No matter the economic climate or the latest recruitment trends, the truth is that finding top talent is always a challenge. That’s because the best people are rarely out of work, except by choice. And whether you’re trying to lure them away from a competitor or their sailboat, your recruitment offering and employee experience need to be exceptional in order to attract and retain exceptional people.  

“Top talent always has—and always will have—options,” says Juliana Barela, Korn Ferry’s North America Vice President and General Manager for Recruitment Process Outsourcing. 

The difficulty of recruiting top talent is a tale as old as time. In 2018, we forecast that by 2030, a global skills and staff shortage would see 85 million positions unfilled. And given the current difficult state of recruitment and retention, this bleak prediction seems increasingly likely to be correct. 

How can you prevent your organization from becoming part of this statistic—and instead keep your positions filled with the right people, your staff aligned with your strategy, and your teams engaged and excited about your business?  

Finding the best people 

Before you start the search for your next strategic leader or innovative team member, you need to carefully consider what you need now—and what you’ll need in the future.  

You also need to consider the wider halo around the new hires—the effect you intend the leader or the team member to have on others around them in the organization. Do you need people to drive vision, bring new skills, enhance collaboration, create new processes or focus on execution? In other words, what are the organizational level impacts this person or team should achieve in their role? 

When you have a clear picture of what’s needed, the first place to look could be within. Who might be upskilled into this role? Next, consider those who left for a job with a competitor, went into a different field or took a short career break. Many people quit their jobs, even though they like the company. They might leave because there’s no room for career development, or so they can take some time out for familial responsibilities. If you can now offer them a more interesting proposition, they might be very happy to return. 

Try to think beyond the usual suspects. More diverse choices broaden your options, and interim talent could bring in bold and innovative thinking to challenge and change. 

Sealing the deal 

With a higher cost of living, financial compensation has become more important to attract top talent. Research for Korn Ferry’s Future of Work Trends report found that six in ten people would take a less satisfying job for higher pay. And it’s likely that this figure is higher in reality as not all respondents might be willing to admit that salary is important to them.  

But Ron Seifert, Korn Ferry Senior Client Partner, North America Workforce Reward and Benefits Leader, points out that an attractive hiring package isn’t just about money. Quality medical, dental and pension benefits can help seal the deal with top talent. And more than ever, recruits are looking for genuine flexibility, more vacation time, work-life boundaries and clear potential for career advancement. 

Offering a package that shows that you value, trust and respect your staff can make your company much more appealing, increasing the likelihood that potential hires will choose you over your competitors. 

“While you may be hiring people with high potential, unless they're engaged, you won't be able to unleash it.”

Keeping candidates engaged 

During the hiring process, you’ll have discussed the candidate’s career aspirations and shared with them the possible opportunities for career progress. But do you carry through with this after they’ve signed on the dotted line? Too often, the answer is no.  

Companies must work to make sure these development opportunities actually happen once they’ve joined the business. Barela says, “It’s about telling employees, ‘I care about where you want to grow within the company—and I know about your specific career goals’.” You need to show real understanding of their personal needs when discussing their goals and make clear your willingness to help them get there. 

 That could mean upskilling with training or allowing them to spread their wings.  “Give them the chance to take part in new strategic initiatives,” says Seifert. And while financial rewards are always welcome, including them in impressive company-funded destination experiences, where meaningful discussions are had away from the office, can make “top performers feel included and valued,” says Seifert. 

Meaningful experiences are helpful in building confidence in your people – the confidence that can help them seize the career opportunities you also need to provide. Korn Ferry research shows that only half of employees feel confident in their ability to achieve career objectives in their current role, and it’s up to leaders to create the opportunities for them to do that.  

It’s such an important way to keep your people engaged and fully aligned with the business’s strategic goals. And while you may be hiring people with high potential, unless they’re engaged, you won’t be able to unleash it.  

Employee engagement happens to be very good for your bottom line too. Our research finds that companies with top engagement scores had twice the net profit and 2.5 times the revenue growth of organizations with low scores.

“Our research finds that companies with top engagement scores had twice the net profit and 2.5 times the revenue growth of organizations with low scores.”

Knowledge empowers 

Crucial to all this is knowledge. First, knowledge of who you really need and the impact you want them to make. Second, knowledge of where you can find them, whether that’s out in the market, among former employees or via team referrals. Third, knowledge of the kind of culture and rewards they might be seeking. And finally, knowledge of your current people and what they need in terms of employee experience, rewards, upskilling and career growth. Without this information and understanding, you’ll find it increasingly challenging to find and keep top talent. 

Talent Acquisition

Finding talent that sees you through today and tomorrow

If you take the right initial steps towards securing the right talent, creating inspiring experiences and building journeys that unleash potential in your people and your business, it will create a cycle that makes it easier to do more of the same for the foreseeable future. “Top talent attracts top talent,” explains Barela. 

Are you ready to help your people join motivated—and stay motivated? Gain more insights in our Find and Keep Top Talent content.