How to attract and retain the right talent

How to attract and retain the right talent

Posted: Fri 1st Dec 2023

Talent is the lifeblood of any organisation, especially when it comes to fuelling growth and innovation. Attracting top talent is crucial for your business's growth and success, and having a strong and talented team can help drive innovation, increase productivity, and propel your company forward.

In this blog, we delve into the art of attracting and retaining the right talent. Learn how to create a magnetic employer brand, craft compelling job ads, and build an effective recruitment strategy that ensures you're bringing in the best for your company.

How do I know when I'm ready to hire?

One of the key indicators is when you find yourself overwhelmed with tasks and unable to effectively manage all aspects of your business on your own.

If you're consistently working long hours, sacrificing personal time and struggling to meet deadlines, it may be a sign that recruiting an employee could alleviate some of your workload and allow you to focus on more strategic aspects of the business.

Or, if you find that you're turning down potential business opportunities due to a lack of time or resources, it may be a sign that bringing in someone to support you would be beneficial.

Another factor to consider is the financial aspect. If you have enough cash flow to cover an extra salary, and you believe the investment of hiring a new employee will increase productivity and growth, it could be a good time to make the leap.

Ultimately, trusting your instincts and carefully evaluating your needs and resources will help you determine when it's the right time to hire.

In the Lunch and Learn webinar below, HR expert Karen Watkins says:

"Readiness doesn't always equal busyness. Just because you're busy doesn't necessarily mean you need more people.

"So, if you're busy, consider what it is you're busy doing. Think about what you're good at and what you're not so good at. If you then start to form a list of things other people could do that you don't particularly excel at, it might be an indication that you're getting ready to recruit."



How does hiring staff make a business more productive?

Hiring staff can greatly improve productivity. It sounds simple, but when more people are involved in a project or task, it allows those team members to divide and share the workload among themselves. That typically means tasks are completed more quickly and efficiently.

Recruiting employees who have specialised skills or expertise can bring new perspectives and ideas to the table, which aids problem-solving and innovation.

With a larger team, there's also a greater opportunity for collaboration and brainstorming, which can help you find more creative and effective solutions.

Furthermore, having extra staff members can free up time for you to focus on higher-level strategic tasks, ultimately driving the company forward and improving productivity as a whole.

Strategies for attracting the right talent

Have a strong reputation

A positive reputation not only attracts potential employees but also strengthens your brand image overall. Establishing a solid reputation means considering several elements.

A successful team

  • Employees shape your reputation. When they work together to achieve common goals, your company's overall performance improves. A team-oriented culture encourages innovation, creativity and problem-solving, which in turn attracts talented workers.

A great product or service

  • Another crucial aspect. A product that exceeds customers' expectations and provides value creates positive word-of-mouth, which attracts customers and prospective staff members. It also demonstrates your commitment to excellence and your ability to deliver high-quality solutions.

Strong leadership

  • Effective leaders inspire and motivate employees, fostering a positive work environment and culture. They provide guidance, support and opportunities for growth, which not only results in more engaged employees but also attracts people who want to work under leaders who can help them achieve their career goals.

An exceptional experience

  • This involves providing a high standard of customer service, addressing employees' needs and concerns, and creating a positive work-life balance. Ultimately, creating a positive experience for everyone involved builds your reputation as a company that values its people and strives for excellence.

Cultivate a positive company culture and working environment

Employees want to work where they feel valued and engaged. A positive, inclusive and supportive culture sets the foundation for a successful and thriving workplace environment.

When potential candidates see that your business values its staff and promotes a healthy culture, they're more likely to consider it as somewhere they'd like to work.

Invest in strong leadership and give your employees the responsibility to make decisions and take ownership of their work. Offer opportunities for professional development, mentorship and career growth. Providing a positive work environment will not only attract top talent but also improve employee retention rates.

Communicating your company's mission, vision and values

Fostering a positive company culture begins with having a clearly defined mission, vision and values. These guideposts serve as the backbone of your business and help bring employees' values into line with the company's.

Candidates who see that their own values align with the organisation's mission and purpose will feel a sense of connection and be motivated to contribute to the business's success.

