How to Attract Top Talent According to 3 Fortune 500 CEOs

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Matching the right people to the right jobs is a complex process, one that is crucial to your bottom line and employee retention. According to organizational experts at McKinsey & Company, superior talent is up to eight times as productive as less talented hires and goes on to suggest that we could add $2.7 trillion in global GDP by better matching people and jobs.

So how do you find the best people for the job? Ask the people who are hiring them.

We’ve curated advice from several Fortune 500 CEOs with track records of success, particularly pointing to their penchant for hiring top talent, for you here to help you attract the employees who will shift your culture for the better.

1. Look for the people who aren’t looking for you

The highest of the high performers are the hardest to find because they aren’t looking for a job.

Steve Jobs had this to say about recruiting: “Go after the cream of the cream. A small team of A+ players can run circles around a giant team of B and C players.”

To attract and retain this top talent, you have to meet them where they are. Creating a relationship with future employees is like creating a relationship with current and future customers. You want to create a brand that they can trust. In this case, an employer brand.

Many Fortune 500 companies choose to cultivate this branding through their recruiting website and social media. As of 2015, 174 Fortune 500 companies had specific twitter handles dedicated solely to recruiting. Talent that aren’t specifically seeking jobs, however, might not be following these accounts – so getting some employer branding into the brand’s customer-facing social media streams and websites is crucial.

2. Embrace new kinds of talent

In addition to mastering the employer brand, GE has long been known for maintaining a great work environment that recruits high performers. GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt has led the company through more than 15 years of changes – including expanding the company into digital and increasing diversity.

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Immelt wrote in the September-October edition of Harvard Business Review, “In 2001 only 20% of our officers were women, were from outside the United States, or were U.S. minorities. The figure now is 59%. We are thinking about talent and culture in new ways through our accelerated leadership program, XLP, and our initiative to build a workforce of 20,000 women in engineering and technology jobs by 2020.”

3. Hire for values First

Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky believes America should hire more veterans. Gorsky’s reasoning behind this may sound patriotic, but far more importantly, he points to the power of hiring around the core values of a company.

“It starts really with character, with things like integrity. The things they learn at the military academy: duty, honor, country, the honor code. It’s hard work, it’s problem-solving, it’s critical thinking, it’s leadership. All those things, that’s what we need more of in business,” Gorsky explains.

Johnson & Johnson supports that hiring by instituting systems and hiring practices that bring their values to the forefront and partnering with organizations who share their values. J&J often tops lists of employer brands – boasting roughly 1 million job applicants per year for 25,000 jobs.

Recently, they implemented a hiring platform called Shine, which is reported to give job applicants more transparency in the hiring process. By blending technology with a great understanding of what job seekers value, Johnson & Johnson can now recruit employees that more closely align with the corporate values they hold.

A talented individual who has found the right fit with your company can increase your productivity and your sales – a salesperson’s attitude and interaction with their clients has a direct effect on whether they choose to buy. Studies show that customers interpret intense displays of both happy and sad emotions as inappropriate and inauthentic in a sales context.

A happy employee has great interactions with their superiors, their direct reports, and their clients, making it a winning combination for everyone.



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