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How to attract top talent to your company



August 18, 2016

If you want gold medal swimmers to come to your pool and keep coming back to swim, you’re going to need a competition-sized pool with the perfect conditions to entice them. In other words, to attract top talent, you need the right balance of culture and competitive advantage that draws in an elite crowd and encourages them to stay. What does your company need to attract and retain the best talent?

First, let’s examine your potential talent pool. Over half of the current working population in the U.S. is between the ages of 25 and 54, more than two-thirds of whom graduated in the 1990s or later.  According to a recent LinkedIn study, these candidates tend to change companies more often than their predecessors, in some cases up to 3 times within the first five years after graduation. You are looking at a pool of people that are likely to swim a few laps and inevitably pool hop.  You need your company to not only attract the talent but also be so powerful that they will continue to swim for your team.


Graph via LinkedIn

There are a variety of reasons that have inspired this movement of jumping from job to job—or even career to career. Some people want to see what’s out there before committing to long term. The recent recession and lack of job security have also pushed along these jumpers. Upward movement and higher salary are also influencers. However, with great leadership, an inviting work environment, job security, and competitive benefits, you can break down that trend and fill your pool with a solid, steady roster of elite employees. Don’t worry, coach, you’ve got this. And you won’t even need to worry about getting splashed.

Give Them An Environment They Can’t Refuse

A work environment should be positive, encouraging, and fun. That’s right, forget that old mantra of “it’s not fun, that’s why they call it work,” and get ready to feel alive from 9 to 5. Just because it’s work, doesn’t mean it has to be a rough, draining experience. Foster an environment where your employees feel confident and appreciated, a place where ideas are cultivated and everyone feels part of the process. In an atmosphere where everyone is fulfilled and thriving, then general happiness level will be sure to rise. And it won’t be kept a secret by your crew.

Imagine being that company at a recruiting event that all of the potential candidates flock to because you have the type of people and environment that they are clamoring to work with. A company’s work culture is obvious right from the start.  Make that first impression one that is infectious, and soon, your pool will overflow with top notch prospectives.

Nulab's booth at the IF Conference this spring in NYC

Nulab shows its fun side at the IF Conference this past spring in NYC

Leadership Matters

Leadership is the ultimate driving force that shapes a company’s environment. Everything begins at the top, so it’s essential to have strong leadership. Forbes identifies good leaders as those who exhibit honesty, create a trusting atmosphere, find and exercise the strengths of their employees, communicate effectively, and those who represent a positive example by proving their commitment to the work and team. It is also not a good strategy to manage through a microscope. Micromanaging is counterproductive to many of these powerful leadership qualities by inhibiting people’s abilities and striking out trust.

Lendio, a company that has been named Utah Business Magazine’s “Best Companies to Work For” several years in a row, has a great approach to keeping micromanagement at bay. They put control into the hands of their employees, giving them the power to set their schedules in order to meet their goals. This creates a strong sense of trust, gives a boost of empowerment to the employees, and facilitates efficiency by allowing everyone to work to the best of their abilities and strengths.

Photo credit: nist6dh via VisualHunt / CC BY-SA

Photo credit: nist6dh via VisualHunt / CC BY-SA

Competitive Benefits

A solid candidate can apply to any big company, negotiate their desired salary, and receive an excellent benefits package with a 401k. But nowadays these target talents are looking for more than just competitive pay and quality health coverage. If your company offers up something unique, you’ll certainly catch the eyes of those thirsting for something more.  In this arena you don’t want to keep up with the Joneses, you want to reinvent the Joneses and offer unique, exclusive perks that set you apart from the competition.

Office kegs, ping pong tables, and weekly lunches, are some of the typical perks popping up in pioneering workplaces. But why not blaze the path further. Nulab offers its employees team dining experiences, their choice of personal office computer, and an annual trip to Japan for starters. More and more startups are toting a pet-friendly workplace, a perk that gives a paw up on recruiting qualified candidates. There’s a laundry list of out-of-the-ordinary benefits floating around companies lately, including unlimited paid time off, gym memberships, childcare, education subsidies, and on-site spa services, to name a few. Some companies offer so many benefits it’s a wonder how any work gets done. But it all trickles back into fostering a great environment. A happy workforce is just that, a force to be reckoned with.

Pivotal Labs in NYC offers a full kitchen with snacks, drinks, beer and more

Pivotal Labs in NYC offers a full kitchen with snacks, drinks, beer and more

Pivotal Labs in NYC offers a full kitchen with snacks, drinks, beer and more

Pivotal Labs, NYC, and its edible perks

The Retention (Talent) Pool

Now that your pool is full and these talents are making waves, you are going to want to keep them happily swimming. As mentioned earlier, job security and the desire for upward mobility are two factors pulling a majority of the workforce to different companies during their career. With this in mind, find ways to relieve your talented employees of the need to look elsewhere. One way to approach this is to invest in them. By offering your employees educational subsidies, it shows that you have a vested interest in their career and development. This not only provides a promise of the security of their job, but sheds light on a window of opportunity for future advancement within the company.

With strong leadership steering your business to an irresistible environment that percolates with perks, your future talent pool may soon flood with gallons of potential.

Cover Image Photo Credit: francistoms via Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC-ND


Forbes – Leadership

Forbes – Job Perks


Harvard Business Review



Bureau of Labor Statistics




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