May 25, 2018

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14 New Ideas for Attracting and Retaining Top Talent

A recent study conducted by the Gallup Organization revealed that 59 percent of managers name their biggest problem to be the challenge of finding and training enough good employees to fill present and future needs. While lower unemployment rates certainly make attracting talent a daunting task, it’s no excuse for weak recruiting. In order to succeed in this competitive market, you must leverage your most important intellectual asset, your creativity.

Here are 14 innovative ideas for attracting and retaining top talent by separating yourself from your competitors in the minds of prospective employees.

  1. Give something away.
    If you’re having trouble hiring nurses, offer to give a free seminar on how your company is innovating new methods for nursing in healthcare. People will come, listen, be impressed, and want to work for you.

  2. Set up a free lemonade stand.
    If your office is in a high traffic area, set one of these up outside your building and hand out employment ads and business cards to everyone who takes a free cup. The free press alone will draw hundreds of applicants.

  3. Hold a contest.
    Every month for the most employee referrals. You don’t have to spend a lot of money. Just buy an oversized, obnoxious trophy to pass around and make sure you recognize the winner in front of the whole company.

  4. Compete, but be nice.
    Publicly announce a competition between your company and another company to see who can pamper their employees the most. Send out press releases about the wild things you do to treat them like royalty.

  5. Try something out of the ordinary.
    A lady in New Jersey had a litter of cute kittens and sold them for $100 a piece in one day by putting an ad in the paper that said “Ugly Kittens $100.” She later said she could have charged much more.

  6. Use “Napolean Dynamite” or “Deal or No Deal” or “American Idol”.
    Incorporate something timely and intriguing in your recruiting. Marketers are always using this trick to attract attention.

  7. Become slightly famous.
    Write a book, give a speech, write an article. Our society is attracted to experts. Become an expert and people will be interested in working for you.

  8. Offer free tickets.
    Businesses spend big bucks to wine and dine potential clients, but won’t be able to service them without enough talented employees. Invest in 4 season tickets to the Louisville Bats and give them away to anyone you consider for a second interview. It’ll pay serious dividends.

  9. Use smart messages.
    Three large furniture stores shared one building and were constantly competing with each other. To increase sales, the store on the left hung a huge banner that said “50% Off, Everything must Go!” To fight back, the store on the right hung a sign that said “Wall to Wall Clearance, Lowest Prices Ever!” After seeing the two signs hung by his competitors, the savvy store owner in the middle hung a small sign above his door that said “Enter Here.”

  10. Start an employee marketing newsletter.
    Email newsletters are the cheapest form of mass marketing. If you already have a newsletter, start adding articles that anyone would like to read about advancing their career. Encourage your employees to forward them to friends and allow anyone to sign up for them on your web site. Build your brand with candidates just like you would with prospective clients.

  11. Start a picket line.
    Ever notice people downtown picketing against companies for unfair wages, discrimination, etc? Of course you do, everyone does. Picket lines are very effective at attracting attention. Why not start a picket line of your own, holding up signs about why your company provides such great benefits, a unique environment, and other advantages. People will take notice and you’ll probably get some free press as well.

  12. Add a link to your open jobs in your email signature.
    If your company is sending 1,000 emails a day, that’s 1,000 opportunities to get the message out about your open positions. Free advertising is the best kind!

  13. Offer and advertise unique benefits.
    Car grooming, fruit in the break room, doggie day-care, golf lessons, public speaking courses, dry cleaning pick-up, or anything else you can dream up. The key to doing this successfully is creating benefits that really make your employees lives better without breaking the bank.

  14. Make it real.
    Don’t just advertise a great place to work, deliver one! This idea alone is worth all the others combined.

Start thinking about recruiting like you think about marketing and you’ll see a big difference in your results. And remember, the point of this isn’t to come up with a gimmick to trick people into working for you, but to create somewhere unique where people love to be. Once you’ve got that down, just spread the word about what you’ve built. If you build it, they will come.

Want more ideas? Send me an e-mail with the words “More Ideas Please” in the subject line and I’ll send you 11 more.

- Mike Nacke

Mike Nacke is the Director of Business Development for the Louisville office of PrideStaff, a national staffing firm that specializes in recruiting accounting and administrative professionals for top organizations. For more information visit