Are you attracting and retaining the key talent you need for your business to flourish?

Be more savvy

A 9-5 working week, 4 weeks holiday a year, and a corner desk were once considered perks to a job, creating satisfaction and loyalty.

Not anymore.

Today’s businesses need to be much more savvy if they want to attract and retain key talent.

The so called ‘millenials’ have a different set of expectations; these days potential employees are searching for more of a work/life balance, and a greater sense of fulfilment from their jobs. They are more discerning. The structure of work has broken down and shifted, and small business owners must take note of this new, progressive environment, or risk missing great talent.

So here’s my challenge to you – dare to be different! Be more ‘millenial’ in your business thinking. Treat your potential employees like potential customers; ask yourself, ‘what is my Unique Selling Point as an employer?  What can I bring to the table that will attract the best candidates – who will in turn, bring success to my business?’  Create a sense of excitement and buzz about working in your business. You can inject some leading edge, and highly valued innovation into your HR policies and practices that will breed success, both with recruitment and employee engagement.

Here are ten of my current favourite examples of high performance thinking; innovative HR practices and policies currently being used by employers who are competing against you for the best quality staff and getting them……………………


  1. Workplace and corporate wellbeing schemes

Progressive-thinking companies understand that people are their most important and valuable asset. What better way to demonstrate you value for your staff than investing in their health and wellbeing. Investing in your employees’ mental and physical health can be of enormous benefit to company productivity. Consider the benefits of providing workplace access to services such as nutritional advice, yoga, massage and mindfulness. As well as delivering a powerful recruitment message to potential top-class candidates, consider the practical day-to-day benefits of these schemes such as reduction in your employee stress levels, improved attrition, reduced sickness absence and a generally refreshed and re-engaged workforce. Who are performing at their best?


  1. “Owning” unused holiday entitlement

Annual leave days are technically an employee’s to use as he or she sees fit. (as long as they take the statutory minimum of 20 days that is!) If they don’t use them, for whatever reason, a fresh idea is to let them donate them to another employee. Perhaps the beneficiary employee is taking a trip around the world or preparing for a life-changing event or has a sick child to care for? The point is that the business acknowledges the employee earned their holiday and can dole them out without company involvement. Google practices this policy, with great success. In France, there is a fabulously pioneering scheme, enabling workers to donate holiday days of their own to a colleague with a sick child. Just wow!



  1. Giving time off for volunteering

Businesses are stepping up and becoming good corporate citizens, and some are encouraging their staff to do the same. Experian, for example, offers up to three paid days for employees to volunteer. Days off to work in a soup kitchen, or volunteer at a hospital are worth their weight in gold at building a well-rounded, happy employee who works hard for the privilege of being part of the greater good. In Experian, staff are stating it as a key reason for working there, so it’s no surprise that offering time off for volunteering is increasingly high on the HR agenda of many a pioneering company today.


  1. Customising the position for the talent

Progressive business owners are ditching job descriptions, opting for building the position based on an employee’s strengths and interests. While challenging, this new practice is highly successful if modelled correctly. It takes a mix of knowing the employees, and accurately measuring their skill sets.

  1. Getting rid of job titles

Looked upon as old and stodgy, renegade companies are refusing to pigeonhole employees with one title. The opinion here is that titles stifle creativity and produces an unproductive hierarchy. Removing them fosters a more united, cohesive team of employees.


Blinkist, the 15-minute book app people, have eliminated job titles completely.  What’s in a name? Nothing but trouble according to them! They abolished job titles and launched their most-requested feature in record time. They are now positively evangelical about why job titles are detrimental to success and how getting rid of them can revolutionise an organisation.

6. Two-way mentoring

You most certainly CAN teach an old dog new tricks. While newer employees learn invaluable product knowledge and process requirements from company veterans, seasoned employees can get their imaginations sparked, absorb new technology, and discover new “hacks” from the newbies. Smart companies tap into the mentoring relationship as a back-and-forth, not up-to-down.


  1. Setting up workplace flexibility as the new normal

Focusing less on work/life balance, and more on the integration of life and work, is a paradigm that is emerging in the workplace. It’s all about how a company values the contribution of an employee, not just the physical hours worked. Time off for appointments and leaving early for school plays brings about loyalty and satisfaction in employees. I can testify here. I’ve adopted this approach with my own business and as a result I’ve been able to attract and retain the best people available and keep them!


  1. Providing free food

Many tech and Internet companies like Airbnb, Facebook, Dropbox and Etsy provide in-house food programs to their employees which are used as a recruitment and retention tool. For these businesses, it is a way to draw people to their company and keep them there. According to Gabriel Cole of Fare Resources, “it helps employees to be productive and engaged.”  Now – everybody older than 40 knows full well that that there’s no innovation here!! Subsidised work canteens were once the norm. However, with seismic shifts in social demographics and lifestyles, onsite catering could be an incredibly alluring prospect for potential millennial candidates – let’s face it, it is no longer uncommon for new town and city apartments to be built without kitchens. Time is in short supply these days and people are increasingly attracted to quick fix meal solutions.

  1. Offering referral bonuses

According to research, referrals are statistically higher for hiring better employees with higher retention rates. Recruitment by referrals works well because employees at your company are familiar with the work culture and values. High performing employees will be more likely to refer candidates with similar qualities.

Savvy employers operating in a tight labour market realise the value of enlisting staff as head-hunters. Not only does it cut out advertising and recruitment agencies, it slashes recruitment costs, and the chances are, a skilled reliable worker will bring on board a like-minded cohort.

Now I admit, staff referral schemes are nothing new, but they are still only used in about a third of UK companies, and less so in smaller businesses.  The benefits of this method of recruitment are obvious. The only fee goes to the employee referring the newcomer, and the cost is at the employer’s discretion.

Now you won’t see these ten practices in every office. However, the businesses that embrace one or more of these progressive practices will enjoy higher employee engagement, greater morale, and a more competitive approach to finding the right talent for their business.

So, I challenge you. Give me a call and ask me how we can inject some leading edge, and highly valued innovation, into your HR policies and practices that will in turn breed success, both with attracting and retaining the best talent, and having highly engaged employees!

To make it even easier on yourself, why not swing along to one of my exclusive High Performing Business workshops in September and October:


No textbooks or extensive course obligations are required – just a couple of hours of your time and an open and enquiring mind!!


Prices for each workshop are £75 per person, but a limited number of early bird tickets are exclusively available for FREE to my newsletter subscribers.  But beware, once these early bird free tickets have gone, they are gone, so don’t risk it – book it.