Authenticity Builds Trust, Trust Builds Retention: How to Attract Top Talent in 2021

Capping off this year’s Ascent Conference is a session from Stacey McKibbin, CEO at Consilio; Steve Pockross, CEO at Verblio; Larry Dunivan, CEO at Namely; and Doug Inamine, CHRO at Tipalti. Watch exclusive sessions here.

Two years ago, the average turnover rate in the United States was 36.4 percent. While the unemployment rate was relatively low, this percentage demonstrates that turnover was keeping pace.

Fast forward to present time when hybrid work is the norm, organizations are distributed, and the ‘Great Resignation’ has become a recurring issue for most teams. Retention remains a challenge — and becomes a solution at the same time.

Read on for our key takeaways from the panel discussion titled How to Attract Top Talent in 2021, our headliner session in the recently concluded 2021 Ascent Conference.

1. Be a magnet for great talent.

Is your workplace distinct, fun, and a place where people would want to grow their careers? Does it have a corporate culture they’d want to imbibe?

Think of recruiting as marketing. You need to market to great-fit talents, just as much as your marketing team focuses on the business’s competitive advantage. 

One of the best talent sources you can leverage is employee referrals. You never know when a suitable candidate might be within one of your employees’ networks, and your chances of gaining great-fit talents are potentially higher through referrals.

Furthermore, the roles of employers are evolving. Top talent have choices, and these choices entail even greater expectations. Improve your employee value proposition and be sure to weave your company culture and vision into it. Remember, it’s a SaaS world everywhere you look — competition for customers is fierce, but so is the talent market.

2. You can never be too busy closing deals to overlook qualified candidates.

So you’ve managed to get the right-fit candidates past the door and a step closer to being a part of your team — now what?

Getting talent into your pipeline is next. And with 78% of candidates using their experience as an indicator of how well you value talent, speed matters. Larry says, “If they’re a good candidate, you’ve got to get them in the pipeline fast, or somebody else is going to get to them before you do.”

The urgency and ability to respond is very important. Doug stresses, “It’s not just a talent acquisition problem — it’s a problem for all of us to solve.” It’s definitely not just HR’s responsibility, as even your sales and marketing teams can also be involved in the process (more on this later).

3. A good hiring experience is part of your brand’s touchpoints.

Every touchpoint with the candidate is also an opportunity to sell your brand. Steve notes, “Aside from doing the right thing for your team and attaining goals, letting down the rest of the company is another pressure that we add to our team, and one that we feel responsible for.”

The key is to actually embody your values, not just posting them on a wall for everyone to see. In other words, be authentic.

Stacey cites an exercise they do at Consilio to help foster authenticity, known as the Why Us 3×3. In this activity, employees pair up and will each list down all the positive things about working for their companies. They will then choose 3 that most resonate with them, and pick another 3 that they think relates to their partner. The exercise works by incorporating each employee’s unique personalities into the process, while also empowering teams. It amplifies the importance of listening and being present in the moment so that your values truly come out as authentic.

4. Get past the fear of uncertainty.

We know that talent retention is crucial in today’s business landscape, but Larry offers an interesting take. 

The seismic shift businesses went through over the past year resulted in a ‘fear of turnover’ that continues to haunt leaders and managers. This is something that Larry says he has been helping them with. “They’re paralyzed by fear that people are going to leave, something that’s certain,” he says. “But you have to get past that fear, and look at those opportunities which might even surprise you.”

As Chen Amit, CEO/Co-Founder of Tipalti talks about in his article on Building Resiliency Within a Finance Organization, the disruption caused by the pandemic has also led to innovative, streamlined practices that business might have been uncertain about attempting to bring about own their own.

Bottom line: don’t get so caught up on the loss that you forget to take a panoramic view of the potential upside. 

Final Thoughts

All 4 experts can agree: the absence of authenticity is the real problem in attracting top talent.

As talent advisor Jacqui Maguire previously said in one of her sessions with us, “Your organization’s values and culture should be one and the same, but authenticity should be a key aspect.” Your company culture and values must be presented in a tangible way so that these could get through to candidates, even when far past the recruitment and onboarding process.

Hear more from Stacey, Steve, Larry, and Doug by watching the full session recording below:

Photo by Jason Goodman on Unsplash

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