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29 (124) 2017
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HR & Professional Qualifications

How to attract and keep the best employees

by Taisja Laudy, Gallup strengths ambassador, geniusformula creator
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What do workers want most in a job and a company? The answer can help companies improve attraction and recruitment strategies. Three main themes dominate the HR world right now.

Employees want a job that allows them to do what they do best; they want greater work-life balance and better personal well-being, and they seek greater stability and job security

What do workers value most in a job and organisation? What would their dream job look like? The answers to these questions can help organisations develop better attraction and recruitment strategies. These answers can also give them insights into why some of their employees, including many of their best ones, may be leaving. More than one in three employees (35%) have changed jobs within the past three years, and 91% of employees left their company to do so, according to Gallup's recent research on the workplace.

Gallup asked employees how important certain attributes are when they consider whether to take a job with a different organisation. We found that employees place the greatest importance on a role and an organisation that offers them:

  • the ability to do what they do best

  • greater work-life balance and better personal well-being

  • greater stability and job security

  • a significant increase in income

  • the opportunity to work for a company with a great brand or reputation

We want to focus on the first three factors.

The ability to do what they do best

People in today's workforce are looking for more than a salary at the end of the month –  they're looking for a purpose and a chance to have coaching conversations that promote their development. This is evidenced in our finding that 60% of employees say the ability to do what they do best in a role is 'very important' to them. This is the top factor stated.

When employees are a mismatch for their role and organisation, they often struggle to succeed or become bored and restless. Their days – or even their careers – can feel wasted, along with their sense of purpose. Employees do their best in roles that enable them to integrate their talent (their natural capacity for excellence), skills (what they can do) and knowledge (what they know), which requires matching the right person with the right role and the right culture.

The solution to this lies in an organisation's attraction, recruitment and hiring strategies, as well as in its human capital and performance management strategies.

Greater work-life balance and better personal well-being

People are focused on their lives, not only their jobs. They don't want to compromise one at the expense of the other. As such, 53% of employees say a role that allows them to have greater work-life balance and better personal well-being is 'very important' to them. Female employees are more likely than male employees to assign high importance to this job attribute, while millennials and Gen Xers are each more likely than baby boomers to do the same.

Work-life balance has various meanings that often include tactical and philosophical components for employees. Increasingly, people want to be able to adjust their hours and schedules as needed and to work remotely when they can without compromising work quality or productivity. A Gallup study on benefits and perks found that 51% of employees say they would switch to a job that allows them flexitime, and 37% would switch to a job that allows them to work off-site at least part of the time.

That is why it's critical for employees to know how an organisation walks the talk when it comes to greater work-life balance and well-being. Organisations should highlight what they can offer to help employees balance work and life and improve their well-being, but they also need to make this discussion about culture. Flexitime and similar perks are attractive, but they are beneficial only when employees truly feel empowered to use them.

Greater stability and job security

Slightly more than half of employees (51%) rate greater stability and job security as 'very important' in a new role. This number is consistent among male and female employees, as well as among Millennials and Gen Xers. Candidates want to work for companies that provide a solid footing and are poised for growth. The more stability they see in an organisation, the more likely they may be to see a future with it.

To demonstrate stability in the brand, organisations can share their history of steady growth or their vision for future growth. They can also give specific examples of how they have survived tough economic times. What is most important is that candidates come away with a sense of why a company exists, what its reputation is and how it is positioned to capture more customers. Any company can say it has been around for x years, but candidates need to hear a story that resonates with them – a story that's unique, genuine and compelling.

Current employees also need to believe in the future of the organisation and be able to see themselves participating in it. Leaders and managers are critical in creating this vision. Leaders have a duty to show employees where the organisation is headed and to inspire them to see a better tomorrow, especially when economic conditions change. Managers must help their employees create career and development paths that link to a successful future. When employees are able to do what they do best and see the value they bring to their organisation, they develop a deeper sense of job security.

Source for the article: Gallup Business Journal, March 2017

Taisja Laudy & Co. is Gallup Certified Strengths Consulting/Coaching operating in Europe and Australasia focusing on supporting organisations in creating strengths-based workplaces, which will keep and attract the best employees on the market.

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