How can companies attract, retain and engage top talent?

Salo Managing Director Adam Sprecher joined Crain’s Chicago Staffing and Recruiting Roundtable to discuss industry trends and how companies can bolster their talent strategies.
Why is it important for a company to establish an employment brand?

A strong employment brand communicates that your company is a great place to work and a great place to do business with. It informs your hiring and retention strategy and differentiates you in the marketplace, helping you attract the talent that aligns best with your organization and values.

How can a company recruit and hire with a small HR staff that’s already overwhelmed?

Establish relationships with recruiting partners before a critical need arises. That includes making connections outside your area of expertise. Then when you have a need—or worse, an emergency—you already have a partner in place who knows who you are and how they can best help your business. Having a clear workforce plan will expedite this process and anticipate your need before it happens.

What’s your most effective method for finding top talent?

We think of ourselves as “super connectors.” Nurturing connections in our networks is our most effective and rewarding way of sourcing talent. Whether it’s a contact we meet at a networking event, a referral from a client or someone who reaches out to us directly, we create, establish and cultivate relationships so that when the time is right, we have the talent, and the individual has the best options to help their goals.

What recruiting and staffing tactics resonate with particular generations, such as millennials?

We believe that it matters less whether you’re a Millennial or a Baby Boomer—many are looking for their own version of flexibility and meaningful work. We’re seeing less focus on titles and “having the corner office” and more on the impact that work has on careers and lifestyles. So we take time to understand our consultants’ career passions and connect it to work they do. In the hyper-connected world we live and work in today, technology has made an impact on the way we connect and build relationships. However, it doesn’t replace the significance of face-to-face connections. Strong relationships have never been more important, and you need to maintain face-to-face interactions to attract and recruit talent.

How can benefits be used as a recruitment strategy?

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Start with clearly defined organizational values and determine how your talent and benefits strategy can uphold those values. Know what matters most to those you want to hire and retain, as well as what your competitors offer. Then get to work integrating your benefits into your recruitment strategy. By offering benefits that align with your company values and the needs of your employees, you are better positioned to attract talent. Organizations rarely have the perfect plan, so it’s important to be open to evolving your approach on an ongoing basis.

How can prospective candidates evaluate an organization against others in an industry?

Evaluate several areas, including your personal connection with the work, the leader, the team and the organization. If you simply focus on a company’s brand, you may later find that the work or leader isn’t a match. Or, you may follow a leader, then find that the values of the organization aren’t in line with your own. Creating a list of requirements can be helpful, similar to the decision to purchase a house. List the things you have to have, those that you would like to have, and what would be nice to have. Evaluate what you want and list the pros and cons, compare against the other options. Then, ask yourself
what you’re willing to compromise on, and what you’ll stand firm on. Then use your facts and your instincts to make the best decision for you.

What skillsets are in the highest demand in Chicago?

Finance and accounting are always in high demand. We’re seeing specific needs currently in finance organization management (e.g. process optimization, finance service delivery, and building or redesigning of accounting functions), as well as capital efficiency (cash forecasting, cash ow model design). This demonstrates that organizations are working to build and evolve as they grow—which is a great sign.

What hiring trends do you see for 2017?

We’ll see an uptick in the number of Baby Boomers retiring, highlighting the need to have proactive knowledge-transfer plans in place. What’s worked in the past won’t work in the future, especially given the tight labor market. Every organization will need to consider new ways to recruit.


Want to learn more ways you can attract, retain and engage top talent? Contact us and let’s connect over coffee.

*This content originally appeared in Crain’s Staffing and Recruiting Roundtable. Read the full discussion here.