Organizations can have the best talent acquisition team and still be ineffective. You can offer the best benefits, the most perks and the best opportunities and still not be able to move the needle. At the end of the day, nothing recruits and retains top talent like the leaders for any organization. If you find yourself treading water, you may need to ask yourself: Do we have the right leaders to recruit the level of talent we need?
There are a couple of ways to determine if your leadership team has what it takes to recruit and retain top talent:
- Lower Turnover– In comparison to their peer group, top notch leaders tend to have better retention of top performing employees. They know what it takes to engage, empower and improve their team members to reach higher, ultimately benefiting the firm. One firm I worked with used the Gallop survey results to identify their top engaged employee groups to better the differentiator. The result? Employees stated their leadership team inspired them to do more and made them feel valued. It’s no surprise that the turnover rates for these groups were significantly lower than similar job families in the organization.
- Higher Internal Promotion– True leaders have an innate, almost primal passion to develop their team members. They work with them to develop detailed and executable development plans as a core function of their role. Unlike most managers, leaders will regularly meet with their team members to discuss progress and hold them accountable for their own growth. As a result, those team members who follow their leader’s advice will typically be promoted more often. This not only creates higher retention rates but also makes for a great brand positioning story for recruiters to use for potential new hires.
- Higher Efficiency Ratios– Not only do real leaders develop their teams, they also spend a lot of their time finding ways to make work easier for their employees and clients. I worked with one leader who was borderline obsessed with operational efficiency. She constantly pushed her leadership team to find better, quicker and more efficient ways to deliver results to our clients. While some team members felt burdened with this constant focus, many of us felt empowered to make changes in the organization and felt we had an impact on the company’s results. Her efficiency ratio was almost 1.3 times that of her peers and her retention rates ran about the same.
- They Have a Succession Plan- I love working with leaders who have a plan, especially regarding their talent. It says a lot when a leader has identified their successor and is actively working to either recruit or develop the candidate. I recently worked with a leader who had an senior level position on their team. When we met to discuss the plan, it was less an intake call and more a session for me to take notes of the internal movements they would be making on the team. This leader had been working on this plan for months and it’s why his leadership team is a recruiting machine.
As the job market continues to heat up, it’s even more important that recruiters work with their leadership team to improve recruiting strategies. If you find yourself in a leadership vacuum, you may need to take a more active role in the development process. It’s never a comfortable position to be in when you have to inform an executive team that they (or their directs) suck, but it comes with the territory. Here are some ways to tackle the leadership void:
- Cross-Pollination- Find one or two leaders who are your A-Team when it involves recruiting. Work with them to create a Master-Class for fellow leaders in the organization. Sometimes, it’s easier the B-Team leaders to be inspired by their peers. You can create work groups or virtual town halls to showcase those behaviors and activities you want to be scaled within the organization.
- Create a Mentorship– This works especially for new managers. Partner them with a member of the A-Team to do joint interviews or recruiting events. Let them see the prototype you would like them to immolate in the recruiting process. I think this is a big “miss” most organization make when they promote new managers. We promote them because of their operational or sales knowledge but we don’t take the time to teach them how to recruit and retain top talent. If your A-Team lacks capacity for taking this role on, it may be something you have to own as the recruiter.
- Lead with Data- Sometimes your gut tells you something is awry in a particular area of the organization but you will always need data to help tell the story. I’ve already given you a head start on four areas to review to help you not only identify the A-Team but also help you rank the remaining leaders within the organization.
I cannot count how many hires I’ve made because of the manager the employee would be working for. The interview process with the leader got the candidate so energized, there was no option for them but to say yes to the job offer. Sometimes you are unable to compete on salary or benefits but you can leverage a powerful and engaged leader to win over the top talent you need in the organization.
As organizations continue to find new ways to scale business and increase profits, you’re going to need to have the best talent in the industry to meet the goals. The best way to attract top talent is to have the focus start with your leaders. Otherwise, you’ll continue to lose the war for talent!
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