What is important for attracting and retaining top talent?
Today's job seekers have higher expectations and are interested in much more than just a paycheck. They're looking for a positive and supportive work environment, job security, work-life balance and opportunities for connection, development and growth. There are several key factors that play a vital role in attracting and retaining talent. Let's get started with 10 strategies.
10 strategies for attracting and retaining talent
1. Put your mission and values up front (and, of course, live them out!)
Clearly communicate your organization's mission and values to potential candidates via your career page and job posts. By showcasing these principles throughout the hiring process, you can attract candidates who resonate with your values and purpose and are more likely to align with your organization's goals.
2. Prioritize and showcase company culture
A positive and inclusive company culture is a powerful tool for attracting and retaining talent. When team members feel connected to a shared set of values, a supportive work environment and a sense of purpose, they’re more likely to stay committed and engaged. You can show what it's like to be part of the team and the things you do together by sharing photos on social media or adding photos, videos and creative copy to your career site.
3. Involve your team in hiring
Embrace a collaborative hiring process by involving your current team members in things like creating job posts, sourcing and conducting job interviews. Not only does this allow you to gather diverse perspectives, but it also gives candidates the opportunity to interact with their potential teammates and gauge the team dynamics.
4. Invest in your team in a holistic way
Demonstrate your commitment to your team's growth and well-being. You can do this by investing in their professional development, providing access to mental healthcare resources, coaching or mentoring and, of course, offering competitive salaries and thoughtful perks that align with their needs and aspirations.
5. Offer an outstanding onboarding process
A well-structured and comprehensive onboarding process sets the foundation for a positive employee experience. Invest time and resources into properly introducing new hires to your company culture, providing necessary training and ensuring they feel supported and welcomed from day one.
6. Foster a sense of belonging and inclusion
Cultivate a workplace culture that embraces diversity and inclusivity. Start by updating job descriptions to include more inclusive language and actively seek diverse candidates. Create a safe and inclusive space where everyone feels respected, valued and able to contribute their unique perspectives and talents.
7. Embrace work-life balance
This is a BIG one. You can promote a healthy work-life balance by offering flexible work arrangements and encouraging team members to prioritize their well-being. You may also consider switching to a 4-day work week, as we did in 2022! A supportive work-life balance contributes to higher job satisfaction and reduces burnout, ultimately leading to higher retention rates.
8. Recognize team members to help them feel valued and appreciated
Regularly acknowledge and celebrate your employees' accomplishments and contributions. Recognition can take many forms, such as shoutouts on social media or Slack/Teams channels, rewards or even simple gestures like a personalized note of appreciation. When employees feel valued, they are more likely to be motivated and committed to their work.
9. Prioritize employee engagement
Actively foster an environment that promotes employee engagement and encourages open communication. Provide opportunities for feedback, create channels for idea sharing and involve team members in decision-making processes. When employees feel heard and valued, they’re more likely to be committed and motivated at work.
10. Offer mentorship opportunities
Mentoring programs connect experienced team members with new hires or those seeking guidance and support. They’ve been shown to enhance job satisfaction, professional growth and employee retention. Encourage knowledge-sharing and provide opportunities for mentorship to nurture talent within your organization.
The top 5 reasons you may not be attracting talent to your business
At Homerun, we've seen many companies struggling with attracting talent and we've also seen them turn it around completely. It starts with understanding what's going on. There could be a number of different reasons why your pipeline isn't full, like:
- A tapped-out network – Up until now, you've hired people you've worked with in the past, acquaintances and friends. Now's the time to reach beyond your network to attract candidates.
- No one knows you yet – Your company hasn't made a big name for itself yet, which makes it hard to attract talent. Your team is great and you have a wonderful company culture, but nobody knows that except you and your team.
- You're hiring for a role you know nothing about – Maybe you're the founder of a company and you're hiring a Developer for the first time. It makes sense that you wouldn't automatically know how to successfully attract Developers or even where to look for talent.
