Have them come to you.

Often we try to figure out how to find good employees when the most effective way to find good employees is simply to attract them. Think about the combination of your easiest hires and your best players – most of them either came to you or were referred in by one of your current team members.

So how do you attract top talent?

Nurture and hone your employment brand. What’s the word on the street about what it’s like to work at your organization? Often we think about our “word-of-mouth” reputation with our clients, yet your employment reputation will be defined by your team’s “word of mouth” out in the world. This is just one reason why focusing on your culture is mission critical. Your culture will define your employment brand.

To nurture and hone your employment brand:

1. Start with the reputation you want in mind.

  • Be clear – what do you want to be known for when it comes to the workplace experience at your organization?
  • What is your unique value proposition to those who come and work for you? Look less to the traditional compensation answer on this one and think more in terms of psychological value and overall experience.
  • How are you different than the rest of the organizations in your industry? How do you disrupt common employment assumptions?

2. Do your research, don’t assume. To get an accurate read on your current employment brand:

  • Ask individual team members – “I’m curious, when you’re out in the world, what do you share with others about what it’s like to work here?” Make sure to thank the courageous who give you hard-to-hear input.
  • Look at the results and comments from third party/anonymous employee surveys.
    Ask several clients and vendors – “What’s your experience of working with our team?”
  • Look on GlassDoor and Indeed. (One word to the wise regarding using these resources – don’t implement a witch hunt to find out who gave a low rating – this will create the opposite outcome you’re hoping to create.)

3. Now take action to address the gap between the reputation you want and the reputation you have. Note, that similar to client word-of-mouth, if you currently have a bad reputation, it can take some time to get it turned around – and the best time to get started is now. Based on what you discovered in #2, what would make the difference? What is there to highlight? What is there to address?

4. Don’t just say it, show it.

  • Demonstrate in your job-posting the experience of your organization
  • Show it in a video – here’s a couple of examples of great recruitment videos:
  • Garner testimonials from your “A” players. Also request they post their experience on Glassdoor or Indeed. (Word to the wise – don’t bribe or incentivize them. Enroll them in how their contribution to this effort will make a difference for the team and for the organization, for example: reduce burnout, create a powerhouse team of extraordinary committed co-workers, and/or capacity to care for more clients.)
  • Look into third party certification/awards that demonstrate you’re the “real deal.” One caveat – know that while this is helpful in retention, if it’s just lipstick on a pig, you will lose on the retention side of this equation.

5. Don’t forget the friends and families. Not only does your team talk about what it’s like to work at your organization – so do their friends and families. What is their experience of how you treat their loved ones? Consider some of the ideas shared in this culture tip to support the familial experience of your team members.

Bonus Option:
Perks won’t make the difference in creating an extraordinary workplace culture – however, if innovative enough, they can create buzz and word-of-mouth. Consider, what would be a meaningful perk that would align with your culture that’s also creative or word-of-mouth worthy? Not a perk to manipulate, cajole, “make people happy” – otherwise you will get eyerolls – but rather one that would demonstrate your culture commitment? Here’s a few ideas.


Team Building/Culture Building Activity:

The next time you get your team together, ask them – what are all the perks of working here? I did this when I ran the moving company and I came with my list of 13. Top of mind the team shared three. When, from a place of curiosity, I asked if they valued the other ten, their eyes lit up in both remembrance and appreciation. They then added another 4 more to my list!