Entrepreneur Insight: How to Secure Top Talent – and Retain It

Posted on the 25 November 2019

Entrepreneur Insight: How to Secure Top Talent – and Retain It

Coleman James, global recruiters for the construction and built environment sectors, know a thing or two about recruiting top talent. Managing Director Andrew Mackay has been in the business for over 15 years and this year the company he founded in 2016 won Small Business of the Year at the prestigious North East Business Awards. Here he shares his top tips for attracting and retaining the very best talent to build your business.

To enable you to secure and retain the best talent for your business, your recruitment strategy should be an integral part of your plan.

Here’s my top ten tips to attract quality people, ahead of your competitors and ensure they become a fundamental part of your journey.

1.  Share your story

Entrepreneurs and successful businesses take people on a journey. Where did it start? What’s your vision? Share your story, provide access to the top. Demonstrate the passion you have for what you deliver and build an emotional connection. Give people a reason to engage and choose you ahead of your competitors.  

2.  It’s all about culture

Raise the bar. Live and breathe your core values and apply them to every aspect of your business. Talented, experienced individuals want to surround themselves with great people, so create a high-performance culture to attract the best.

3.  Show, don’t tell

Introduce potential recruits to your existing team as your entrepreneurial culture is a big selling point. Avoid restricting the interview process to 1:1’s in closed environments. By showcasing your workspace and allowing people to engage with your team, you will further demonstrate the opportunities available for ambitious and successful candidates.

4.  Know your people inside out

Psychometric profiling is a valuable tool to screen potential hires and inform your management style. To gain optimum results from your team, you must be acutely aware of their individual personality traits, skill set and what motivates and drives them.  Profiling reports can also help inform individuals with regards to their ‘blind spots’ to aid personal development.

5.  Hire slow, fire fast

Don’t shy away from difficult conversations. If people aren’t capable of delivery and fall short of your core values it’s time to exit.  The longer they stay in the business the more they will cost you. You need A grade players so don’t compromise on quality, even when you’re starting out. Have the correct exit processes and procedures in place and learn from them.

6.  Be creative

Think of alternative ways to interview and screen hires. Group interviews save time, and they can expose weaknesses as quickly as they can highlight strengths. Create a buzz, generate competition, who has the right skill set and is the right cultural fit to join your journey?

7.  Perk up their day

Enable your team to share in your success. What does your brand stand for? Do you have a good work/life balance? What benefits do they receive by contributing to your firm’s success? Communicate your rewards and benefits and to ensure they are valued, align them to what your workforce wants.

8.  Slice of the action

Competing for the best talent can be expensive, especially in the early stages of your growth. EMI (Enterprise Management Incentive) schemes are one way to secure talent ahead of your competitors. Offering shares in your business or in the growth the individual generates can be a significant motivator to exceed targets. Implemented and managed in the right way, you still remain in control while ensuring the most talented people are with you on the journey.

9.  Structure & Accountability

Fast paced entrepreneurial businesses can be held back by over-reliance on key individuals, namely the founder. By establishing a strong management team and providing them with skills and knowledge, they will become champions of your business. They can reinforce the values and take on more responsibilities as your company expands, ensuring you have the required time to play to your strengths and achieve ambitious targets. The Entrepreneurs Forum Scale-up leader’s academy provides a strong platform to teach your managers the relevant leadership skills to enable you to delegate as required.

10.  Select the right partner

By building a relationship with a recruitment partner who has exceptional knowledge of your business and sector, you’ll gain valuable market insight and access to quality candidates.  When approached professionally, recruitment partners save you time, money and add significant value. They will also head-hunt the top talent on your behalf by communicating your story and securing interest that would previously be unobtainable.