In my last blog I commented on the fact that, in today’s changing employment market, it is no longer possible to attract huge streams of candidates for a position simply on the strength of a high salary and good bonuses. The key now for businesses is to offer an attractive employee value proposition (EVP) to recruit, and indeed keep hold of the best talent.

This was further emphasised by research this week from the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) which found that 59% of staff value job satisfaction as their biggest motivational driver, compared with only 13% who rate performance-linked bonuses as important.

However, the same report revealed that, despite being a relatively low priority, financial incentives are still being widely used by businesses. Clearly there is a disconnect between what staff want from working at a company and what employers are offering. And with the recovering economy presenting more opportunities for employees, getting the right people strategy will only become more and more important in the future.

Retention before attraction

However, before a company can think about attracting the best talent, they must first analyse whether their existing employees are satisfied by developing the best possible retention strategy. The most effective way of achieving this is to ask their staff what they value in an employer, and make sure they act on this information. The reality is that everyone requires a different challenge and must be managed in a different way. It may well be that a few individuals are motivated mostly by money, but for others, working environment or training may be more important. It is HR’s role then to establish what works best for each group of individuals.

The same ILM report also revealed that businesses are not making the most of the opportunities presented by appraisal systems. Although two-thirds of employees stated that their organisation had these in place, a quarter said that they were poorly managed by their employers. It is important for HR to remember that appraisals are not simply an opportunity to review the performances of the workforce, but also to find out what its members want from the company, and if they are getting it.

Using your talent to sell the business

HR recognises that staff retention is extremely important, because having a happy and motivated workforce eases the pressure on the organisation’s hiring team. However, an added benefit of this is that it can feed into your attraction strategies. Now that the war for talent has turned in favour of the candidate, companies cannot simply chose the best applicant from a long list and expect to attract them with financial incentives alone.

Instead they must position themselves as employers of choice – places that people want to work rather than just companies that pay well. There is no better way of doing this than being able to demonstrate that their current workforce is engaged, motivated and feels valued in the business. Indeed, it can even be beneficial for HR to work with its communications department to showcase their satisfied employees – through case studies and testimonials, which can be put out through social media to connect with new talent.

In this highly competitive attraction market, it is more important than ever that individuals want to work for an organisation, and this will not be done by simply waving a bonus in front of them. However, building an attractive EVP by communicating with staff to find out what motivates them individually may prove to be worth more than any amount of money.

What strategy have you put in place to keep hold of your most valued talent? Let us know by commenting below.