- You have limited resources – Small businesses often face budget constraints that make it challenging to offer highly competitive salaries and benefits packages. Small businesses can focus on highlighting other aspects such as growth opportunities, work-life balance and a super supportive work environment to compensate for potential salary limitations.
- Your recruitment process is too long or complicated – Hard-to-fill-out application forms, multiple rounds of interviews or delays in decision-making mean you're most likely losing out on strong candidates. Ask someone to jump through too many hoops – or leave them hanging – and they’ll gladly race over to another company with a simpler hiring process!
of job seekers will wait less than two weeks to hear from an employer before moving on to another opportunity.
— Yello recruiting study
Learn how to attract talent for specific roles
The best thing you can do right now to understand why you're not attracting enough candidates is to start with the question, "What is our ideal candidate looking for?" Don't try to answer this question by speculating, but put your research cap on and give someone a call who is in the role you are hiring for.
Let's say you're hiring a Designer. Talk to a Designer to find out what someone in that role values in their work and working environment. Learn what makes them tick and be sure to get their input on the job post you created.
Also take some time to ask them where they hang out on the internet so you can start thinking about how to reach candidates better. The key to attracting talent is understanding how your ideal candidates really think.
Tip: Use a role questionnaire
Not sure what else to ask? No worries!
Here's a ready-to-use role questionnaire.
Companies that have hired for 10 or more roles get 50% more applicants on average. Once you put some time and energy into your hiring process, you'll start getting savvier and the applications will start rolling in.
7 actionable steps you can take to attract employees
Let's talk about the things you and your team can do immediately to kickstart your hiring process and bring in lots of high-quality candidates.
1. Make sure your job post follows best practices
You now know what sort of information is relevant to share about the role. Are there specific tools and tech they'll have access to? Are there words that are overused turnoffs for this role ("guru," "fast-paced environment," "go-getter")? Is it important to give a salary indication?
Review your job post and make some tweaks. It'll make all the difference.
Checklist for reviewing your job post:
Check these boxes and job seekers will have all they need to be swayed to apply. For a deeper dive, read more about how to write a job description that will attract talent.
- Pick the right role title: Research what term best describes what you’re looking for so the right candidates recognize it.
- Include 3 core sections in the job post: Include the sections “About you”, “About the job” and “About the company”. (Tip: start with one of Homerun’s job description templates and customize it.)
- Leave out nice-to-haves: When listing requirements, leave out the nice-to-haves to keep great talent from self-selecting out.
- Keep your job description short: Job descriptions between 600-700 words perform best.
- Use approachable copy: You can do this by avoiding jargon and using pronouns like "you", "we" and "our" throughout.
- Balance out gender-coded language: You can use a tool like Gender Decoder to help with this.
- Include a list of perks & benefits: Don’t forget non-monetary (for example, flexible work hours) as well as monetary perks (e.g., budget for learning).
- Include photos or videos of your team: Share photos of the people that the person in this role will work with as well as images or videos that showcase your company culture.
- Enhance your job post with other visuals: Check out our job post showcase to see all the different ways you can capture candidates’ attention.
2. Highlight your perks
You might not be able to offer your employees big perks like a car, a huge training budget or a gym membership. Don't underestimate the inherent (non-monetary) perks that your company has.
Perks can be simple but impactful things like fun team lunches, delicious coffee, working in a beautiful building, flexible working hours, having meetings outside when it's sunny or being able to work from home. Put things like this in your job post so that you can give candidates an idea of what it's like to work at your company.
Tip: Attract talent by highlighting unique aspects of your company and team
With Homerun, it's easy to highlight what makes your company special with the different job blocks you have available to you. You could even use one of these job post templates designed to stand out in the sea of bland job posts.
Highlight your team members with the team job block, display perks in an aesthetic way and choose from several different image galleries to show off your office and company culture.
3. Improve your application form
The length of your job application could very well be where you're losing potential applicants. Have another look and take away any big hurdles that keep people from applying.
of job seekers abandon online application forms. (Appcast study, 2022)
Not sure what's too much? If you're not getting any applicants, it could be worth removing all questions and assignments and only asking for personal information and a LinkedIn profile.
