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How to Recruit and Retain Top Talent in 2021

In 2021 the landscape for recruitment is much different to what it was about 40 years ago. In the 70s and 80s, the trend was that people decided what they wanted to do, studied or gained experience, then got a job in that industry and aimed to get promotion after promotion until they retired.

The game of ‘Life’ was pretty consistent.

This has now completely shifted. The average person will change their ‘career’ between three and seven times before they retire. People are also generally more educated than ever before. This has created some interesting and unique situations.

Recruiting top talent straight out of university

For example, the standard pre-requisite for an entry-level job used to be a BA. However, in some developed nations like France, there is such a large portion of the population with a BA that the new standard pre-requisite for an entry-level position is a Masters Degree. 

A benefit of having such a highly educated workforce, who also have a broader range of skills and experiences, is that for companies, it means the potential for recruiting the best possible person for the job is even higher.

So how do you recruit and retain the top talent in 2021? What are some strategies for attracting potential hires? How do you identify potential and lessen staff turnover? Read on to find out all this and more. 

Strategies for Attracting & Retaining Top Talent

A red for hire sign

Attracting and recruiting the best possible talent for your team has become more difficult in the past couple of years.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic changed the landscape, many developed nations were already experiencing relatively low unemployment rates. This meant it was highly likely that the best talent already had full-time employment, possibly with one of your competitors. 

Since Covid, although there might be more people looking for work than before, it’s still apparent that the talent pool available to you is tight. Covid has also led to many employees changing their priorities. Employees look more closely at the entire package on offer when considering a new role or a company switch. 

To attract and retain top talent in 2021, companies need to give their candidates a great experience throughout the hiring process. They also need to follow through with any promises of benefits, perks or salary increases after a candidate has been hired. 

Offer Competitive Salaries

An up-close picture of a person holding several monetary notes

This might sound like a ‘no-brainer’, but many recruiters don’t quite manage to grasp how to do this effectively.

In 2021, potential employees are far more likely to do thorough research on your company and their industry before they have even submitted a job application. 

Employees know that the talent pool has begun to shrink for many companies in recent years. This has provided job seekers with more leverage when it comes to potential salaries.

To attract the best staff, you need to understand that wages are incredibly important. 

It’s not just about offering more money to a potential hire; it’s also about being transparent.

Employees also need to know that salary progressions might be possible and that they are being paid at least the same as another person with the same skill level and qualifications.

You can’t rely on the old-world attitude that employees won’t talk about money with each other anymore; websites like glassdoor have changed that. 

Provide Unique Benefits

Several office staff collaborating at work

To set yourself apart from a competitor, you need to offer potential hires more than just a bigger monthly pay packet. Unique benefits can range from extended paid time off, bonuses, and more access to paid parental leave.

It’s essential to ensure that the talent you are trying to secure understands that you appreciate your employees. This can be done by paying attention to the kinds of benefits you are offering. 

The key is to think about things you could offer a potential hire to help them have an excellent work-life balance. For example, paying for a gym membership for employees or offering to cover some professional development costs might set you apart from another potential employer.

Focus on Diversity

An artistic symbolism of diversity with two hands holding each other

Diversity in the workplace has become one of the most important topics of the past few years. The level of diversity in the workplace is undoubtedly something potential hires will pay attention to when investigating a new position. 

Companies that take the time to focus on diversity and inclusion stand to attract a more extensive range of experience and knowledge from their employees, as well as a higher level of employee satisfaction

Create Remote Working

A work zoom call on a laptop with a mug of coffee

The Covid-19 pandemic changed a lot about our attitudes to work. One of the most significant cultural shifts during this time was that we now look at remote work differently. 

We now know that remote work doesn’t mean a drop in employee output; in fact, employers have discovered that allowing people to work from home has actually increased production in many cases.

Allowing remote work or even operating under a hybrid model can also mean that you aren’t limiting your potential hire pool to just one geographic location.

Remote working will enable you to employ the best talent from anywhere in the world. 

Use Social Media in Your Recruitment

A close up of a white iPhone homescreen on a white background

Studies have recently shown that 79% of candidates use social media to search for a job.

So it makes sense that in a world where the average person spends two and a half hours on social media every day, this is where they would also look for job opportunities.

Taking the time to develop a social media strategy when searching for talent will definitely give you an overall advantage.

After all, where do you think an employee will spend their time when they’re thinking about looking for another job?  

Offer Continuous Learning

A person learning from home

Skills, industries and practices are constantly changing and evolving, so we should be able to as well.

In many situations, employees have spent a significant amount of time, and in some cases, a large sum of money gaining education to help them enter the job market. So why should we expect people to cease their learning journey once they get a job? 

Future-proofing positions is essential for businesses to keep a competitive edge.

To do this, it’s necessary for companies to help their employees to develop their skills and expand their knowledge. 

Offering continuous learning is a great way to attract talent, retain it, and make sure your employees can evolve and change as the industry and technology do. 

Build an Employee-Focused Culture

Building an employee-focused culture with two staff members laughing

If you take the time to think about the things that are important to your employees and try to address those within the workplace, you are more likely to increase employee satisfaction and retention.

Employees have always had needs and wants out of their jobs, but it has only been recently that they have been able to demand these from employers. The bottom line is that if you need talented staff, unfortunately, it’s not really a ‘buyer’s market.’

This doesn’t mean employers need to feel powerless or cater to every employee’s specific need. It simply means that if you shift your culture to show appreciation for your staff and understand their career goals and lifestyle needs, you are set to increase your employee retention. 

Happy people don’t quit their jobs, and employees who feel appreciated will consistently outperform those who don’t. 

