How to Recruit and Develop Top Talent

People drive performance more than products or processes. And while there is a wealth of qualified talent available in the market, it’s important to have the right talent. You need employees who understand your vision and are committed to moving your business in the right direction. Through effective employee recruiting, development and evaluation, you can unlock new opportunities for company growth and improve customer loyalty and employee retention.

With the volume of good talent available, it’s important to align your business objectives and goals with the career aspirations of your candidates. By understanding candidates’ long-term goals, you should be able to determine if you can leverage their strengths in order for them to become passionate about your business and in turn drive performance and growth. To make the right hiring decisions, you should have an ongoing talent evaluation and retention process. Here are some things to consider.

Create clear job descriptions and goals.

Job descriptions can guide employees’ behavior towards common goals and build meaningful conversations during the interview process and throughout employment. In addition, they help set guidelines and expectations from which goals can be built and in turn serve as accountability tools for employees and managers.

Identify skills and behaviors that align with your core values.

Your core values are the foundation of your company culture and should help you determine what defines success for your business. Every aspect of your business should reflect your core values, including your employees. What’s more important to you – experience, attitude, product knowledge, emotional intelligence (self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management)?

Understand your work environment and culture.

During the interview process identify questions that may help you understand the candidates’ working style, management needs, and how he/she adapts to conflict, pressure and changing priorities. Finding good talent is not enough, you need to find employees whose strengths, whether that is empathy, strategy, adaptability or leadership, complement your business culture.

Once an employee is on board, cultivate leadership through ongoing interaction and communication.

Hold ongoing meetings and continual feedback sessions.

Whether its weekly meetings with managers or monthly department gatherings, having an open dialogue with employees will help them assimilate, feel engaged and foster two-way dialogue. Informal quarterly and annual reviews also are important as they provide time to have more lengthy conversations about current performance, ongoing development and future advancement opportunities.

Foster employee development.

By helping your employees realize their goals and potential, you can help your business grow. Determine what opportunities are available for training and development for your employees. While your budget may not allow you to offer educational assistance such as tuition reimbursement, consider developing a mentorship program or providing opportunities for employees to be involved with professional affiliations and community involvement. Make sure to develop guidelines, especially when it comes to budget, so all employees feel supported equally.

Invest in a human-resources professional.

Having a team member dedicated to recruitment, development and retention can save you time and money as well as ensure that employees are treated equally and fairly. If an HR position is not an option, understand that consistent and ongoing communication is most important when it comes to recruiting and retaining top talent; so, make sure you provide guidelines on how these programs should be handled.

At the end of the day, your employees are your brand—they are the ones representing you to the public. So, it pays to encourage and invest in your team. By understanding your employees’ aspirations, aligning personal goals with business values and investing in their professional development, you will increase employee loyalty and in turn create strong brand ambassadors who will help move your business in the right direction.

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Lauris Woolford
Lauris Woolford is Executive Vice President for Organizational Development and Planning for Fifth Third Bank. She has spoken with small business owners about the challenges of cultivating and retaining quality talent. For inspiration, read some of Fifth Third’s business customers’ personal success stories.

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