May the Force Be With You: Pulling Top Talent Towards You
Record levels of low unemployment in parts of the country has created havoc among employers who can’t fill jobs fast enough, as magnetic leaders stand by and watch talent flock towards them. I bet you’re wondering what those leaders are serving in their organization that you’re not dishing out. I can tell you in two words—Magnetic Leadership.
Let’s be honest here. Companies are at a loss these days when it comes to attracting talent. Tales of what it’s really like to work for an organization are posted daily on sites like Glassdoor.com, where employees can anonymously leave reviews about their workplaces. As if that weren’t worrisome enough, former employees like Susan J. Fowler, who became an overnight sensation, much to the dismay of her former employer Uber, are posting their own tell-all tales.
Companies are spending crazy amounts of money on perks that don’t work, as employees continue to grow fat from free snacks and weary as a result of working for leaders who are repelling talent. Here’s what they should be doing instead.
Hiring and Promoting the Right People into Leadership Roles
Have you ever wondered why some people were ever promoted or hired into management? If so, you’re not alone. In my latest book, The Magnetic Leader: How Irresistible Leaders Attract Employees, Customers and Profits, I write about a recent TinyPulse NewYear Employee Report, where one thousand working Americans shared their workplace wishes for the New Year. Participants were asked what one thing they wished they could change about their manager. The second most popular answer was to have their manager quit!
This response aligns with what I see in my consulting practice. Many enthusiastic employees are working for managers who are unclear about how to connect with their people in a way that is memorable for the right reasons. That’s because all too often employees are promoted into positions without even being asked if they want to be in management. Other say yes to a management position, but do so for the wrong reasons. They see management as the only way to move up the career ladder.
I advise my clients to be very careful as to whom they let into their management ranks. People don’t work for companies. They work for people. The easiest and least expensive way to hire talent is to have them come to you. That’s exactly what happens when word spreads about how great it is to work with some of your leaders.
Provide development opportunities for your people
I’m still surprised in this day and age how little companies are investing in the development of their people. I suspect it’s because they have no idea how much it’s costing them, not to do so.
Workers today, especially younger workers, have career development high on their wish list. Companies that are doing a great job of providing development opportunities for their people are having a much easier time attracting talent than those who are not.
Career development comes in different shapes and sizes, which is a good thing, as this levels the playing field for small and mid-size companies and enables them to compete with the big guys. Suppose you can’t afford a full-blown leadership development program. You could instead, set aside monies for your people to attend industry conferences. You might also choose to hire someone to facilitate group coaching sessions for your managers. Here’s a secret that many people don’t know. Authors of newly published books are often willing to come speak to your employees in exchange for a commitment to purchase books for all your people. This is a great way to provide on-site development opportunities, without breaking the bank.
In my book, The Magnetic Leader, I write about Raymond Pawlicki, former CIO of Biogen. Throughout his career, Pawlicki rarely paid a third-party agency fee for talent. He didn’t have to because he was known as someone who others wanted to work for.
Pawlicki would make it a point to speak everywhere. He’d present at conferences and would speak to students as college clubs. He never turned down a request for an informational interview. He was frequently quoted in the media. His reputation for being a magnetic leader helped him attract top talent that would stick around. This talent would follow him from one place of employment to another.
Think about what you can do to increase your visibility. Volunteer to take a leadership role in your local industry association group. Establish relationships with college professors who can provide you with introductions to those who will be soon entering the world of work.
Attracting top talent these days is doable if you’re willing to do the work. My hope is that you are. May the force be with you as you explore how to best expand your solar system of talent!