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Article -> Retaining Current Employees and Attracting Talent

Date Added: April 2006

A survey discovered that almost 25% of employees are unclear on what they are expected to do, lack the materials to do their work, or are waiting for other information from their boss.1 Consequently, this means they are disengaged and not as productive as they could or should be. There are several techniques to ensure that you are keeping your current employees - especially top performers - engaged and using internal branding to attract the right people.

While some employees are diligently doing their work, others are unclear of their roles, causing unbalance in the work place. This leads to far greater problems for your organization. To ensure that all employees know their role and are engaged, there are some key elements to focus on:

  1. Communicate, communicate, communicate: Make sure you explain what items are priorities and how these priorities relate to employees' roles. This will motivate and engage employees.
  2. Ask, listen and learn: Ask employees what information and tools they need to effectively perform their job, listen to this and learn from it to implement a plan.
  3. Share information: Make sure information is shared between departments, locations and employees.
  4. Provide feedback: Leaders should constantly share feedback - good and bad - with employees.

All employees should be comfortable and engaged with what they are doing, and it will be easier to attract and retain people. It is becoming extremely difficult to replace high performing employees if they leave for other opportunities. However, many companies are only concerned with branding their products and services and they forget the need to brand themselves to prospective employees. Think of recruits as potential customers and use marketing analysis to identify competition and attributes that matter most to recruits and how to attract them.

Identifying your competition is the first step in using internal branding. In its simplest form, internal branding is when all employees can clearly communicate your brand's positioning, messages and promise - in the same manner as the CEO. You need to decide which attributes to emphasize and what your competition offers that you may not. Traditional recruiting only focuses on employee benefits, such as job security, opportunities for creativity and individual growth, and compensation.2

While that is good, it's important to focus on emotional association, so employees will emotionally connect with your company and know why it's a desirable place to work. To successfully recruit, it's important to have both the functional and intangible dimensions of a total benefits package.

The next step is to focus on what needs to be done. Create a human capital plan. Understand what really matters to recruits. The greater the insight, the more brand-specific attributes you will have to connect with recruits. Focus on your strengths as an organization and leverage these against your competitors.

Finally, make sure you have the right tools to ensure success. Just like you need the right tools for current employees to do their jobs efficiently, you need to use the right techniques for recruiting. The best way to do that is to identify 1-2 messages that best represent your company and differentiate you from competition. To attract the best talent, you may need to invest more effort on your recruiting strategy and process.

With current employees engaged and knowing their roles, the recruiting process becomes a little easier. Remember to think of internal branding like prospective customers, to represent your products and services to obtain these customers and their loyalty. Identifying the right tools and process will make this much more effective and leading to maximizing your profitability and productivity. But first, ensure your employees are engaged and begin with a human capital plan.

Hiam, Alex. "Keeping Your Employees Moving Forward." March 25, 2002.
2 Hieronimus, Fabian, Katharina Schaefer, and Jurgen Schroder. "Using Branding to Attract Talent." The McKinsey Quarterly. October 2, 2005.

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