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How do you draw talent to your door?

Getting a job at Google is reportedly 10 times harder than getting a place at institutions like Harvard or Yale. The company employs 7000 people a year, from 3 million applicants. Google has staff friendly initiatives that attract top candidates. Your business may be a long way from Google, but it can still be known as a good place to work. At Google, staff are allowed to take a day out of every week to work on a project they think is important. The result? Fifty percent of Google products come from this 20 percent staff time. Google has various initiatives that help make the company an employer of choice. It doesn’t necessarily follow that you should copy what Google does. But it does suggest that being creative in building your business culture may help you to also be an employer of choice.

Becoming such an employer may bring various benefits: applicants are keen to work for you, people envy your employees, you receive unsolicited vacancy inquiries, and your most talented workers stay with your company. All those are good for your bottom line.

How do you achieve that? Well, find answers to more questions, like:

  • “Employer of choice” to whom? Decide the kind of people you want to employ. The answer to the first question leads to the second.
  • What do the people you want, want? A survey of college seniors by the National Association of Colleges and Employers in the US found that, when considering a job, those workers look first for opportunities for personal growth, then job security, then friendly co-workers. “High starting salary” didn’t make the top three.
  • What will you do to attract your ideal employees — and keep them? This may require changes to how you do things.

Point 2.) above shows what staff want. But what do those priorities mean for you? It points to a need to be clear about opportunities for staff, for open communication between staff and management, and good relationships between everyone.

Management sets the tone for relationships. Being open and clear about opportunities for personal growth is part of that. In addition, staff quickly pick up on poor relationships between managers, and managers who are cool to staff can hardly be surprised if staff have cool relationships with managers.

The challenge for you may be to separate your business stresses from relationships, and having your approach to relationships come from your heart.

Every employee is different, and that means doing little things for an individual can have a big impact on the person – and cumulatively on your business. But that means building relationships, one by one. 

One US business sends flowers to the employee's spouse on the couple's wedding anniversary, thanking the recipient for his or her support. Why not ask your staff for ideas they would like to see? Asking is not the same as guaranteeing they will happen – although your team should see some initiative introduced if you take this step.

Some things that may make your business an attractive place to work are:

1. Providing opportunities for employees

Giving employees the freedom to do interesting work that not only drives your business, but also drives personal satisfaction. Again, that requires that you know your employees.

2. Having a unified vision

Having staff who embrace what you do and how you do it. If you don’t have a unified vision that people can decide whether to embrace – or not – you'll have different visions . . . or none.

3. Nurturing ideas

Creating a listening and sharing business culture – which probably means your staff need to see you listening and sharing. Becoming an employer of choice may mean acknowledging difficult truths – like how you communicate – and making changes.

But when you have people keen to work for you, you regularly receive unsolicited vacancy inquiries, and your most talented workers stay, you’ll have the best workers doing their best work. You’ll spend less on recruitment and training, have more experienced staff, reduced stress, and a positive effect on your bottom line.