Named Founder Friendly Investors 2021 & 2022 by Inc.
Patrick Floeck - April 20, 2023
Attracting top talent has a direct link with business performance. But it takes some serious work, as top talent is exceedingly rare. In fact, only 2–5% of employees are truly high performers.
While 78% of organizations view building the capabilities of their staff as crucial, just 30% feel they are doing so effectively, McKinsey found. Yet some companies are maintaining a highly talented staff despite these challenges. For example, Toyota and Cisco Systems have long retained a diverse staff of top-level employees due to their exceptional employer brands that prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Let’s look more closely at why you need top talent, followed by how to attract and retain them.
Staffing your organization with top talent provides the following major benefits.
Empowering talented employees to voice innovative ideas can lead to groundbreaking solutions. Often employees see customers’ needs more clearly than leaders, for instance. In fact, a popular approach called kaizen focuses on drawing creative insights from frontline employees. (Toyota’s commitment to this concept actually popularized it.) A diverse staff of talented employees will deliver more of these creative insights grounded in their rich perspectives.
High-performing employees are 400 times more productive than average performers, research has found. And in highly complex jobs, like management and software development, they can be a whopping 800% more productive.
Further, the top 1% of employees produce 10% of the outcomes for an organization, and the top 5% create 26% of the outcomes.
These productive employees spend less time correcting mistakes and struggling to figure out what to do. Instead, they charge forward to solve problems. They steer their teams in the right direction as well, demonstrating strong leadership. Their presence on a team can streamline processes and reduce wasted time, energy, and resources because they help everyone to channel their efforts in the right direction.
Hiring top talent can also improve a company’s image, reinforcing its desired brand. Customers, clients, and potential leads will see the company as a leader in its field based on the level of skill and service its employees provide. In this way, top talent can help businesses establish themselves as industry leaders.
Plus, having top talent is a virtuous cycle. As prospective candidates look at who works for a company, they’ll be impressed by the level of talent they see. Consequently, they’ll view the company as having an environment and culture where they can grow and thrive.
Hiring and retaining top talent can greatly boost overall employee satisfaction. Why? Talented employees can inspire and motivate their colleagues. Plus, talented employees themselves tend to feel more fulfilled because they’re using their full potential, actively building skills, and gaining recognition. This makes their work more engaging, and when they inspire others to do the same, everyone becomes more fulfilled.
According to a recent Accenture survey, four factors most influence employees’ job satisfaction:
Having these factors in place “unlocks two-thirds of a person’s potential at work,” says Ellyn Shook, chief leadership and human resources officer at Accenture, in a Time interview.
Ultimately, all these benefits deliver a sizable competitive advantage. By hiring top talent and retaining them over time, a company can stay ahead of the competition. Over the long term, strong recruitment and development practices will help a company maintain a team of all-stars that accomplishes more than its competitors.
Now, let’s review exactly how to recruit top talent.
Tips for Attracting & Hiring Top Talent
Using the most effective recruitment strategies and practices will identify the most qualified candidates and attract them to your company.
Hire for potential, not just existing skills. Smart people who are fast learners and creative thinkers can build the necessary skills quickly. Assess their natural abilities across these five dimensions, urges Gallup:
If they are naturally driven and proactive, collaborate well, have a workstyle that works for them and the team, and show good judgment, they are likely to be a good candidate.
For example, Deloitte often hires top candidates who don’t fit a specific list of job criteria but have an exceptional mix of soft and technical skills. These highly adaptable employees can excel in any number of roles.
Using recruiting technology and tools, which are constantly evolving, can streamline your process.
For example, an applicant tracking system will help you create a good first impression with a smooth interview experience. It will prompt you to take specific actions when needed, set appointments, and sort and identify top talent.
Current employees know who would fit into their culture. Their recommendations are likely to be on point, so ask for them! Provide incentives that encourage them to urge qualified friends and acquaintances to apply.
Design interview questions to identify top talent.
Structure interviews as a conversation, treating them like an equal.
Have a strong offer, including a benefits package, ready to deploy. After interviewing an outstanding candidate, quickly review your offer and tailor it to their specific needs.
After recruiting top talent, focus on developing them so they can achieve their fullest potential.
Providing the right professional development and growth opportunities will help talented employees to thrive, delivering even more value and feeling more satisfied. In turn, they’ll be more loyal to your company. Let’s examine some methods for identifying and supporting top talent within your organization.
By securing the right talent and giving them an outstanding employee experience, you’ll greatly boost organizational success. Talented employees may not stay with your company forever, but that’s okay. By focusing on creating an outstanding employee experience, you’ll build a satisfied employee alumni network that will speak highly of your company, drawing in other talented recruits over the long term.