Beyond the Paycheck: What Does Top Talent Really Want?

The global demand for employees is notoriously high. While some employers offer flashy employee perks and competitive salaries to attract and retain top talent, these efforts might not be as effective as perviously thought. One survey revealed 73 percent of employees said they would not leaving their current employer for a job that offers trendy perks. When employers want the best, they simply have to think of talent like a competition. 

The real technical and creative geniuses are gunning to be the next Steve Jobs of the big players (your Apples, Googles, Facebooks, etc.), or they want to start something of their own. Call these the top 10 percent in the global talent pool. Of the remaining 90 percent, who do you want to work for you? Of course, you’d like something along the lines of the remaining top 10 to 20 percent. These are the same people your competitors are after too. How do you stand out from the crowd and persuade candidates to work for you?

Your first thought might be to offer higher salaries and better employee benefits. This sounds pretty sensible. The best candidates get the best packages, while the employer gets the best candidates – everyone wins! However, that’s not a sustainable solution. Throwing money at the situation doesn’t solve it for the long-term. Instead, put these four larger initiatives on your radar if you want to attract the best talent and keep them around. 

1. Encourage Company-Wide Innovation

Google allegedly pays interns nearly $6000 per month, but do they only work there because they’re well-paid? It’s more to do with the company they are a part of building. Google is one of the richest companies in the world, but perhaps they’re richer in tech innovation; from Google Glass to self-driving cars.

While we can’t all be Google or Facebook, the point here is that seeing the bigger picture is absolutely vital when it comes to attracting people to your business, looking beyond surface-level pull factors and quick fixes. What can you offer? The “cool” that only innovation brings. You want your employees to feel like they can make a difference at your company. You need to foster a culture that is open to innovation and change that inspires your employees to come to work everyday and make a difference.


2. Build an Amazing Environment

If you create an environment where people enjoy their work, you’ll have built the foundations of a place where employees will want to come to you, and stay there. Work life balance is no longer a buzzword. Flexible work hours are more important now than ever. With remote work easier than ever thanks to modern technology and the apparent benefits of working from home, like increased productivity and reduced stress, offering the benefit should be a no brainer. But building an amazing environment also means designing the perfect office space for your employees. That can mean ditching glaring fluorescent bulbs for low lighting to boost productivity and creative spaces can allow room for creativity when it strikes.

3. Recruit a Great Team

Getting the balance right between attitude and aptitude is key, and “softer” characteristics or skills can be harder to gauge in some people. It's important that new people blend with your existing team. Not that it’s all about fitting in—ditch the idea of interviewing for "culture fit," instead opt for people who break the mold and shake things up. The right people can challenge others positively and bring their colleagues up to the next level. Ultimately you want to bring the best out of your people old and new, as well as foster an environment that celebrates diversity and welcomes fresh ideas and perspectives.

4. Offer Employees Exciting Work

LinkedIn’s Talent Trends 2014 report states that ahead of better compensation and benefits, actively job-seeking candidates value greater opportunities for advancement as the most important factor when seeking a new job. That doesn’t just mean a corporate ladder and positive cash flow. It means work that builds to a crescendo, work that intrigues, excites, and means a greater future for the employee—and the company too. Introduce learning and development programs that can help your employees learn new skills and hone existing skills. That will help keep things new and exciting so employees stick around longer and see your company as a way to develop their professional skills. 

Building a complete compensation package that will make your company stand out from the crowd involves more than just competitive salaries. From company values to culture, today's top talent values a company that is an open, welcoming, and flexible place to work. For inspiration on how to craft the perfect complete compensation package for your company, watch our "Beyond Healthcare: How to craft a benefits package that resonates with today's workforce" webinar.

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