As the old saying would have it, a team is only ever as strong as its weakest player. Accordingly, your business will only grow into something greater than the sum of its parts, if those parts are chosen with great care and looked after in a way that encourages optimal performance. In this article, we’ll focus on one of the most important—if not the most important—‘parts’ of any business: its employees.

Know who you should be attracting

You can save yourself a huge headache later on by clarifying who you should be aiming to hire before you start the recruitment process. A great place to start is with a description of the responsibilities associated with the role you’re hoping to fill: this will provide you with a set of clear criteria when making an initial evaluation of candidates.

It’s also important to consider also the type of person who will make the best contribution to your business. This means taking into account ‘soft skills’, such as communication, creative thinking, project management, or teamwork. By focusing on both soft skills and role-specific skills, you’ll be able to develop a comprehensive profile of your ideal candidate and boost the chances that you’ll recognise them when they submit an application.

Go to where the right candidates can be found

Your ideal candidate profile will help you develop a targeted recruitment strategy. For example, if you’re hoping to hire a standout student into a graduate role, you may find it advantageous to register for on-campus careers fairs and liaise with university careers services (many of which maintain their own job boards).

Alternatively, if you’re hunting for a mid-level recruit, it’s a good idea to check which online service attracts job postings from other businesses in your industry. Bear in mind that searching for a job is just as time-consuming (and stressful) as searching for an employee: most candidates will, therefore, focus on one or two job-seeking websites for maximum efficiency.

If you’re not sure how to reach your ideal candidate, you can always call on the services of industry experts, like the professionals at RecruitWest, who specialises in finding qualified candidates for a variety of roles.

Sell a career, not just a job

High-performing employees have a strong sense of purpose and a clear idea of what they want their future to look like. As such, it’s not enough to sell them on the job you’ve advertised alone. Instead, take the time to consider how the job will provide them with an opportunity to accomplish their short- and long-term professional goals. Do this and you’re far more likely to find yourself with employees who care about the work they do because it aligns with their personal and professional goals.

Offer a competitive pay package

A key part of the recruitment process involves negotiating pay for your prospective employee. If you want above average employees, you should be prepared to offer an above average salary. Offering remuneration that isn’t competitive could be taken to imply that you don’t truly value your employees or the work that they do.

If you’re not sure what salary expectations a candidate might have, you can start by checking a reputable guide, such as the Hays Salary Guide, or by doing some research on a website like Glassdoor. Alternatively, search the role you’re trying to fill on an online job board and see if any similar roles have been advertised with a salary. This will help you identify a minimum and maximum salary range (taking into account your budget too, of course) and prepare to negotiate with the client.

Focus on developing a positive workplace culture

According to Deloitte, 94% of executives and 88% of employees believe a distinct workplace culture is important to business success, with employees who are satisfied by their workplace culture far more likely to report feeling ‘valued’ and ‘happy’.

So, if you’re committed to attracting and retaining talent, give some thought to the culture at your business. Does your organisation have clear values? Does it promote activities designed to strengthen team bonds and loyalty? Do employees feel like their work is recognised in a meaningful way? Most importantly—are people happy to come into work? You’ll have a hard time attracting new employees if the ones you already have looked like they’re eager to leave…

Invite feedback and adapt to it

Open communication should be at the heart of your employee retention strategy. Consider providing your employees with regular opportunities to provide feedback and share their ideas about business initiatives. This will help your staff members feel like they’re a key part of your organisation and also give you an opportunity to develop your business in a way that makes it more attractive to prospective and current employees.