Advertising
Advertising

5 Ways to Attract and Retain Top Talent

5 Ways to Attract and Retain Top Talent

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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?

Featured photo credit: Cabinet Office via flickr.com

More by this author

Margarita Hakobyan

MBA from the University of Utah

7 Tools To Help You Build And Automate Your Online Business 6 Things Your Moving Company Might Not Tell You How To Create A Money Making Blog Starting A Blog? Here are 5 Things You Should Know 4 Things Your Boss Doesn’t Want To Hear (And What To Say Instead)

Trending in Productivity

1 The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain) 2 What to Do When Bored at Work (And Why You Feel Bored Actually) 3 6 Effective Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills 4 How to Concentrate and Focus Better to Boost Productivity 5 15 Productive Things to Do When Bored (So Time Is Not Wasted)

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on July 17, 2019

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

What happens in our heads when we set goals?

Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

Advertising

Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

Advertising

One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

The Neurology of Ownership

Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

Advertising

But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

The Upshot for Goal-Setters

So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

Advertising

It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

More About Goals Setting

Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next