As MarketWatch reports, in November 2018, Jordan Bradford left the association-management firm she had been with for five years in search of a better-paying job. She found one — but she soon realized she was still being underpaid. So, within six months, Bradford was on the job hunt again. Less than a year after accepting that second role, she once again switched firms, netting herself a $22,000 raise in the process.
Stories like Bradford’s are becoming more common, and more employers are finding they have to open up their wallets to attract the candidates they want. While the arrival of COVID-19 has shaken up the job market in unexpected ways, the days of an employee sticking with one company forever were over long before that happened, and it’s unlikely they’ll return any time soon.
As professionals take a more dynamic approach to their careers, companies often end up trapped in a seemingly endless cycle of recruiting and replacing talent. Many employers are now wondering: “How can we recruit missionaries who will stick around, rather than mercenaries who will be lured away by companies offering higher pay? Is that even still possible?”
Is Loyalty Gone?
For years now, recruiters and hiring managers have seen the stigma around job hopping lessening. Indeed, earlier this year, the number of US employees who voluntarily quit their jobs was at a 15-year high.
But there’s no need to panic; the sky is not falling, and professional loyalty isn’t dead. First, it’s important to understand that employee turnover rates are still relatively low compared to the ’80s and ’90s. Second, there are still plenty of ways to attract those missionary employees to your organization.
Own Who You Are!
Our first recommendation is to own who you are! Empty statements, trendy recruiting jargon, and lofty rhetoric seldom work. You also don’t need a fridge filled with a dozen flavors of sparkling water to attract great talent.
Start by articulating the pain points your company is addressing in today’s economy. Your company doesn’t need to be revolutionizing the world. In fact, simple descriptions are often the most effective ones. Trader Joe’s, for example, emphasizes that it provides good food coupled with friendly and fun service — and the company reports employee turnover rates well below the industry average.
The next step is to talk about what would truly excite someone in this role. Don’t paint an overly rosy picture. Instead, provide a simple and truthful description of what would motivate the right person in this role.
Too many companies focus on buzzwords to position their firms and roles as great opportunities; we can’t tell you how many bureaucratic companies we’ve seen inaccurately describing themselves as “entrepreneurial,” just because they think this makes them sound en vogue. Wouldn’t you want a strong candidate who could see through that kind of smokescreen? If they couldn’t, would you really respect their judgment after you’ve hired them?
Instead of trying to be good enough for all candidates, focus on trying to be a great fit for a smaller segment of candidates. If all you can offer is vague Kool-Aid like “In this role, you’ll have tons of exposure to senior management, and you’ll get a lot of responsibility,” you will be competing for talent with every other company spouting similar jargon.
Emphasize how your company is different from others in your field. For example, as Netflix’s former chief talent officer Patty McCord explains in her book, Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility, Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos knew he couldn’t attract top-tier talent by tying to sell candidates on the company’s “game-changing-model” or just talking about how amazing this opportunity would be.
Most senior executives in Hollywood are good at that sort of pitch. Instead, Sarandos focused on identifying the best creative talent who could also execute their visions. He then gave them enormous freedom unheard of among the larger Hollywood studios. While traditional studios would, for instance, require all shows to go through a painful pilot process, Netflix would greenlight producers to create full seasons almost immediately. Orange Is the New Black (we were hooked on this show for one season too many) was approved before it even had a script. As McCord writes, of Sarandos’s bold new approach “has been the greatest differentiator between Netflix and the Hollywood studios” in attracting top-tier talent. Read more here…