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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.

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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?

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 October 22, 2020

How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

Overwhelm is a pernicious state largely caused by the ever-increasing demands on our time and the distractions that exist all around us. It creeps up on us and can, in its extreme form, leave us feeling anxious, stressed, and exhausted. Therefore, if you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, it’s time to do something about it.

Here are 6 strategies you can follow that will reduce the feeling of overwhelm, leaving you calmer, in control, and a lot less stressed at work.

1. Write Everything Down to Offload Your Mind

The first thing you can do when work feels overwhelming is to write everything down that is on your mind.

Often people just write down all the things they think they have to do. This does help, but a more effective way to reduce overwhelm is to also write down everything that’s occupying your thoughts[1].

For example, you may have had an argument with your colleague or a loved one. If it’s on your mind, write it down. A good way to do this is to draw a line down the middle of the page and title one section “things to do” and the other “what’s on my mind.”

The act of writing all this down and getting it out of your head will help you stop feeling overwhelmed at work. Writing things down can really change your life.

2. Decide How Long It Will Take to Complete Your To-Dos

Once you have emptied your head, go through your list and estimate how long it will take to complete each to-do.

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As you go through your list, you will find quite a few to-dos will only take you five or ten minutes. Others will take longer, often up to several hours.

Do not worry about that at this stage. Just focus on estimating how long you will need to complete each task to the best of your ability. You can learn how to create a more meaningful to-do list here.

3. Take Advantage of Parkinson’s Law

Here’s a little trick I learned a long time ago to help when work feels overwhelming. Parkinson’s Law states that work will fill the time you have available to complete it, and we humans are terrible at estimating how long something will take[2]:

When feeling overwhelmed at work, use Parkinson's Law.

    This is why many people are always late. They think it will only take them thirty minutes to drive across town when previous experience has taught them it usually takes forty-five minutes to do so because traffic is often bad. It’s more wishful thinking than bad judgment.

    We can use Parkinson’s Law to our advantage when we’re feeling overwhelmed at work. If you have estimated that to write five important emails will take ninety minutes, then reduce it down to one hour. Likewise, if you have estimated it will take you three hours to prepare your upcoming presentation, reduce it down to two hours.

    Reducing the time you estimate something will take gives you two advantages. The first is you get your work done quicker, obviously. The second is that you put yourself under a little time pressure, and in doing so you reduce the likelihood you will be distracted or allow yourself to procrastinate.

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    When we overestimate how long something will take, subconsciously our brains know we have plenty of time, so it plays tricks on us, and we end up checking reviews of the Apple Watch 4 or allow our team members to interrupt us with the latest office gossip.

    Applying a little time pressure prevents this from happening, and we get more focused and more work done. This will help when work feels overwhelming.

    4. Use the Power of Your Calendar

    Once you have your time estimates done, open up your calendar and schedule your to-dos to avoid getting overwhelmed at work. Schedule time for each task, especially high priority tasks, while also grouping together similar tasks. This will help relieve stress and anxiety in your daily work life.

    For emails that need attention on your to-do list, schedule time on your calendar to deal with all your emails at once. Likewise, if you have a report to write or a presentation to prepare, add these to your calendar using your estimated time as a guide for how long each will take.

    Seeing these items on your calendar eases your mind because you know you have allocated time to get them done, and you no longer feel you have no time. Grouping similar tasks together keeps you in a focused state longer, and it’s amazing how much work you get done when you do this.

    5. Make Decisions

    For those things you wrote down that are on your mind but are not tasks, make a decision about what you will do with each one[3]. These things are on your mind because you have not made a decision about them.

    If you have an issue with a colleague, a friend, or a loved one, take a little time to think about what would be the best way to resolve the problem. More often than not just talking with the person involved will clear the air and resolve the problem.

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    If it is a more serious issue, then decide how best to deal with it. Talk to your boss or a colleague and get advice.

    Whatever you do, do not allow it to fester. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away and will only make you feel more overwhelmed at work. You need to make a decision to deal with it, and the sooner you do so the sooner the problem will be resolved.

    I remember long ago, when I was in my early twenties and had gone mad with my newly acquired credit cards. I discovered I didn’t have the money to pay my monthly bills. I worried about it for days, got stressed, and really didn’t know what to do. Eventually, I told a good friend about the problem.

    He suggested I called the credit card company to explain my problem. The next day, I plucked up the courage to call the company, explained my problem, and the wonderful person the other end listened and then suggested I pay a smaller amount for a couple of months.

    This one phone call took no more than ten minutes to make, yet it solved my problem and took away a lot of the stress I was feeling at the time. I learned two very valuable lessons from that experience:

    The first was: don’t go mad with newly acquired credit cards! And the second: there’s always a solution to every problem if you just talk to the right person.

    6. Take Some Form of Action

    Because overwhelm is something that creeps up on us, once we are feeling overwhelmed at work (and stressed as the two often go together), the key is to take some form of action.

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    The act of writing everything down that is bothering you and causing you to feel overwhelmed is a great place to start. Being able to see what it is that is bothering you in a list form, no matter how long that list is, eases the mind. You have externalized it.

    It also means that, rather than these worries floating around in a jumbled mess inside your head, they are now visible, and you can make decisions about what to do about them.

    Often, it could be asking a colleague for a little help, or it could be that you need to allocate some focused time to get the work done. The important thing is you make a decision on what to do next.

    When work feels overwhelming, it’s not always caused by a feeling of having a lack of time or too much work. It can also be caused by avoiding a decision about what to do next.

    The Bottom Line

    It’s easy to feel like you have too much on your plate, but there are things you do to make it more manageable. 

    Make a decision, even if it’s just talking to someone about what to do next. Making a decision about how you will resolve something will reduce your feelings of overwhelm and start you down the path to a resolution.

    When you follow these strategies, you can say goodbye to your overwhelm and gain much more control over your day.

    More Tips for Reducing Work Stress

    Featured photo credit: Josefa nDiaz via unsplash.com

    Reference

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