Tuesday, April 7, 2015

How to Attract Top Talent (it’s not what you think)

What’s the number one thing you can do to make sure your company succeeds? Some say sales or market fit or even a great product, but all of these are simply a market shift away from making your company irrelevant. In today’s knowledge and creative-based economy the absolute single most important thing you need to make sure your company will be successful, is talent!

Agree with me for a moment that talent is the most important thing you need to make sure your company will be successful. The next question is, what are the ways you can attract talent to your company? Personally, I would love to just answer with culture or corporate culture. Unfortunately, culture is not what makes the world go around. Money is. So, there are actually two answers to this question. Talent is drawn to your company by money and culture.      




There has been a lot said about advantages of corporate culture up to this point, and I am happy to say that many organizations are starting to understand that corporate culture is a powerful differentiator for attracting talent. A great culture cannot only attract talent to your company, it can stimulate considerably higher levels and longer bouts of performance from that same talent. I am going to spend the rest of this article talking about the other side of culture: money.

At the end of the day, we all show up to work for money. Yes, companies are getting to the point where they understand that “why” the company exists is just as important, but money still is the first and foremost reason most of us show up to work. Money provides food and shelter, and money allows for things like healthcare and retirement savings. Yet, organizations have done a very bad job of helping people deal with, manage and make the most of the money given to them. The common response to the financial challenges employees are facing is to give them more money, which almost never solves the true cause and might even make challenges worse, especially in the long run.

For most companies, money is a taboo topic with their employees and the topic of financial wellbeing, at least as an open discussion, is highly discouraged. The topic of personal finances is avoided like the plague, in fear of liability from providing advice or the dreaded topic of compensation and current market value. Yet, studies have shown this to be one of the areas employees desperately, need and where they are seeking the most help and support. 

Employee financial wellbeing is not simply offering a 401k or retirement plan with some type of match. Sure, employers can check the box with an optional annual meeting where providers talk to employees about plan offerings, balanced portfolios and covertly push investment products.

When surveyed, 76% of employees are living paycheck-to-paycheck and 31% haven’t saved anything for retirement. One out of three employees would be willing to give up all future raises for a guaranteed income. This just isn’t cutting it. 

How are your employees doing with their day-to-day financial habits? Think it’s not your problem as an employer?  Either way, you are paying for it. 44% of employees worry about finances while at work, 29% spend time during work dealing with personal finance problems and 49% of employees with a financial problem are looking for a new job. Employers are paying the price in lower productivity, lower engagement and higher turnover. For employers, this is directly turning into a loss of talent at a high cost.  

The good news is that things are changing. Companies such as Questis are offering financial wellness as an employee benefit. Using both real people and software, employers can now provide micro level help on everything from tax challenges to budgeting to investment guidance that their employees need. In fact according to a study by Aon Hewitt, 93% of larger employers are going to add a financial benefit in 2015.

As an employer, you need to accept your employee’s financial problems as your company’s problems. Getting employees in a good financial spot will lead to a stronger organization with less turnover, less stress and a more engaged workforce. This creates a gateway to higher performance, drawing more talent to your organization and ultimately a successful business.


While culture is getting most of the spotlight these days, it’s the combination of both culture and money working together that will ultimately draw and keep talent at your company. 

So I'll ask you... is there a way you can help the with the second most important thing on your employees minds or will you just continue to ignore it. :D