6 steps to attract top talent

November 25, 2022

We’re facing a talent squeeze. The European scale-up ecosystem is growing at an unheard-of pace. The need for talent greatly outpaces the supply. And nowadays not only technical roles are in high demand, the labour shortage spilled over to different domains as well.

Problematic as over 50% of budgets are spent on people. And failure to hire the right people in time directly jeopardizes the business case. Yet, talent acquisition is stuck in the past. It’s time to reimagine talent acquisition, and become that company that everybody wants to work at.

But how do you make your company stand out, and attract top talent? Speaking to over 100’s of scale-ups, this is what we’ve observed. You need to start seeing talent acquisition the same as customer acquisition. Because ultimately, you're selling the company to talent, which is the most fundamental resource in building a forceful company and setting you up for success.

So, where to start?

1. Define your ideal candidate profile

How can you boost your talent acquisition if you don’t have a clear idea of who you’re selling the company to? The same with sales, a lot of scale-ups use a spray and pray method, but brining focus to everything you do is essential. It ensures that you get the best results from everything you do. And again it’s no different with talent acquisition.

We always tend to dive directly into the jobs to be done, does someone have the right skill set. Which of course is really important, but keeping in mind that skills can be thought. There are a lot of different variables to take into account. Download Ideal Candidate Profile Template.

At RocketX we believe that cultural fit stands above all. What type of person would be successful in your type of company? And would complement your company values. Looking at our core values: Entrepreneurship, drive, teamwork and transparency. We filter possible candidates on if they have a ‘can do’ mindset, challenging the status quo, able to set up teammates for success and take ownership. Once your ICP is finalised, you can align it with your entire employer branding strategy.

2. Set up a solid employee value proposition as part of your employer branding strategy

After defining who you need, it’s key to find the sweet spot between what you want and what talent is looking for. Your employee value proposition, the core of your employer branding. It defines what makes your company a great place to work. Answering the question, why should talent work for you.

A part of this is of course money, but as we discussed earlier, salary isn’t the only thing that gets talent out of bed. So don’t just make your EVP involve around the good salaries, bonuses and the equity you give away. So what should it include besides compensation?

  • Benefits: time off, holidays, insurance, retirement and other non-monetary benefits.

  • Development: training & education, career development, consultation, evaluation and feedback.

  • Work environment: recognition, autonomy, challenges, responsibility, work-life balance and flexibility.

  • Culture: Colleagues, leaders and managers, team spirit, trust, social responsibilities, core values and goals.

Your employer branding will attract the right people to your organization, and your EVP will ensure they stay. According to Personio, “If you want your target audience to see and remember your employer value proposition, you need to appeal to it on an emotional level.” Something that’s already standard in product marketing, you want people to have a positive association with your company.

But remember, setting up your EVP and employer brand is not a one time thing. It needs constant updating, because as your company grows, your internal organisation changes. What was once important to your employees, doesn’t necessarily stay important. 

3. Create as many touchpoints as possible with a full funnel approach

Starts to sound a lot like a sales funnel? Well you’re right! Once you’ve set up your EVP and Employer brand, it’s time to start engaging with your target audience. Potential candidates follow the same type of journey as your customers, from awareness to engagement to consideration, and finally to hire.

4. Invest in the development of your employees 

With the great resignation in mind, being an attractive company is not only about getting new people in. Something you must focus on as well is, retention. Take for example the sales process, getting new customers in is more expansive than developing current ones. And in the case of talent it’s no different.

But what makes employees quit their jobs? Our research amongst 2.416 talents showed that the number one reason for people to quit their job is a lack of career development opportunities. Showing the importance of investing time in the development of your employees as part of your retention strategy. There are a lot of different ways to help your employees with their development.

The most obvious one is setting up a learning and development plan. To help your employees identify areas for professional growth, to gain new abilities and competencies to evolve in their role and move up the company ladder. For example, by setting up a training budget, set aside time to attend conferences etc.

Another great way to help your employees with their development is setting up a buddy program. Buddies with more experience can offer guidance and can service as a sounding board, whereas buddies relatively new to the company can offer a fresh point of view.

But most importantly, continuously give feedback on each other's performance. And no, not in the old-fashioned way, with annual performance reviews. But preferably with frequent one-on-one meetings, where you discuss their professional goals, help them visualize their future with the company, and lay out a realistic plan for reaching these goals.

5. Your employees are our biggest promoters

But, in the end your current employees are your biggest marketing asset, and the happier your employees are the more likely they are to spread positive word of mouth about the company.

At RocketX we use the Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) to indicate how engage and loyal our employees are. By only asking one simple question – ‘How likely are you to recommend [company] as an employer to others?’ 

The employee is offered an 11-point scale from 0 to 10, with 0 being not at all likely to 10 extremely likely. These responses are divided into three groups:

  • Detractors: score between 0 and 6

  • Passives: score between 7 and 8

  • Promoters: score between 9 and 10

Based on these groups, the eNPS is calculated: ((number of promoters – number of detractors) / total responses) x 100 = eNPS

The score can range from -100 to +100, but you always want to be somewhere between +10 (good) and +50 (excellent).

6. Offboarding

Although you’re working hard on retaining your talent, every once in a while someone will leave your company. And just to reassure you, there is probably nothing you could have done better. It just happens, the chances of retiring at a scale-up are small to none. It’s all about jumping into an adventure, and learning a lot along the way.

A company goes through many phases and changes in its existence. People that were once a perfect fit for the life stage they’re in themselves; other times they might be ready for a new adventure. 

Nevertheless, remember that a happy ex-employee – or as we call it alumni – can become a useful future contact or even an ambassador for future talent. And because of that, a positive offboarding experience is just as important as a positive onboarding experience.

Let's shape the future. Together.

Let's shape the future. Together.

Let's shape the future. Together.