Then craft your elevator pitch!

OK, so you’re standing alone in a lift and guess who just slipped in beside you? It’s them! Immediately recognisable - the one you were all talking about at the last board/SMT meeting (you do talk about the importance of finding and securing the best people in you industry right?)

Well here’s your chance. You’re both headed for the 6th floor and you’ve got about 10 seconds per floor – your job is to be able to sell/showcase your business in the most compelling of ways.

It’s game on to ensure that by the time you’re stepping out to go about your day – that person is in possession of your business card and is excited about the invitation to meet you for coffee to get into a little more detail.

From SEMTA to PwC, the CIPD, BIS and wherever else you look – we’re all being told what we already know; competing for outstanding people is tough, and isn’t going to get any easier - anytime soon.

As recruiters – the fact is this; the story we go out into the market to tell – is only ever as good as the story we’re given to tell. So what is it? And is it good enough?

We’ve all seen the classic copy and paste - lame, defunct, lazy and ultimately ineffective ‘strategy’ of….
  • Competitive salary
  • Established business
  • Excellent benefits
  • Superb facilities
  • Attractive bonus scheme
  • Training
  • Yadda yadda……
Like, what sort of business CAN’T offer these as standard? The best candidates are already immune to the ordinary – unless you’re simply looking to recruit a whole bunch of average?

To get a feel for where a business might need to be – let’s interrogate it as follows:

Part 1

‘Tell me what you consider to the top five genuinely stand out attributes of your business – the kind of things that are going to turn the heads of those candidates that will give your business the best possible chance of competing with the best in class?’

Part 2

A – Can you name five?
B – What deep motivations in the best candidates do they satisfy?
C – Would your existing team recognise them – in other words are they real?

This exercise is one of the essential building blocks of effective talent attraction and engagement. Get this right and everything will be a relative breeze.

Win/Win strategies – 100% satisfaction and 100% performance
My starting point when helping business’s develop effective strategy for talent retention and engagement is to produce a detailed long term Vision (what) and support Plan (how) for the delivery of the business’s aspirations.

Next stage - translate this plan into the meaningful and significant opportunities for those already investing their careers with the business and what it also provides for those that the business hopes to attract to drive and deliver growth.

Without this what are we asking the employee or would be employee to actually subscribe to? A J.O.B? Big deal.

Anything less will feel like what it is – flimsy, superficial and improvised and at the end of the day, not good enough. Unless, of course, you’re resigned to hiring mediocre and guess what? Mediocre businesses are populated by mediocre people.

Let’s do things better – as standard. Think of key motivational factors such as:
  • Reward
  • Achievement
  • Security
  • Power
  • Affiliation
  • Fulfilment
Mapping your plan to these drivers is easy, IF the business invests the time to get its strategy right and sees the merits and benefits of doing so.

Some businesses fall into the trap of thinking having a vision, strategic plan, clear career pathways and stimulating and fun development plans for their people as being the domain of more sophisticated businesses – something they’ll do ‘when we become a bigger business’.

The paradox of course is that they’re less likely to grow in any meaningful way without high performance people, being nurtured, developed and motivated to deliver over the long term.

Any HR professional will tell you; candidates are less inclined to respond to the same old – if anything, they’re becoming emboldened – asking themselves ‘what can you do for me, my career, my family, future and ambition?’

The old ‘contracts’ of:
  1. A fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work
  2. Job for life
 Are not simply good enough - and for the top 10% of talent, a major turn off.

 What the best people in today’s market are turned on to include: 
  • Mature, adult culture that supports their ambitions to develop
  • A spirit of joint enterprise – their skills and potential unleashed in a business for mutual gain
  • A journey that they can embark on for the long term that supports their life goals
  • Flexibility, openness and a meritocracy
  • Clear headroom to move forward and up
  • Leadership that walks the walk not simply boss’s and instructs
  • Open, clear and honest communication
  • An ability to contribute beyond the confines of the role
  • A challenging, stimulating work environment  
  • Peers with something about them (the best people KNOW that the businesses accommodate dross)
So what to do?

Most of what I’ve written here is either free or inexpensive to achieve. Of course the choice is, as always, yours.
It depends what you want to be as a leader, employer, manager or business.

Be anything you want to be – but for your business’s sake – please do not be ordinary.

Steven Street
Group Managing Director