Hiring Top Talent is Still at a Premium – What Does it Mean for Your Organization?

Uncertainty in today’s market means reduced budgets, increased demands, and tough choices for organizations. Economic pressure and new expectations around when, where, and how people work are driving decision-making for top talent and creating misalignment between the expectations of the organization, and those of leadership candidates.

Companies that expect a cooling job market paired with tightening budgets will allow them to get more for less when it comes to hiring top performers are in for a frustrating recruitment experience. Top candidates know their worth and know the state of the market. More and more, they’re declining offers that undervalue their skills and/or experience; they are backing out late in the negotiating process if organizations won’t meet (or exceed) their compensation requirements, or if salary caps get reduced mid-negotiation.

If your organization is struggling to align what you want with your budget and the realities of the market, consider:

1. What does the competitive landscape look like?

Top talent is still a limited commodity and as a result, high-performance leaders come at a premium. One of the first things our executive recruiters at Waterstone do when working with a new client, is to take a close look at the competitive landscape to ensure everyone understands:

  • the value of exceptional leadership talent in the industry;
  • what high performers in similar roles are making to drive growth and performance at their organizations;
  • how compensation in the geographic area compares to other similar or nearby areas;

Arming yourself with this information upfront will help your organization’s leaders understand whether the budget realistically aligns with what it will take to secure top talent for your open role.

2. What do you offer that is of value to top performers?

Monetary compensation remains critically important, but don’t underestimate the value a people-first culture brings to the compensation discussion. If competitive research tells you that top talent in your industry (or for the role) is earing beyond your budget, organizations can look to culture, values, purpose, and the employee value proposition (EVP) to help attract and retain top talent.

Understanding what your organization offers candidates, and ensuring hiring committees are well-versed in your culture and EVP, can be a game-changer in compensation discussions.

3. Which behaviours are critical to achieving your goals?

Many organizations focus solely on skills when hiring leaders, but understanding the behaviours that drive high performance on your current team and looking for those behaviour patterns in top candidates (how they approach challenges, their critical thinking skills, their leadership style, etc.) is vital, especially in a competitive market. Interviewing and assessing candidates on success patterns is table stakes for top organizations today – assessing with an eye to understanding behaviour patterns (how people work and lead) is a difference maker. This approach can help you identify new and different candidates who may be better aligned to your needs and culture than traditional top-talent candidates.

4. Can you invest in up-and-coming talent?

Clearly understanding what gap or need you’re trying to solve for in your recruitment efforts can help you better assess your options when it comes to top talent.  Do you need to invest in proven leadership talent to solve for that need, or can you identify and work with an up-and-coming talent who may not match your needs 100 per cent, but who demonstrates the behaviour patterns necessary to succeed in the long-term? Finding and developing great emerging talent is an excellent way to align compensation expectations with organizational budgets, and investing in their growth is a great way to showcase your learning and development culture.

Interested in learning more about some of the trends and tensions that organizations are finding in today’s market? Download Waterstone’s latest report, Uncertainty and Expectation: How Tension in the Market is Driving New Thinking for Organizations and Top Talent.

At Waterstone Human Capital, we work with companies every day to help them assess and develop their people and culture. Schedule a meeting with one of our experts today and find out how we can help you attract and retain high-performance talent who will help you drive growth and success.