HR & Management

5 tips to hire the right people, no matter your company's size

3 min read

02 October 2014

You don't have to be the largest company to attract the best staff. Here is how fast-growing businesses can hire and retain the best people.

Talent is the single biggest differentiator to corporate performance today but too often companies find themselves in a recruitment rut. 

HR departments sift through endless CVs and management teams look for extra money to lure the right people in – only to see their effort going to waste when star employees leave. 

Home-grown UK companies with domestic and regional operations are a particular group at risk. They employ over a third of UK workers but the proportion of people with an active preference for working at a local-based firm is lower. 

How can Britain’s growing businesses hire and retain the best people – not losing out to bigger competitors with deeper pockets?

Here are five top tips, proffered by Jean Martin, executive director at advisory firm CEB:

1) Get your offer right
Many businesses wrongly assume that money is the only workforce motivator that truly matters. In fact, the top three factors cited by UK employees as most important when considering a new job are work-life-balance, location and stability.

2) 80/20 – the right split of delivery and promise
Setting out your stall to prospective employees in the right way is vital but don’t put all your energies into creating the ideal proposition at the expense of actually delivering it. The best companies focus 80 per cent of their efforts on delivering promises to employees and 20 per cent on defining and managing their value proposition to staff – not the other way round.

3) Be honest
Today’s labour market is transparent and candidates will find out what the worst, as well as the best, things are about working for your company. To avoid rejected offers and mass departures, be upfront about the challenges – for instance if you cannot pay the highest salary – but emphasize the positives.

4) Look out for the passive candidate
Passive candidates – those not actively looking for a new job – make up around half the global workforce. They are more likely to ignore recruitment calls and will be harder to get on board but you can still tap into this pool indirectly – for instance through their family and friends who might be your current employees or alumni. Your efforts will be rewarded. Once hired, former passive candidates are 25 per cent more likely to stay on and become your best performers.

5) Don’t spread yourself too thin
The average organisation uses at least 15 sourcing channels for recruitment but just 13 per cent of companies report that all of their channels are effective. With a glut of potential options such as job ads in the paper, brochures, social media, trade associations, dedicated blogs and other areas, don’t spread your efforts too thin. UK candidates still predominantly use headhunters and recruitment agencies to find out about new opportunities.