In today’s recruiting market, it’s becoming harder and harder to get and keep top talent. But if you’ve got what candidates want, they’ll not only come to work for you, they’ll stay.

A lot of research has been done on what employees are looking for in a job, career, and employer. And time and time again, there are a couple of key decision-making factors that keep rising to the top. Nail these two things and you’ll have talent filling your organization— and lining up outside your door.

1.) Culture

It seems you can’t go two seconds without seeing a headline (or five) about what millennials want at work and how you need to give it to them. If you’re tired of the incessant focus on millennials, we’ve got good news and bad news for you:

Good news! It’s all crap.

Bad news! The reason it’s crap is because it’s not just millennials who want to be in forward-thinking organizations with amazing culture. It’s everyone.

Consider the following:

  • Employees want to be accepted for who they are, both in and out of the office. This includes things like race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, pink hair and tattoos.
  • Research shows that trust and social capital are two critical components of high performance teams.
  • Managers and CEOs are realizing that bringing their whole selves to work (including their vulnerabilities) actually makes them more effective leaders.

Gone are the days when everyone kept their work and personal lives completely separate. With the rise of social media, constant accessibility, and the epidemic of busy-ness, very few people are able to compartmentalize the various aspects of their lives. And guess what? Today’s top talent doesn’t want to.

Your employees want to work somewhere that reflects the essence of who they are, not just as employees, but as individuals: their values, their ethics, their spirit. They know they’re going to be investing a lot of time and energy into what they do, and they want their respective worlds to be in alignment.

To be a successful business, you must be able to attract the kinds of candidates who can take you to the next level. Good employees have the right skill sets. Exceptional employees are excited about your organizational vision and dedicated to helping you achieve it.

The kind of company culture you create will dictate the kind of talent you attract and retain. Build a fantastic culture and you will naturally draw fantastic people in. Tolerate a toxic culture? Well, you know the end to that story.

If your organizational culture needs some work, it’s worth your while to invest the time, money, and resources to re-build it. Once it’s there, you can let your happy, engaged employees be your best advocates— and your secret recruiting weapon.

2.) Compensation

And just when you thought investing in culture was enough!

It’s true that some employees will sacrifice on salary for things like positive working environments, career growth opportunities, or doing something they love. But at the end of the day, culture and passion won’t pay the rent.

It’s not enough for your employees to merely survive. They need to be able to thrive. Do the research and make sure you’re compensating your team adequately.

  • What is the cost of living in your area?
  • Is affordable housing available nearby?
  • Are there other, more lucrative companies or cities you’re competing with?

You may not be taking these things into account, but you can bet your current and future employees are.

If salary budgets are fixed, think about what “extras” can you offer to lighten your team’s financial load:

  • 401(k) plans
  • Paid time off
  • Car/phone/technology allowance
  • Parental leave and childcare options
  • Medical/dental/vision/disability insurance
  • Wellness perks and discounts (gym memberships, etc.)
  • Recognition programs and performance-based bonuses
  • Tuition reimbursement and student loan repayment programs

When it comes to compensation, there’s no one “right” answer. Your business, industry, and market are all unique. The key is to make sure that your employees feel valued— and that they can actually afford to stick around.

Employers who think outside the lines on these issues will definitely have an edge when it comes to employee recruitment and retention. Why not be one of them?

Photo by Alphaspirit

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