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Attracting Talent Who Will Ignite Your Culture and Propel Your Growth

By Lyn Currie

There’s a new talent acquisition landscape in place, thanks in large part to the global pandemic that has changed the ways we work – and look at work – over the past two years. So, what can leaders do to attract the best talent to their organizations in today’s market? How do you attract leaders who will help you to ignite your culture and propel your growth?

  • Create a strong Employee Value Proposition (EVP)

In each of our businesses, we only have one time to make a great first impression. Do you know, and can you articulate, your purpose and the values of your organization? Is it crisp and clear? Is it authentic? Do you know how your recruiting team is describing your culture to candidates?

Many organizations do a wonderful job at creating a multi-step recruitment process where candidates meet various people within the organization, but if each touch point isn’t working to help to illuminate your culture for candidates, and if your messaging isn’t clear, consistent and, most importantly true, you’re missing an opportunity. Remember, in today’s market, it’s likely that each of your candidates is also talking to three or four other organizations – a strong, clear and consistent EVP helps you differentiate yourself from your competitors and put your best foot forward!

Candidates are looking for purpose and meaning. They are looking for investment in learning and development. They are looking to make an impact.  Ask yourself if your company’s EVP addresses those priorities.

  • Leverage the power of your Chief People Officer (CPO)

The thinking is this: if people and culture is the foundation of your business, and if they are the fuel to propel your growth, then your people and culture leader is at the right hand of the CEO – at the same level of importance as the CFO.

We know organizations that value culture are making this shift, and they are recognizing that their CPO candidates are as sophisticated in business strategy as they are in people strategy. (We also know that CPO candidates are in the market for CEOs who sees them as a business partner and integral part of the growth strategy of your organization, not as just someone to manage the people side of the business.)

In addition to giving CPOs a seat at the leadership table, organizations today are asking more of their people leaders. Through the Canada’s Most Admired Corporate Cultures Award submission process, Waterstone Human Capital has observed that organizations are investing significantly more in learning and development programs. Candidates are asking – often in the first interview – how organizations will invest in their training and career development. Best-in-class organizations are putting the employee in the driver’s seat when it comes to defining their career path – and putting the onus on the people and culture team to create robust programs that inspire continuous learning, and that empower employees to participate in charting their own course. This has also led to an increased emphasis on tools and technology to measure the success of people and culture programs – all driven through the CPO and their teams.

  • Understand the desired key behaviours of your top performers

To attract the best talent to your organization, it’s a worthwhile activity to start with charting the key behaviours of your current top performers, and how you assess for those behaviours in your recruitment process.  When you interview candidates, do you focus on experience, technical skills, and certifications? All these are important, but research suggests that behaviours that align to your values are a far stronger indicator of success.

Leaders need to take the time to get a clear understanding of what behaviors make a top performer in their organization, then ask: “How am I evaluating for these behaviors when I meet candidates?” It is not only up to the people and culture team to vet this – it’s up to all leaders.

  • Have a strategic focus on diversity, equity and inclusion

Putting a strategic focus on diversity adds to your culture. It speaks to who you are as an organization and the values that define you.

At DRiWaterstone Human Capital, we were early adopters of the idea that candidates should be evaluated through the lens of three components – experience, leadership qualities, and “culture fit”. As we continue to evolve, we no longer focus on culture fit, but rather look to “culture add” – those qualities that can help strengthen your company’s values and culture.

A culture transformation is often a multi-year journey, but a strategic focus on diversity, equity and inclusion is a great first step. Start by asking: “How can this person, with their diversity of experiences add to the culture? How can they contribute to, or even lead, the organization’s culture transformation?”

  • Total Rewards

No discussion around talent acquisition would be complete without looking at the total rewards package being offered. At DRiWaterstone, our research has shown that while money is one of the considerations when candidates are choosing to join a new organization, it is consistently ranking as low as number three on candidates’ lists of priorities (behind culture/purpose and learning and development opportunities).

When candidates consider the total rewards package, they are not only thinking about a base salary plus bonus. Instead, they’re looking for:

  • opportunities for training (both internally and externally);
  • flexibility (e.g., a hybrid work environment, flexibility around the hours of work, unlimited vacation policies);
  • culture, meaning, and connectedness.

Don’t underestimate the value of corporate social responsibility programs, internal committees, education allotments, and more when assessing and promoting your total rewards package.

Attracting talent who will be both high performers and future culture leaders within your organization takes work – but with the right tools and the proper strategic focus, it can be done.

Find out more about attracting talent who add to your culture and help drive success – contact DRiWaterstone’s Executive Search team today and schedule a 30-minute consultation.

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As a retained executive search firm that specializes in the non-profit and social enterprise space, we’re often asked by potential clients why they should invest in executive search services. Especially for organizations that already have an in-house people and culture team, looking for outside talent acquisition support can be a big investment.

Doug Trout, Managing Director at DRiWaterstone Human Capital, recently did a Q&A with Hunt Scanlon Media for their 2023 Recruiting Guide on just this topic. Some of his answers are below:

·  What value do executive search services provide? 

People and relationships are at the core of the search business – and they’re the number one reason to work with a retained executive search firm like DRiWaterstone Human Capital. Our recruiters take the time to get to know a client’s business and culture, and to build a relationship with the client. Our goal is to align hiring with every element of the client’s culture and strategic plan - from the way we market the organization in our search materials to the impression we create among candidates (those who get hired and those who don’t), everything we do advances this goal.

Executive search partners also bring to the table an in-depth knowledge of the industries in which they work. At DRiWaterstone, we have exceptional bench strength in the non-profit and social enterprise markets, giving us one of the largest networks of leaders qualified for non-profit and social enterprise organizations in the country, and a thorough understanding of the needs, challenges and opportunities that are unique to clients who are working in these types of businesses.

Finally, we stand by the work we do. Our team are paid for the quality of work we do, not the quantity of candidates put in front of clients – meaning we take the time to find and nurture relationships with the best possible candidates for each individual client (not just the best available candidates who are available to whichever organization hires them first).

·  Why should all corporate talent teams consider working with search firms?

Retained executive search firms complement internal talent acquisition teams and act as an extension of your company’s wholistic recruitment strategy. At DRiWaterstone Human Capital, we’re not only experts at evaluating candidates and filling tough searches that internal teams often don’t have the time or resources to take on, but we’re also experts the not-for-profit and social enterprise space. We have a strategic understanding of how both not-for-profits and private sector businesses operate, and that makes us a valuable partner for internal teams.

·  How has your company changed since the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic?

The biggest change is that we’ve joined with Waterstone Human Capital to form DRiWaterstone Human Capital - a culture-centric executive search, leadership advisory, and human capital firm. We can now offer clients expertise in non-profit and social enterprise executive recruiting, and more than 20 years of experience in building high performance teams and cultures. That expertise allows us to serve mission and purpose-driven organizations in both the non-profit and private sectors with a broad portfolio of services designed to inspire leaders to build high performance teams and cultures.

To learn more about DRiWaterstone’s search services, schedule a meeting with Doug or another one of our team members today.

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