Remove labor from the side of the applicant and take it upon yourself. Attracting talent is all about making the candidate experience easy.
You can do this by researching whether applicants are a match yourself or by following up quickly with a phone call to ask for additional info. This is obviously not possible if you are getting 100 applicants per job post, but you're here because you're struggling to get any.
Until you start getting more applicants, it will be manageable to put some time into researching the applicants you do get.
Tip: Create an accessible application form
Application form checklist:
Application forms are the way to go for an organized hiring process and great candidate experience. Check these boxes and you’re well on your way. Here’s more on how to make a job application form for your small business and some inspiration for questions to include on your application form.
- Keep your application form short: The harder it is to fill the role you’re hiring for, the shorter your application form should be.
- Use open-ended questions: Ask open-ended questions so that candidates have ample opportunity to share what's relevant for you to know.
- Don't forget deal-breaker questions: Include practical questions that might be deal-breakers like whether they're eligible to work in your country.
4. Make your career page memorable and informative
Your career page is the place where you market towards candidates and not customers. It’s where you show the USPs of working at your company.
If you're wondering how to make a career page that stands out to talent, then let's dig in. Does your ideal candidate value the opportunity to work remotely? Or is it a creatively stimulating working environment that they're looking for?
You can reflect these things on your career page by adding your company values, pictures of your office and team and information about the workflows and tools your company uses (remote? flexible work hours? team chat with Slack?).
Be concrete and give examples when attracting candidates. Chances are there are some pretty cool things about your company that can and should be communicated.
Examples of great career pages
This company shares plenty of team photos and the values that guide their actions.View career page
This social water bottle brand highlights their perks with beautiful illustrations.View career page
The fairtrade chocolate company uses images and videos to show their fun company culture.View career page
The streetwear brand shows how they work out of "love and necessity rather than profit and novelty".View career page
Want more ideas on how to showcase your unique employer brand while elevating the candidate experience? Here are 12 career page examples to inspire your own.
5. Share your job post in all the right places
This is about making use of the free channels your company has available.
We've made this sharing checklist that you can follow every time you publish a job opening. Some things may seem obvious, but you'd be surprised how often the obvious channels are forgotten. We get it, you have a lot on your mind after all.
Job post sharing checklist:
You’ll want your job post to reach far and wide across the internet to get the attention of active and passive job seekers. Here’s the checklist that will make that happen.
- Add the job post to your career page: If you’re using a Homerun career page, this will happen automatically but if not, you can do it manually.
- Share your job on one or more mainstream job boards: Think Indeed, Linkedin and VONQ.
- Share your job on niche job boards specific to the role you’re hiring: For example, design job boards, marketing job boards and engineering job boards.
- Share your job post on your company's social media accounts: You likely have followers on your social media accounts that are looking for jobs and are interested in your company.
- Share in relevant communities: Find Slack communities or LinkedIn and Facebook groups for people within the role you’re hiring for.
- Share on your personal social media to reach your own network: Your own personal network might have some relevant job seekers.
- Let friends and family know you’re hiring: Message the job post to your personal network and ask them to send it to relevant people they know are looking for a new job.
- Ask your team to share the job post on their social media and with their network: If they’re willing, this can be a huge help to reach potential candidates.
- Share in your company newsletter: This way you reach people already interested in your brand.
- Share on other relevant platforms you or your company uses: Where else can you reach people? Think of platforms like Github, relevant Subreddits and public Slack communities.
6. Promote your job post
You might be hesitant to lay down money to promote your job post and to be honest, it isn't always necessary; attracting talent on a budget is possible. However, there are some very good reasons to occasionally put your money where your mouth is and here they are:
- You'll reach more quality candidates: If you're hiring for a niche discipline or industry, promoting will allow you to reach more people that meet your requirements. This will improve the quality of candidates that see your job post.
- You'll save time: promoting simply gets the word out faster (and applicants in faster). Maybe you're about to start a big project and you're lacking essential skills in your team. Move the process along quickly by promoting.