Social media

  • One way to communicate your company mission and vision is through your social media channels. Showcase your positive company culture by sharing stories, photos and videos that illustrate the business's values and goals.

    You can also encourage current employees to share their own experiences and achievements on social media to further reinforce the company's mission.

Company website

  • Display pictures of employees engaged in team-building activities, or include testimonials from current staff about their positive experiences working for the company.

Job descriptions

  • Highlight the strong culture and values that your company embodies, to show the type of environment that prospective employees can expect.


  • When interviewing candidates, discuss the company culture and provide examples of how your organisation supports its employees and creates a positive and inclusive work environment.

Recognising employees for their contributions

  • Celebrate employees who exemplify the business's values and go above and beyond in their work. This not only boosts morale but also shows potential candidates the opportunities for career progression and professional development within the company.

HR expert Karen Watkins says:

"With social media, we have an opportunity to tell stories about what it's like for people to come and work with us. And it doesn't need to be complicated. Think of this way: how you talk to and engage with your customers should be how you talk to and engage with your employees.

"It's about engaging prospective candidates from a very early point. Showing them things that they would like to participate in, or faces of colleagues they feel they'd like to work with.

"We live in a very fast-moving world right now, and in recruitment much is about the visual element. Bring those stories to your website and social media channels and start talking about what it's like for people to come and join you."

Craft a compelling and authentic employer brand

Having a strong employer brand is essential for attracting top talent. Your employer brand is how prospective candidates perceive your company and its reputation as an employer.

Not only that, but it reflects the business's true essence and serves as a powerful tool for attracting people who are seeking an organisation that aligns with their personal and professional values.

Strong employer branding goes beyond job descriptions and salary packages. It involves showcasing your company's values, culture and overall experience for employees. When potential candidates can relate to and align with your brand, they're more likely to be drawn to your organisation and consider it a place where they can thrive.

To build a compelling employer brand, you need to focus on a few key elements:

  • Showcase your business's personality: This means highlighting the company's unique traits, such as its mission, vision and core values. By showcasing these aspects, potential candidates can determine if they fit with the organisation's ethos.

  • Emphasise the company's positive work culture and environment: You can do this by sharing employees' stories and testimonials and any successful projects that highlight the positive aspects of working in the business. Spreading awareness in this way can create a sense of belonging and appeal to individuals who align with those principles.

  • Be sincere and transparent about areas of improvement: Being open about your business's journey and challenges and its ups and downs can help establish trust with your target audience. It can also demonstrate that you're committed to growth.

Karen Watkins explains:

"People are watching you from the outside. Your future employees are already looking at where you are, what you're doing, the make-up of your team and so on. And it's your job to be able to provide that window into your world.

"The last minute job-hunting that people used to do is long gone. Now they're starting to form relationships and engagements online in order to find their ideal colleagues and the types of businesses they want to work for.

"So what does this mean for you as an employer? The social revolution is all about engagement, connectivity and people looking for stories about why they should join your business."

Write effective job descriptions

Job descriptions play a crucial role in attracting the right talent. They serve as a first impression for jobseekers and can make or break their decision to apply. As such, they should be clear, concise and well formatted, visually appealing and easy to read.

A well-crafted job description will attract more qualified candidates and encourage them to apply. It should include key details such as:

  • the role's most important responsibilities, duties and tasks

  • the qualifications and/or skills needed to do the role

  • information about the company culture and working environment

  • potential opportunities for career growth and development

  • any benefits package your company provides – for example:

    • paid time off (annual leave)

    • flexible working arrangements

    • comprehensive health insurance

    • professional development opportunities

    • employee wellness programmes

    • mentorship programmes

Finally, don't forget to include a clear call to action at the end of the job description. This tells potential candidates what they need to do to apply and ensures a seamless application process.

Salary and compensation

Mentioning salary in job descriptions can be a powerful tool in attracting top talent. While you don't need to disclose exact figures, providing a salary range or a statement about competitive compensation and benefits can generate interest and entice qualified candidates.

