Skip to main content

Attracting Top Talent

Navigating The Challenges of Talent Acquisition in Rapid Growth Companies

Are you obsessed with talent and talent acquisition? If not, you should be!

Our clients are obsessed with attracting top talent. Hiring, coaching and developing the best teams they can afford. A-Players DO NOT cost any more than B or C-Players. But you need to get clear on what A-Player talent looks like in your organisation. Once you have this, you can find ways to attract the top 10% of talent to a given role, salary bracket and location.

It doesn’t mean paying more money. I’d argue that simply increasing the salary on offer doesn’t increase the likelihood of finding A-Players. That’s lazy thinking.

In an interview for an upcoming episode of Mind Your F**king Business Podcast (due out January 2024), I spoke with Benj Miller. Benj is a Leadership Team Coach, and we spoke about his new book, Renegades: Break Rules, Find Freedom. We discussed how compensation can extend beyond salary, offering benefits in line with both company culture and the team member’s phase of life – an extremely attractive offering. 

This comprehensive guide will delve into the crucial aspects of talent acquisition in fast-growing companies, providing actionable insights for CEOs leading SMBs and start-ups.

    Understanding the Current Talent Landscape

    David Packard’s wisdom echoes in today’s dynamic job market: “No company can grow revenues consistently faster than its ability to get enough of the right people to implement that growth and still become a great company.”

    How familiar are you with current trends that are affecting growth firm hiring? We are seeing clients report that the pace of hiring has slowed from the hectic post-pandemic boom; some are reporting huge swings in retention, with churn dropping to single digits. One is now planning layoffs as a result of this unprecedented drop in exits. Where employees are moving, they aren’t necessarily seeking inflation betting pay rises, and we are hearing that development and culture are at the top of the list of wants.

    Clients who are recruiting are seeing. CV volumes are increasing, and access to quality of talent they haven’t seen in some time. The need to offer remote to attract quality and volume has mostly gone away, and 3 days a week in the office is the norm across our clients who retain offices.

    In a conversation with an executive last week who had just moved roles, they said their former employer had removed all vestiges of the positive, supportive culture that had been in place and swapped it for a more fear-laden austerity approach. So they moved firms.

    Building an Attractive Company Culture

    For A-Players, an attractive company culture is high or top of their priority list.

    What is the first thing a candidate will do after finding a job ad they like the look of? They will Google the company to see whether they should spend their time and energy putting an application in.

    Google YOUR company NOW, Do you think it’s worth applying? Are your search results and reviews captivating? Top talent is seaking an environment enabling personal and professional development.

    Prospective candidates should be able to get a sense of the unique day-to-day experiences that make your workplace buzz with energy.

    From your careers site to social media, let your employees share stories about how the company culture has positively shaped their professional journeys.

    wirehive office image
    One of many pictures Wirehive posted online

    Video works exceptionally well for this; it’s something we implemented at ITLab, Peer1, and Rackspace, and it has resulted in consistent feedback that it is a hook in the recruitment process.

    It works so well that we encourage all our clients to adopt the technique. Wirehive did a great job of this as a small firm and allowed them to hire great tech talent even when they competed with larger local competitors,

    Nothing screams authenticity like employees candidly sharing what puts them in flow when working for you.

    If your Glassdoor is out of date, if your hiring managers have non-existent, neglected or messy LinkedIn profiles or if there isn’t a single glimmer of your company and its employees having any fun, then you need to clean this up before trying to land top talent.

    Strengthening Your Employer Brand

    What does your firm look like on Glassdoor? Do you know what good looks like? Salesforce is a company to emulate. Salesforce’s current Glassdoor score is 4.1, and Marc Benioff, the CEO, has a 77% approval rating. Chuck Robbins at Cisco has a 93% approval rating, and Cisco gets 4.4 on Glassdoor. Cisco also topped the Fortune 100 Best Place to Work list. There are lists and rankings, and candidates will look and find you.

    Client Smartsourcing has won the HR Asia Best Companies to Work for in the Philippines for the past 2 years. They are also accredited with Best Place to Work. Smartsourcing has an overall rating of 4.6 out of 5, 98% of employees would recommend working at Smartsourcing to a friend, and 86% have a positive outlook for the business. Third-party validation of your unique and vibrant culture is hugely valuable in attracting talent.

    I heard from Simon La Fosse at La Fosse Associates how well this worked for them in our chat on Mind Your F**king Business Podcast; being the UK recruitment firm topping the Best Companies awards for ten years ensures they have more applicants from A-Players than they have roles.

    Your company’s unique story and success deserve to be shared on platforms where talent spends time. Allowing individuals to connect with you builds a sense of openness.

    Effectively promote your brand through social media and digital platforms, highlighting the power of engaging current employees as brand ambassadors.

