In the competition for talent, the stakes are high.
Companies, especially startups, need the best of the best in order to gain an edge over competitors.
Here are 7 ways to create a company talented people beg to work for.
1. Allow for upward mobility
Nobody wants to take a job that will be stagnant and not offer any opportunities for advancement. Make sure that your company doesn’t leave a key employee spinning their wheels and not making progress.
Promoting from within your ranks lets your people know they are appreciated and that you understand their value. It also provides employees with the chance to develop skills and fosters a sense of achievement.
Finding the right fit for a job vacancy doesn’t have to make use of a brand new employee. Often times, the best person can be found within your company and is actually cheaper than hiring from outside your existing employee pool.
2. Offer competitive compensation and benefits
According to Forbes, companies like Autodesk and Genentech stay ahead of their competitors by offering incredible base salaries and other benefits like bonuses, paid time off or reimbursement for seminars or fitness club memberships.
Not all businesses can afford the same things. One of the biggest mistakes that an employer can make is to base their employees’ pay on what their budget allows, as opposed to what the market dictates is fair pay.
Offering competitive wages is essential to attracting the right people for the job. If your company doesn’t pay as much as another, people will not be enticed to your offer. If competitive wages aren’t an option, one way to offset that is to offer benefits to make up the difference.
Comprehensive medical and/or dental coverage can be one option. Another is to provide discounted services to other local businesses like gyms, parking, restaurants, garages or schools. If you can’t keep up with what your competition provides, you will continue to find second-rate people.
Staying abreast of what is being offered, and matching it or more, is the absolute best way to ensure that you stay a front runner in appealing to prospective employees.
3. Provide a positive work environment
If you look at the campuses of some of the largest and most successful businesses, one thing stands out — the tangible aspects of their company culture. The work environment is not only conducive to productivity, but also allows for recreation, hobbies and personal time.
They may feature a gym, cafeterias, arcade games or recreation areas. These employee perks foster a general sense of being valued beyond what a paycheck alone can provide. The little things make a big difference to someone who has several employment options to choose from.
The ability to stay healthy and fit or to eat a decent lunch without having to leave the office attracts people who will maximize their time and contribute to longer careers.
Having recreation areas or arcades on-site also allows for a healthier mental state, as employees can blow off steam or take a break without needing to go outside of the workplace.
Examples of this can be found in most of the top earning companies. Some go so far as to allow their employees to make their own work hours or allow them the ability to work from home. That kind of flexibility attracts folks who may otherwise opt to work from home, even if the job doesn’t provide the same amount of compensation.
The Googleplex in California is a great example of this. They provide their employees with free gourmet food, exercise equipment, bicycles, and art scattered across the grounds.
4. Embrace incentive programs
Giving existing employees the incentive to bring new employees or to be productive can be a major factor in the power to attract the best and brightest minds to your side.
A referral program can be one of the most constructive ways to do just that. Your own workers are the best word of mouth that you can find. If your people are happy and satisfied with their job, they will talk about it and pass it on.
Rewarding them for finding other good employees gives them the incentive to look. In fact, substantial enough cash incentives can motivate your employees to make a good effort at finding your talent for you.
Another way to give incentives is performance bonuses. If folks understand that their performance will be rewarded, they will strive to bring their best. It doesn’t need to be a huge amount and it doesn’t even need to be monetary. It could be a membership to a gym, a voucher to a restaurant or some other type of reward. Any incentive is better than no incentive.
5. Make use of social media
How you and your business are portrayed both on social media and in the press is a huge factor in attracting talent. Knowing how to maximize both of those to your benefit is crucial in today’s world.
Use social media to present the most lively and positive view of you and your company. Regularly posting pertinent issues and staying relevant can be a great factor in engaging and tempting new talent.
Don’t let a Facebook page or a Twitter feed stagnate for too long. Instead use them to your advantage by appealing to people with trending topics that are relevant. Social media is also a great way to recognize the best employees you already have.
Congratulating or recognizing employees publicly shows that you appreciate your best and brightest and will convey a sense of positive reinforcement among your employees while attracting new ones.
Social media is also used to screen potential candidates for employment and up to 93% of companies use sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook in their recruitment. A recruit’s page or profile can tell about their lifestyle and even point out weaknesses in grammar or syntax.
6. Use traditional media to funnel people in your direction
Using other forms of media to your advantage is a great way to spread the word about your opportunities and also to foster a positive image for you, your company and your product.
Local television and radio provides a way to connect to your immediate area and to communicate whichever message you want to get across, whether that be advertising, hiring or general public relations. Explore which options are available and choose the ones that will be the most advantageous.
Print media, like newspapers or magazines, are another avenue that can be approached. If you can be a part of a fund raising effort or a charity, often times the news coverage of those involved or those who sponsored them can be an effective way to present a positive image to the general public. It may not seem like it, but a person’s perception of how you contribute back to the community has a large impact on how attractive you are as a prospective employer.
Online media, like websites, forums or emails can be used much the same way. Reaching out is often all that it takes to have an article or review written. Print media can also drive traffic to online sources and catch people who may otherwise not have been found.
7. Consider using a recruitment agency
Finding the best potential employees is a time consuming process and if it fails can be disastrous both in terms of wasted time and money. Using companies that already have large recruitment pools to pull from can often negate those issues.
The employees are pre-screened and the ones who are most qualified can be found effectively and quickly. Recruiters and employment firms have loads of experience in placing the right person into the right job.
The cost of using a company like this can be the only prohibitive quality, but if your company is appealing enough, they can provide a number of great personnel. This process is an effective way to bring the top talent to you, rather than putting the burden on you.
Making use of all of these things can optimize your hiring process and bring you the most productive and talented employees. Ideally, you won’t have to go searching for them but rather this is how to create a company that talented people beg to work for. Making sure that your employees feel appreciated and are being treated well is the best way to attract and continue attracting the cream of the crop.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Janet Miller is a habit scientist, reformed workaholic and lives the RV life. She writes regularly for Jen Reviews, Fast Company, The Huffington Post and The Muse. Connect with @janetmiller168 on Twitter.