Karen Watkins says:

"There's a question over whether you should put the salary on a job advert. 100% you should! The more information you can give candidates, the better.

"If you have someone amazing who wants to apply, but sees the salary is slightly less than they're after, if they're right for the role, they're going to contact you anyway.

"So put the information in and give candidates as much detail as you can. You can include a comment to say if they'd like to discuss salary or have a confidential conversation about anything else, they can pick up the phone and give you a call."

Advertise on the right job platforms

To attract the right talent, leveraging the right job boards is crucial. Job boards are powerful tools that connect you with potential candidates and make the hiring process more effective.

When it comes to deciding where to place a job advert, be strategic. Select job boards that align with your industry and the specific roles you're looking to fill. This makes sure that the job postings reach a targeted audience of potential talent who possess the skills and experience you need.

Being selective with job boards means you can improve the quality of applications you receive and increase the chances of finding the right talent for your business.

Karen Watkins has some insight:

"There's a myriad of job boards out there, and everyone's needs are different. So my advice would be to consider general reach.

"With the talent pool, do you want to cast your net really wide? If you do, go for the more traditional platforms like Indeed or Reed. If you're looking more from a specialist perspective, go with sites that relate to either the professional you're seeking, or your industry."

Offer opportunities for career progression and personal development

Talented individuals are often looking for opportunities to grow and advance in their careers, and they want to work for organisations that value and support their professional development.

Fostering career progression within your company not only helps attract qualified candidates but also retains and motivates the people who already work for you.

Here are several strategies to consider:

Setting clear goals

  • By making sure employees have clearly defined goals that align with their career aspirations and the business's aims, you create a sense of purpose and direction. Employees are more likely to stay engaged and committed when they have a clear career path.

Offer training courses

  • Invest in providing relevant training courses that enhance employees' skills and knowledge. This not only helps them perform their current roles effectively but also prepares them for future growth opportunities within the business. Training courses demonstrate your commitment to employees' growth and development.

Create a mentorship programme

  • Pairing employees with experienced mentors in the organisation fosters a culture of learning and development. Mentors can provide guidance, share knowledge, and offer support to mentees, helping them progress in their careers and develop new skills.

Provide stretch assignments

  • Assigning challenging and high-impact projects that go beyond an employee's current role encourages continuous learning and development. Stretch assignments push employees out of their comfort zones, allowing them to acquire new skills and explore their potential.

Show that you're committed to diversity and inclusion

Companies that prioritise diversity and inclusion (D&I) are not only more appealing to potential candidates but also create an inclusive and equitable workplace culture that allows for creativity, innovation and collaboration.

To highlight your commitment in job ads, mention specific policies and initiatives that promote D&I. For example, you could mention your aim to hire a diverse workforce, or implement mentorship programmes for underrepresented groups.

On your website, create a dedicated D&I page that showcases your company's approach and success stories from diverse employees.

During the interview process, openly discuss your company's commitment to D&I. Ask candidates about their experiences and how they would contribute to creating an inclusive work environment. Share examples of how your company values and supports diversity, such as unconscious bias training, diverse interview panels, or diverse leadership.

Make the application process straightforward and quick

A complicated and lengthy hiring process can deter potential candidates and have a negative impact on your employer brand. Jobseekers want a smooth application process that respects their time.

Here are some methods to employ:

Use initial psychometric assessments

  • Incorporate quick assessments or tests at the beginning of the application process to gauge a candidate's skills and qualifications. This allows you to filter out the most suitable candidates early on, saving time for everyone.

Conduct in-depth interviews with selected candidates

  • Instead of dragging out the interview process with several rounds, focus on having comprehensive interviews with a select group of candidates. This makes sure you gather significant information and make an informed decision efficiently.

Streamline job adverts and applications

  • Clearly outline the role requirements and expectations in job descriptions. Keep the application process simple by asking for essential information only. Consider using technology to automate and streamline applications, reducing the time commitment for candidates.


Your cultural and community space toolkit

If you're reading this guide as part of the Grow London Local toolkit for opening, running and growing a cultural or community space, next look at step 5: renting business premises


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