When it comes to attracting talent, a great offer and regular seat on the Fortune 500 list doesn’t always secure an organization’s winning bid.
If you’re looking to make it down the altar with the talent of your choice, here are a few pitfalls to beware.
1. Rough corporate culture
There’s very little that is more appealing to top talent than a company’s name gleaming brightly on a “best places to work” list. Said lists usually emphasize the company’s culture rather than their stock value (although the two are often linked), and appeal directly to a skilled worker’s human side. Business Insider, Forbes and GlassDoor have churned out a few rankings this year. Maybe you don’t have to have a nap room but … scratch that: maybe you do.
2. Leadership vacuum
Here’s an interesting case: Tesla has been able to poach employees from Apple, but Apple has not been able to do the same with Tesla. Speculators suggest that this may be because top Apple talent was attracted to Steve Job’s leadership and that Elon Musk, who openly identifies Jobs as one of his heroes, is now filling that void for former Jobs fans.
3. Not enough challenge
Offering routine work might get you competent workers, but it won’t interest the best of the best. A young techie who graduated top of his class doesn’t want to do routine QA on old code; they want to create or contribute to the groundbreaking product.
Before going off on her own, Executive Coach Cindy Cornell was a c-suite regular at PepsiCo, Deloitte, and others. While job searching, Cornell said she told recruiters not to call her unless a company had offered something “cool” rather than higher-paying. “Just because I could do something didn’t mean I should,” she said. “I was clear [with my recruiter] that I was looking for a dynamic, unique opportunity where I would contribute to a team’s bigger vision while figuring out the how for myself.” Thanks to her clarity, Cornell said she went on to do some “amazing” work with people all around the world.
4. Poor work-life balance
Studies abound that suggest the more productive worker is the one who works fewer hours. Recent research concluded that the output of a 56-hour week is the same as a 70-hour week. Additional research shows flexible work hours are key to happy, healthy and loyal employees. In other words, “more is not better; better is better.”
Especially as more and more top companies develop explicit work-life balance and employee wellness programs, you’ll be hard-pressed to secure top talent who will agree to work more rather than fewer hours.
5. Non-existent growth opportunities or continued education
The smartest people aren’t always just born that way; most of them studied and worked their way to where they are. So why would they want to stop learning now? If a company won’t support their journey upward or provide ample opportunity for L&D initiatives, it’s only a matter of time before their interests will veer elsewhere.
6. Too much bureaucracy and micromanagement
When companies grow, they tend to over-develop operational and management initiatives in an attempt to maintain the order of a larger workforce. Or in other words, hello, bureaucracy. Often, a bureaucratic approach can cause employees to feel like cogs in a machine.
According to self-determination theory in psychology, two of the fundamental human needs are autonomy and competency. If a company’s efforts interfere with meeting those fundamental needs, the approach may reportedly lead low morale and disloyalty throughout the organization. One study even says that micromanaging, specifically, causes severe health problems and in some instances death.
7. Non-competitive offers
The most obvious pitfall during a bidding war is making a non-competitive offer. But not necessarily for the reason that you might think. Sure, nobody wants to struggle. But offering a salary that’s too low for the job or the region is a clear sign to potential employees that you’re not operating in a people-first environment, but rather trying to save precisely where you should be spending.
Are you making these mistakes?
It’s often difficult to admit that your business is doing something wrong. It requires taking an honest look at yourself and getting employee feedback to help you improve. You can glean that sort of information from exit interviews and employee surveys, as well as company-wide initiatives. Doing the right thing isn’t always easy, but it’s easier than continuing to hemorrhage the great talent you need for your organization to grow.