You probably see it all the time; recruitment companies promoting the key assignments they are working on and doing so by positing their clients as ‘the leading this’ or ‘game-changing’ that. Whilst such adjectives may indeed be accurate (although the former is more subjective than fact), they are all too common. Identikit recruitment adverts may grab candidate attention, but the seduction element only happens when what’s underneath is revealed in the form of your employer USP.
The so-called war for talent is no more. The battle has been won by candidates. It is they who hold all the cards and that means employers need to up their game and recognise that being a ‘name’ in their industry is no longer sufficient to both attract and retain the talent they need. To win back some control, organisations must identify what makes them truly stand apart from their competitors.
But what is that all-important key differentiator that will gives your company the edge? When you really think about it, the answer might not be as obvious as you might think. Indeed, in over 20 years of advising employers on their executive hiring strategies, our experience shows us that the number of organisations with a clear understanding of what makes them an employer of choice is dwarfed by those who don’t.
So, where to start if the answer is not obvious?
The journey towards knowing your USP begins at home. Speak to those already bought into your offering – those who know better than anyone exactly what makes the organisation great (and perhaps not so): your current employees.
A simple way of doing this is by canvassing their opinion in the form of an anonymous internal survey. This gives them the opportunity to share their thoughts with a greater degree of honesty than what they might say if asked in a face-to-face situation. The results of the survey will likely reveal valuable insights about why people really work there and want to stay.
Their responses could equally shine a light on some of the things that the business could be better at doing. That in turn could also be turned into a positive USP. For example, you could position yourself in the following way:
“Ours is a culture of openness and transparency. And while we might not always get everything right, through close collaboration and ongoing dialogue with our people at every level of the organisation we continue to make progress in these areas.”
Another option at your disposal is to speak with executive search specialists who operate in the same space as you. The key word here is ‘specialist – those who have extensive experience working with other employers just like you and finding the type of candidates just like those you need to attract. Tap them for insights into current candidate motivations and, more important, the expectations they have of their next employer.
Indeed, to understand why someone might consider leaving a role with an organisation where they are already making their mark and are well-regarded by their peers, requires knowledge that can only be gained on the ground.
We have seen how the executive hiring market has changed since the pandemic and the primary drivers that lead someone to make the switch from one employer to another. Renumeration was once top of the list but that is quickly falling down the pecking order and rapidly being displaced by culture, continued professional development, and increasingly wellbeing. 12 months from now, this may all change yet again.
But that is the challenge facing all hiring managers. By staying abreast of these trends and recognising how your organisation is responding and adapting to them, you instantly raise your profile as an employer who ‘gets’ what is more important to its people and is committed to create a workplace centred on the very needs of its people. Get this right, and the answer as to why someone should leave their current employer to work for you will become obvious.
Maranello Executive Search has provided strategic counsel to hiring organisations for over 20 years. If you need support, get in touch with us today.
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