The Importance of Effectively Communicating Your Company’s Missions and Values

A person holding a company mission statement

Before you post a job listing, it’s essential to map out your workplace’s most integral skills and core values.

Define the missions and values of your company and then aim to fill any available positions around these instead of just finding one employee to replace another. 

If you can effectively communicate your core needs and values when hiring, you’re more likely to attract talent who align perfectly with your company.

When employees are more aligned with the company’s core values, they are far more likely to thrive.

Always remember that when you are recruiting for your company, you’re selling your company to potential employees. The more transparent you are about your needs and values, the better. 

Why You Should Involve Employees in Recruitment

Involving employees in the recruitment process with a we want you sign

When employees are engaged and satisfied, not only do they tend to stay with a company longer, they can also help to recruit new talent. 

It’s often been said that it’s much easier to fill a position from within than to do so externally, but when you involve employees in the recruitment process, you also have access to their social and work circles too. 

Some companies use recruitment incentives to help attract the best talent.

The basic principle behind this is that if a position becomes available and someone within the company recommends a candidate who lands the job, they are given a financial bonus. 

A great benefit of this is that your employees know what kind of person would work in specific positions within the company. It can also help to enhance the feeling of teamwork within the office.

How to Identify Top Talent

A magnifying glass resting on a laptop keyboard

It’s one thing to make sure you have all the necessary things in place to attract and retain top talent, but what can you do as a recruiter to spot it in the first place? 

Identifying Employee Potential

Identifying top talent with two members of staff discussing at work

High potential employees are precious to businesses. When it comes to performance and cost-saving, they are about 91% more valuable than non-high potential employees.

They usually increase productivity in teams simply by just being there.

Generally speaking, having just one high potential employee on a team can boost productivity in other team members by up to 15%.

However, there is a difference between a high performing employee and an employee with high potential.

The trick to get the most out of a high potential worker is to identify strengths, attributes, or values they haven’t fully developed yet and nurture those through experience and professional development. 

If you take the time to invest in your employees, you will reap the rewards. 

Spotting High-Resilience Individuals

A Scrabble board with high resilience words

High-resilient individuals are basically like the ‘old buildings’ of a workplace. You know the kind of building I mean. It’s been through earthquakes, floods and hurricanes and is still standing all these years later. 

They don’t tend to crack under pressure. They are resourceful, adaptable and rarely take things personally. High-resilience workers are basically the swiss army knives of employees. 

This doesn’t mean they are machines, quite the opposite, in fact.

Most often, high-resilience workers have an exceptional degree of emotional empathy and intelligence. 

They are able to separate themselves emotionally from stressful situations and see that the pressure is just temporary. This typically allows them to operate with a sense of clarity that others cannot achieve because their judgement is too clouded by anxiety. 

There’s no definite way to assess the resilience of a potential employee, but you can include some questions when you interview them to get a bit of insight on the matter.

Questions you could ask: 

  • Are you a good listener?
  • How empathetic are you with other people?
  • Do you have a good sense of intuition, and how often do you trust it?
  • How good are you at reading people and situations?
  • Are you able to take a negative experience and find something positive about it?
  • Have difficult experiences in your life helped make you a stronger person?
  • Do you tend to see problems as just temporary?
  • Can you improvise when something doesn’t work out the way you planned?
  • Would you say you are pretty self-confident?

Assessing Work Culture Compatibility

A compatible work culture as employees happily collaborate at work closely together

This is about determining if the current culture of your workplace is compatible with the needs of a potential employee. You might have found the perfect candidate, but if you’re not on the same page when it comes to work culture, they might not stay with you for long. 

For example, if your potential hire is looking for a role that provides a great work-life balance, and your company is filled with people who regularly work overtime and never ask for compensation; either the culture of your workplace will need to change, or you need to look for an employee who fits with the one you already have. 

Assessing Relevant Credentials

A square academic hat on a girls head at a graduation ceremony

This sounds pretty straightforward. You state in the job listing that the applicant must have a certain level of education and experience. However, if you really want to find the best talent for the position, it’s important to look into the credentials you have asked for. 

You might be looking for someone to join your marketing team. You need them to have a BA and three years of experience in the industry, but it’s also worth checking if those three years of experience genuinely place them ahead of someone who just graduated last summer. 

They might have worked in a marketing position for the past three years, but were they continuing to learn about marketing trends or just writing ad copy?

Assessing relevant credentials is also about trusting that if you have employed someone as a specialist in a particular department, it’s ok that they know more about it than you.

Many highly skilled workers leave positions because their supervisor cannot put their ego aside and acknowledge that someone they have employed to do a specific task can actually do that task better than them. 

How Swapp Agency Can Help You Recruit and Retain Top Talent

Swapp Agency Logo

At every step of your recruitment process, Swapp Agency can offer tips, expertise and invaluable connections. Think of Swapp Agency as an incredibly well-connected friend who just happens to know everyone you might want to work for you. 

Founded in 2016, the Swapp Agency mission was based initially on the concept of being a bridge between the incredible talent available in Iceland with the rest of the world. Swapp Agency is connected to some of the most skilled workers and experts in a myriad of industries. 

So if you are looking for some skilled employees, would like to benefit from the booming gig economy or investigate expanding your business into Iceland, Swapp Agency has the connections and knows how to get you off to a flying start. 

Conclusion

A red for hire sign resting on a black metal object

We are currently living in an exciting time for both employers and employees. Cultures are shifting, and technologies are changing the way we work and thrive. It’s also an incredibly competitive time to be operating in business. Those who understand that a company is only as good as its employees will always stand head and shoulders above the rest.