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5 Ways to Attract and Retain Top Talent

5 Ways to Attract and Retain Top Talent
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As a startup CEO, attracting and retaining top talent can be one of the biggest struggles that you face. If your business is brand new, you may wonder what you can offer in order to get and keep the very best talent in your field. Here are a few ways to set yourself apart from other companies in the market for those great employees.

Expect to recruit the best employees

Once you’re the best and the brightest, you can expect great employees to come to you. When you’re still brand new, you will need to reach out to the places your ideal employee hangs out, and you will need to sell them on your company. For example, if you know you want to find a content writer or marketer who believes in Seth Godin’s approaches to marketing and thought leadership, you would want to frequent both Godin’s blog directly, and then blogs and communities that discuss his writings. You would talk about your company, your culture, and then start to talk to content writers who engage with you. This way, you know that you’re approaching people who are already on the same page with you in terms of approach.

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When you’re recruiting on the Internet, though, remember that if you’re looking for someone to fill an in the office position, you may be looking at paying moving expenses. Offering that up front is a big deal to many potential employees.

Offer great parental leave policies

Maternal and paternal leave is an active talking point in the modern economic sphere. As more and more research is done on how women are more likely to return to their jobs after longer, more generous parental leave times, and men perform better when they have time to spend with their families and bond with their new babies, it is becoming more and more obvious that companies who want to attract and keep the best people need to offer great parental leave. Studies show that paid maternity leave also helps business growth.

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And remember that parental leave at the very best companies is offered to families who are created through all methods, from birth to adoption to assuming custody of relatives or children.

Engage and empower employees

The very best employees are the ones who challenge your company to do better and motivation plays a significant role. They bring in fresh ideas and new concepts, and aren’t satisfied with the status quo. Their ability to look at problems and come up with brand new solutions are a big part of why you’re trying to recruit them, instead of opting for the person who is just going to come to work and check things off their list until it’s time to go home.

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But the challenge of hiring the best and brightest is that you need to give them room to experiment, to try out different options for success, and even to fail. If you hiring an idea person because you need to revolutionize their department, but you then chain them down with endless reporting, busy work, and a refusal to try something new, you’re not going to be able to keep them. If you need someone who’s all about checking off the to do list – and sometimes, that really is the person you need, and that’s okay – than hire that person, and be clear about your needs.

Broadcast your culture as an employee benefit

For many of the youngest workers, employee culture is a huge part of how they choose where they work. Every employee has individual needs and wants for their workspace, and a big part of retaining employees is being honest about your employee culture up front. You may find that an otherwise awesome person doesn’t get along with the culture of your business, and there may not be much you can do about that. Some elements are flexible, while others are not. But by weeding out the people whose culture doesn’t align with yours during interviewing, you reduce the time and money that you spend on recruitment and training.

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Pay for relocation expenses

If an employee moves more than 50 miles to continue to work in the same field, their moving expenses are generally tax deductible. Make sure they know this – but also go a step above and beyond and offer to cover moving expenses for employees who are relocating to join your company, or to go to a different branch of the company.

What have you done to attract and keep top talent?

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Featured photo credit: Cabinet Office via flickr.com

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Margarita Hakobyan

MBA from the University of Utah

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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