On my recent trip to America I was working with a successful US company looking at their recruitment challenges. Being based in Silicon Valley they were facing what almost every company in that area experiences- the challenge of attracting and employing great technical talent when the supply is extremely low and competition for talent is high. Whilst they had made many offers, they were receiving an increasing number of declines.
At one coaching session with the directors we were discussing this issue – many ideas were suggested to solve the problem such as increasing their employee referral rewards, use another recruitment firm, up date the website, put managers through recruitment training, etc. Then something interesting happened.
As the team started to think through how they would improve the effectiveness of recruitment, it became clear that they had no consistent answer to a key question candidates were asking: “Why would I want to work here?” While there was no lack of answers to this question in the room, there was a clear lack of consistency in the answer.
While this may seem obvious, few companies, including ones that have been around for decades, have a clear answer to this critical question. To help the directors sort through this issue, I asked if they had ever discussed this question before (they had not) and if they felt they had a shared view of the answer (they were not sure). The team admitted that they had all assumed they shared the same point of view about why the company was great and that the answer was obvious. The team quickly got to work on building a collective answer to this question and after the exercise, you could feel the energy increase in the room.
This exercise was of great value to the leadership team because, not only were they able to produce a great focused answer to the important question that they all really believed in, but they also bonded in the process and became more focused as a team on one of their top priorities: growing the company. Once they distilled the answer, they ran it by other employees in the company to gain feedback and it evolve the answer further.
So a key learning – if you operate in a sector or part of the world where competition for talent is high, it is key for your company to invest the necessary time to answer this question. Don’t take it for granted that everyone is on the same page