This month, I have the pleasure of attending an event called ‘How To Be The Number 1 Recruiter To Work For.’ It’s an annual conference and always a popular event – and why wouldn’t it be when the title promises so much! Who could resist?
It started my brain whirring though, particularly with this Green Umbrella blog in mind. Maybe you’re not a recruiter but I wondered if the ingredients for being the best leader or business to work for are still the same? In my opinion as Managing Director of ISV Software and a performance coach, yes they are, at least there are certainly aspects which are transferable.
So here are some of my top tips on how to be the best in your field to work with and to work for. Plus these are actually really useful marketing tips for your business too!
Hopefully you’ll already know what makes you different and what sets you apart from others who offer a similar product or service. That is, what your USPs are. Usually you consider this from a client perspective but it’s the same with attracting talent. Pinpoint what it is about you or your business that’s different? If in doubt ask your team around you what they enjoy and what is special about working for you. If you’re self-employed or work solo, ask your closest clients or support network what stands out, and don’t be shy about communicating this. Bigger brands do, so why not you?
Be A Beacon
At ISV we work closely with recruiters and job seekers or candidates. One titbit of advice we pass on is to not dumb down their previous employers or the competition. There’s something bitter about bad mouthing those operating in the same space as you, don’t be that person – it really does leave a bad taste in the mouth. Instead set the standard yourself, aim to be the best not just better than the rest. Your business should be a beacon, easy to find for future employees and shining out as an example of a great place to work.
OK so you might not have a huge budget to offer the most competitive salaries or to invest in extensive training but there are other ways you can be generous. Plus there are so many immeasurable benefits you can communicate and highlight about working in a small team. Colleagues will have exposure to many areas of the business that they wouldn’t usually. Marketing can get involved in commercials. HR or office managers can input to your growth strategy. The experience you are offering is invaluable.
What else can you offer? At ISV, we have free fruit in the office and can indulge in a boozy drink on a Friday afternoon if people choose. Most people opt for the fruit now the novelty of beer Friday has worn off! These are low cost options and allow for a bit of down time when you can get to know your colleagues better.
Be Open to Support
When you’re in an SME or self-employed in your own business there is pressure to do it all yourself. You made the choice to go it alone or work with limited resource and there’s no backing out now. How is that frame of mind serving you when it comes to energy levels and in terms of the service you’re giving your customers? You could be winging it and hoping all will turn out ok when in fact, you’re spreading yourself too thin and heading for burnout.
Take all the support you can get and outsource anything that distracts you from delivering your core offering plus anything you’re not an expert in. Social media is a great example and possibly why you’re here. The team at Green Umbrella provide excellent support so you can push your energy elsewhere whether that’s on delivery, developing your team or attracting the right new talent.
We all want to matter. This was such a simple, resonant statement that landed with me (I suspect from LinkedIn influencer and speaker Jeff Haden). It’s a statement that I aim to lead by. Everyone in the team matters, regardless of gender, age, tenure or role. Their happiness and career development is so worth nurturing and investing in. If you take on a school leaver or younger colleague then help them flourish and keep investing in their development. Most local authorities and chambers of commerce offer free or low cost training to help keep them learning. The same goes for partners or colleagues you’ve worked with for years. Just because they are competent or mature in their role does not mean there isn’t room for growth. Where can you step up this training or develop responsibilities? It’s your job to nurture your business and the people in it. Do so and you’ll see the results.
This is by no means a definitive list or magic bullet on how to be the Number 1 business or leader to work for. They are aspects that I feel passionate about. Some are part of the culture that I have created or nurtured at ISV, others are more aspirational and I know there is still some work to do.
Over to you. What would you add to this list? If you are a recruiter, you may be interested to read my original thoughts geared towards your role and being the best recruiter to work for.