At the core of any business is it’s people, and without great people, your company’s growth and revenue will stagnate. It’s vital to have the right people; talent that you can trust and that will help you achieve your goals. The brutal war for new talent rages on, and expectations about company culture are continuing to evolve fast.

You need a fresh strategy for attracting employees, because Millennials, for example, who will soon comprise around 50% of the workforce by 2020, certainly require a different approach, and the companies who get a hold of this quickly are the ones who are going to have the competitive advantage and their pick of the top talent.

They seem to get a lot of bad press, but Millennials are hard-working, technologically savvy, innovative and committed, and there’s a lot of 20-30 year old potential out there that you could benefit from. Millennials aren’t so focused on traditional HR benefits and are more interested in what a company can offer them in terms of mentorship, a great culture, a healthy work-life balance and fulfilling career challenges and opportunities. Companies like Google, Virgin and Apple don’t even need to try because they’re attracting talent, rather than recruiting it. But even if your company doesn’t make iPhones or self-driving cars, you don’t need a radical culture change to attract the best talent; you just need an alluring employment brand that works for you (if you aren’t familiar with this term, then the chances are your employment brand isn’t all that alluring…) 

An employment brand is the way prospective/current/former employees view your organization. You need to find the one that pulls people into your organization the moment they first engage with you (give your website a sleek, personal, mobile-responsive update if it’s older than 3 years, for a start). Recruitment and retention have started to become both a marketing and an HR function, so you need to think in those terms and put together an attraction strategy aimed at engaging and enticing Millennials; one that ensures the very best talent seeks youout. And when you’ve got the best talent, you don’t even need a lot of it. Future-proof your workforce with these tips:


Understand the talent that’s right for you. 

What’s right for someone else’s team might not be right for yours, and there’s no one universal standard for the perfect employee. We wouldn’t be where we are today or have our clients or our awards without our hard-working Zaboura team. And they’re all Zaboura material to the core. Everyone has talent, but you need to make sure you’re attracting the right talent for your organization; your company might want a team of entrepreneurial outside-the-box thinkers, but another might require more deliberative, consensus-driven executives. Look at the most successful people in your organization and what they all have in common, and you’ll be able to clearly outline the employee traits and abilities that you’re after.


Make a positive environment  

Involve your employees in why you do what you do; meaningful work means more than salaries, according to a recent survey by UNC’S Kena-Flagler Business School and the YEC. For example, when Californian paper company Ernest Packaging Solutions were struggling to attract young workers, they created a YouTube video called The Ernest Edge, focusing on the Ernest Packaging’s family roots and quirky employees, which has attracted around 50 new millennial workers to the company each year since it was posted in 2011. But you don’t have to be Google or a quirky family company to create a workplace that people enjoy working in. It starts at the top: you can’t have a magnetic organisation without magnetic leaders and the magnetism of a company has a lot to do with who you put in charge and give responsibility to. Everyone’s had a horrible boss in the past, and it’s the main reason people quit their job. Managers impact your turnover and you need to equip them with the knowledge and skills to help them understand what their employees’ needs are and help build a retention plan that will increase employee engagement.


Include Engage

They may turn up for work every morning, but are your team really engaged and motivated, and as productive as they could be? People work harder for you if you let them contribute ideas and suggestions – it gives them a sense of ownership and inclusion and they will be more engaged and committed. Take Sony, for example, annual host of the Idea Exposition, during which their scientists and engineers can display projects and ideas that they’re working on. Such initiatives create a healthy and buzzing atmosphere of innovation and creativity for everyone involved, and engaged, motivated employees boost team performance, customer service, profitability and brand reputation. Even little things say a lot, like at TD Industries in Dallas, TX, one of Fortune magazine’s Top 100 places to work: there’s a wall within the company contains the photographs of all employees who have worked there more than five years and there are also no reserved parking spaces or other perks just for executives, because every employee is equal.


Nurture & Develop

Talented people won’t stick around if they see no future in their role. Millennials want to work for leaders who are going to give them room to grow and are invested in the progression of their careers – a Linkage, Inc study reported that 40% of people would consider leaving their current employer for a new job that offered the same benefits but greater challenges and better career development. Whether that’s covering the costs for industry conferences or skills workshops, inviting guest speakers for in-house training sessions, or increasing employee responsibility every 12 months to give them a fresh challenge; it’s up to you to pick something that will truly resonate with this generation (think digital, and flexible attendance). And whatever you do: measure. Measuring and regular evaluation is vital for continuous improvement. At Zaboura we measure attitudes, morale, turnover, employee engagement, and ensure that every employee has an individual development plan. The primary purpose of evaluation is to measure progress and determine what makes your team content and what they’re dissatisfied with. Deloitte, for example, (one of the top 100 places to work) discovered during exit interviews that 70% of the talent they lost could have been re-homed within the company. Deloitte Career Connections, their resultant employee coaching program, was utilised by 2,000 employees who looked at internal job openings/self-assessments/resume-developing tools/job-seeking strategies in it’s first week.


Recognise & Reward

Once you’ve found the right talent, you want to keep hold of it, and you won’t with just money and benefits. You have to keep them wanting to come back every morning. Most people like the idea of staying where they are if it makes them happy, and not uproooting themselves, so make them happy and you’ll have a loyal team by your side for a long time to come. When did you last tell someone that you’re really glad they’re a part of your team, or gave someone a raise on the spot because of an amazing and deserving piece of work, rather than waiting for the next annual employee review? Everyone wants to feel appreciated and proud of what they accomplish, and you need to bear that in mind on a daily basis. Look at some recognition and incentive programs to get ideas flowing because they make all the difference.


Promote work-life balance

To attract the workforce of the future, you need to become the workplace of the future. And part of that is understanding the importance of a proper work-life balance for today’s youth, and accepting that you might need to make a few cultural shifts so that you’re on the same page as your would-be new talent. More than half of those surveyed in The Hartford’s 2014 Millennial Leadership Survey state the most important thing for young employees is a flexible working schedule, probably partly due to millennials being caught between home responsibilities of taking care of children or older relatives while striving for their own personal and professional goals. Even if it’s simply the opportunity to work remotely one day per week, millennials are likely to respond well to such initiatives and companies who aren’t aware of this aren’t going to be places where such young hopefuls want to work.