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How to attract top performers to my business/team. (Article 1/3)

01 Nov 09:00 By Houman Bigloo


Have you ever experienced any of the following situations?

  • Offered a position to a strong talent and they turned it down last minute saying they have accepted another position? 
  • Advertised for a position and the quality of the candidates coming through was low despite the fact you used terms such as “vibrant and friendly culture”, “work and life balance” or “career developing opportunity” in your ad content?
  • You called an applicant and they could not remember which job you are referring to because they applied for tens of jobs?
  • Know a strong professional that you like to join your team, but despite all your efforts, they do not come back to you?

Don’t worry. You are not alone. 

At the end of the day, you are not the only one in the market who is interested in bringing high performing individuals to their business/team. But what can you do to stand out from your competitors so that your chosen candidates join you instead of them?

There are various steps you can take in order to lift your employer brand. In order to achieve that we need to learn what matters to high-performers, what influences them and how their decision-making process differs from active job seekers. 

In this article, we cover what matters to high performers. 

What Matters to them?

I will combine my personal observation from interviewing hundreds of professionals yearly (in our niche area) with general quantitive external research within the Australian market. 

Based on AHRI’s Turnover and Retention Report, 63.2% of employees stated the lack of career progression/opportunities as the main reason they left their position. This was followed by better pay elsewhere (48%), poor relationship with supervisor/manager (41.1%), lack of training and development opportunities (25.3%) and poor work and life balance (17.2%).

1. Career Progression

Whilst these statistics cover all industries in Australia, I believe they are applicable to the digital, design and marketing sectors as well. In my experience, high performers highly regard career growth and constantly developing their skill-set. It is time to ask yourself how your business and organisation can provide career progression to your prospective new employee in the position you have open? 

You will be surprised how many hiring managers say that they provide career progression, but when I ask them what they mean by that, they are not able to clarify their response. I highly recommend that you meet with all the decision-makers in the team and clarify how this position can grow over time. 

2. Competitive Salary 

Whilst a budget is allocated to any position, understanding the market rate for each job opportunity is essential. Salary expectations are constantly changing especially for markets that face candidate shortage. If you do not offer market rate, one of your competitors will. Even if a candidate does accept your position, and they are an in-demand talent, they can be easily head hunted in a few months and the cost of replacing them is usually much higher than the gap between the candidate’s salary and market rate. If you are not sure about market rates, you can download our salary guide here.

3. Training 

Training employees is one of the most important investment for a business/organisation. Here are a few reasons you should see training as an investment and not a cost:

You will be seen as a caring employer interested in the employee’s progression. 
Your employees' performance could improve and they can implement and share their learnings within the team.
You will have a track record to share with new employees.
It has a strong impact on staff retention. 
Not all training programs come at a high price. With online resources today there are many cost-effective training programs.

“The only thing worse than training your employees and having them leave is not training them and having them stay.”

Henry Ford

4. Adaptive leadership 

There are multiple articles about the importance of effective leadership and how to be a strong leader. Whilst this is a broad topic that can’t be squeezed in this article, I would like to touch on one of the most important traits that a manager/leader must-have. 

Every member of a team operates differently. Some show their best performance under strict instructions, some need freedom and others my perform best with clear KPIs. A strong leader needs to understand how to get the best out of each team member. In order to do that, they need to be adaptive in their communication, tone, approach and management style. As a result, managers who use the term “we have always done it this way” are not likely to retain high performers.

Taking an adaptive approach and understanding your team is extremely important as they act as your referee for the new employees. Whether you like it or not, people within the industry talk amongst themselves, and you do not want to build your reputation as a manager who is difficult to work with. 

5. Work and life balance

This is the 21st century and I don’t think I have to delve into this topic as much. The majority of the candidates that I interview, ask for work and life balance and flexibility when they are looking at a new position. Employee’s performance should be based on their output as opposed to input. These days, many organisations and companies understand the importance of this and offer future employees perks such as the ability to work from home (time to time), extra leave, late start times or early finish times, personal leave entitlements, RDO, etc. Of course, there are some customer-facing jobs that cannot offer that, however, all the mentioned are common in our industry. What are some of the perks that you are offering to secure high performers?

It is worth asking yourself if it is better to have someone at their desk for long hours with high-stress levels, no motivation, and average output or someone who is alert, rested and less stressed who brings their best to the table when they are with you?

Whilst all the mentioned points are important to most people, every individual has different motives, desires and lifestyle. As a result, when you come across a professional that you want within your team, be genuinely curious and by asking the right questions, identify what matters to them and see how you can accommodate that within your team and communicate that with them. 

In my next articles, I will cover what influences high performers and what their decision-making process is like. 

If you have any suggestions or questions do not hesitate to get in touch with me.