- You'll reach passive job seekers: The best candidates are often not looking for a job. If you've done a good job with your job post and career page, you could get high-quality candidates to consider a job switch.
If you decide to promote, then there are a few options on where to promote. Be sure to make your choice based on what you learned from your interview for the role. Where is your ideal candidate located? Where can they be found on the internet? Where would they look for a job?
We can make a distinction between places where you can reach active job seekers and places you can reach passive job seekers (people who are not looking for a job but can be convinced to make a switch).
Reach active job seekers
LinkedIn and Indeed will give you access to an extensive audience of job seekers.
Niche job boards
Promoting your job post on job boards for specific disciplines and industries is potentially extremely impactful if you're looking for someone with specific expertise.
Reach passive job seekers
Social media advertising
Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn are your go-tos for this. This is where you can get great candidates who are not looking for a job to think about a job switch.
Google Display Network
Reach candidates while they're browsing the web with display advertising via Google.
7. Find (source) candidates yourself
Sourcing is all about looking for candidates yourself and asking them to apply. We know sending cold messages on LinkedIn has a bad rap, but that has more to do with how it's done than the fact that it's done. If you find people who meet your requirements and you send them an authentic, personal and honest message that's tailored to them specifically, then you won't come off as irritating.
Attracting talent is about quality over quantity. Writing tailored messages might sound like a lot of work and potentially quite tedious, and it is! It's also very important because this is going to help you reach extremely high-quality candidates.
You can keep it simple by starting with three messages a week. Or ask everyone in your team to message one candidate. You could also consider working with a freelancer specialized in sourcing to help you out with this step.
Checklist for finding candidates
- Step 1: Search LinkedIn for the job title you’re hiring: Recruit'em will allow you to easily Google search LinkedIn.
- Step 2: Have a look at the employees of companies you admire and look for the people in the role you're hiring for.
- Step 3: Check out their LinkedIn profiles and look in the sidebar at "People also viewed". This will show you people in similar roles.
- Step 4: Use a tool like Homerun's Talent Clipper to save candidates and easily send them a message when you're ready.
How to write a great sourcing message
- Take time to write a concise and honest message. Don't outright ask someone if they want to work with you. Be tactful. Think of it as dating: you want to get to know each other first. So take it slow and build a relationship first.
- Tailor the message to the candidate. Use the insights you got from step one to write this message. Add a personal touch so the person sees you've made an effort. Refer back to the information you read on their profile. Let them know why you think they might be a fit. If you take the time to do this, you’ll stand out in their inbox. Most of the other messages they receive are likely bulk and impersonal emails.
- Be mindful of who is sending the first cold message. Outreach from a founder can add some necessary weight to a cold message. Or sometimes a message from someone who would be the direct colleague of the candidate makes more sense. Choose someone carefully.
- Add interesting links that allow the candidate to dive deeper. This way your message doesn't get overcrowded with information, but if the candidate wants to know more, they can read further. Link to your website, career page and job post!
Use Homerun to hire better, from start to finish.
If you take even a few of these steps you'll begin to see more candidates rolling in! If you're lacking the skills or tools to create a beautiful career page and job post, then give Homerun a try.
Homerun helps small businesses attract talent and manage candidates in an easy-to-use applicant tracking system.
Become a pro at attracting talent
Attracting top talent can be tough for small businesses – especially when you're competing against larger companies that have more resources and clout – but you can always find ways to share what makes your company special and hire amazing people to join your team.
Highlighting things like a close-knit work environment, good work-life balance, growth and mentorship opportunities and the chance to make a real impact will draw in candidates seeking a more personalized and meaningful work experience. And making the most of social media, professional networks and relevant job boards to expand your reach will help you show off your awesome company culture.
With perseverance, creativity and the right tools, you can compete with larger organizations and bring in exceptional candidates. Remember, it's a learning process and you'll only get better at this.
The fact that you've consulted this guide means you're already one step closer to becoming a pro at attracting talent. So grab those checklists, get out there and start building your dream team! ✨