop candidates want to be challenged and supported?

1. Diverse and inclusive co-workers

Compared to previous generations, Millennial job seekers are significantly more likely than their peers to place a premium on diversity and inclusion. According to research conducted by the Institute for Public Relations and Weber Shandwick, 47 percent of them consider it an important criterion in their search.

So what can employers do to signal that they’re invested in diversity? A Stellares study suggests that they start by making their hiring team more representative of traditionally marginalized groups, citing a strong correlation between the composition of the hiring team and the diversity of the company as a whole. The study found when 50 percent of the HR team is people of color, company diversity increases to 30 percent people of color on non-leadership teams and 22 percent people of color on the leadership team.

2. Free office snacks and meals

When you think about companies that everyone wants to work for, which ones come to mind? Apple? Google? Pixar? Those three companies all provide a perk practically every living being can agree on: free food.

Why are top employers shelling out for office snacks and meals? Because companies like NatureBox have convincingly tied them to increased employee productivity and retention. NatureBox Executive Chairman John Occhipinti notes that high-stress entrepreneurial environments can cause workers to stress eat. When employees’ only workplace snack options are stale chips or fast food, they often choose here-and-now calories over healthier options.

3. A culture of feedback

Although employee engagement firm Officevibe found that 82 percent of employees appreciate feedback, whether it’s positive or negative, top talent is particularly interested in it. High performers become that way because they seek out advice from others about what they already do well and how they can improve.

Companies freely provide feedback can be tough to spot from afar, but there are a few ways employers can stand out. To reflect its “respectfully blunt” company value, Sports technology company Hudl settled on the hashtag #RealTalk. Hudl workers use #RealTalk for candid conversations between themselves and their managers.

4. Off-site work options

Yahoo, Bank of America, and Aetna may have called back their remote workers, but that doesn’t mean workers themselves have fallen out of love with flexible work arrangements. In fact, Gallup research shows that 35 percent of workers would change jobs for the ability to work off-site on a full-time basis, while 51 percent would do so for flextime, or the ability to set their own hours within limits.

Those numbers might not seem so significant by themselves, but consider the proportion of employers that offer each perk. Gallup pointed out that just 12 percent of employers offered full-time remote work, a 23 percentage point gap from those who’d change for the perk. Flextime may be more popular overall, but 44 percent of employers already offer it, indicating less opportunity for differentiation.

5. Volunteer time off

One of the latest trends in the employee benefits space is volunteer time off, or paid time off earmarked particularly for volunteerism. LaSalle Benefits President Bill Gimbel ranked VTO among the benefits employees appreciate most in 2018, and the data backs him up. More than three in four Millennials consider a company’s environmental and social policies when evaluating it as a potential employer, a Cone Communications study showed.

To showcase a VTO policy, encourage team members to wear company clothing while volunteering and share photos on social media. Be sure, too, that company leaders take part. When a Namely’s New York City office coordinator organized a card-writing event to benefit hospitalized children, CFO Dan Murphy pitched in to make cards. Executive buy-in shows that the company, rather than just a single person, is committed to the effort.

Salary still matters to job seekers, to be sure, but it’s not the deciding factor that employers sometimes assume it is. In truth, top talent wants what we all do: to have new experiences, to help others, and to be treated like a valuable part of the team.

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