    Ensure your online presence showcases a positive and engaging work environment with team members sharing wins and experiences. It’s an opportunity to bring your company culture to life rather than just stating it on the job ad.

    Life at Pax8

    Offering Competitive Compensation and Benefits

    Striking the right balance between budget limitations and attractive packages is challenging but crucial. Explore creative compensation strategies beyond salary, equity, educational stipends or purpose days. Tout unique perks aligning with your values. At Peer 1, we decided that we would pay median salaries in any market and that our benefits would be the best. To move to the 75th percentile on salaries would have cost us 25% of payroll, but the best benefits in any market we operated in would only be 5% of payroll. The enhanced benefits were a less expensive and more impactful way of attracting top talent to apply for our advertised roles.

    One client recently advertised “no probation period”, and this got their roles noticed in their market.

    One client optimised their hiring processes, reducing time-to-hire significantly within one year, dropping their time to fill from 40 days to 4 days. This meant they out-competed their rivals for any talent in their marketplace. The individuals were snapped up before they got a 2nd interview elsewhere. They have great benefits but have opted to deploy speed with a raw salary and pay 110% of the market rate for any of their core roles.

    Fostering Growth and Development Opportunities

    A-Players seek continuous development advancement. Consider defined mentorships, rotational programs, skills training and more. Demonstrate commitments to nurturing talent beyond stating “opportunities available” in job posts. For example, highlight specific programs such as mentorships, annual conferences, stretch assignments, and skills workshops. Tangibility signals actual investment in team member growth.

    The government apprenticeship programme is great for upskilling within a role, so supporting team members to study (during work hours) whilst furthering their professional career with you is something we offer at Monkhouse & Company, with fantastic results.

    Client Macquarie Technology Group in Sydney hires students on two-year fixed-term contracts and invests in their growth. They receive micro promotions and pay raises as they take and pass 16 industry accreditations. I spoke with Tony Pandher on an episode of Mind Your F**king Business Podcast about creating a world-class NPS, where he outlines why they hire students from year 2 rather than after graduation and what makes up their unique 2-year fixed-term contract hiring process.

    Innovative Recruitment Strategies

    Where are you currently recruiting from? You might need to think again if you’re putting role listings on traditional job sites and hoping A-Players fall into your lap. This might not be the best pool of talent for your requirements. Macquarie hiring students before graduation is a fabulous example. At Rackspace UK, we used our South African critical mass to interview and hire engineers with ancestral visas before they had even thought to leave the country.

    Could partnerships with vendors, clients or local tech hubs establish referral pipelines? Consider hosting career events where employees chat with candidates without a formal application. Another client Excelesor Matt increased applicant quality by 10x by highlighting its mission and values in ads.

    At Peer 1, our partnership with Portsmouth University ensured we had 35 applications for our networking apprenticeship.

    Top talent seeks meaningful work, not just offers. By innovating beyond outdated playbooks, you amplify your reach to A-Players.

    For example, “open office hours” allow interested folks to chat with employees about roles, culture, and work without any upfront commitment. This enables qualified candidates to self-select based on authentic conversations.

    Additionally, team member referral programs incentivise your workforce to source high-quality candidates aligned with your culture and values. Referred prospects tend to assimilate more smoothly. What percentage of your current team are referrals? If you’re a great place to work almost a third is a good number to aim for. If you’re not there yet, what’s getting in the way? Try offering £5k as a bonus. Pay 1/3rd on application, a 1/3rd at six months and the final 1/3rd at 12 months.

    Streamlining the Hiring Process

    Efficiency with personalisation is vital. Reduce time-to-hire through process improvement and automation. Less recruiting time means more time for sales, marketing and revenue generation.

    Set SLAs (service level agreements) for each hiring stage and continuously track where delays occur—survey candidate feedback to pinpoint areas for improvement. Top talent won’t wait amidst an unnecessarily bureaucratic process. Measure and optimise to refine your talent funnel. If you are unsure where to start with recruitment analytics, this blog post provides a guide. 

    Look to integrate recruitment technologies like applicant tracking systems, automated video screens, chatbots, etc, to remove manual work, so your team can focus on the human elements.

    In today’s market, the top 10% factor more than just compensation. Culture, purpose, flexibility, and development also weigh heavily. Rethinking stale playbooks unlocks creative recruitment of A-Players aligned with your values. You can build a team to actualise ambitious growth goals by broadcasting authentic differentiators.

    Overcome the challenges stopping you from reaching your full potential. Learn more about...

    Written by business coach and CEO mentor Dominic Monkhouse, read more of his work here. Read his new book, Mind Your F**king Business here.

      Fantastic! Give us your details and we'll call you back

        Enquiry | Scaling Up Master Business Course