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Attracting and Retaining the Best Talent: What’s Your Message?

Attracting and retaining the best talent is challenging for everyone these days, with the Great Resignation and unemployment at record lows. Your message can either make you the clear choice or send your candidates somewhere else. Here are some reasons why and what you can do to message is helping, not holding you back.

Understand What Candidates Want

Why it’s important: Many data sets demonstrate that most candidates today are looking at more than salary and benefits when deciding on their next job. People want to feel as if they are part of something bigger than themselves. Do they share important values with their employer? Do they make a positive difference in the world? Does it have a positive company culture? Luring candidates with money and perks just doesn’t cut it anymore.

What to do about it: First and foremost, you as an organization have to get crystal clear on:
  • What it is you do at the most fundamental level
  • Why anyone should care, and
  • How you do it better and differently than anyone else.

The answers to all those questions form the foundation not only of your messaging strategy in general but also your recruitment messaging strategy in particular. The best talent cares about all of those questions, deeply. Therefore, connect any dots between the job they do and how it will contribute to fulfilling your mission.

Avoid Disconnects

Why it matters. If attracting and retaining the best talent is truly your goal, then setting clear expectations is important from the start. Whether it’s the actual job they will do, or the culture in which they will do it, painting an accurate picture of their professional life with you is a must. That’s why sites like and are so popular. Candidates want to know what’s really going on.

What to do about it. Avoiding disconnects like these starts with creating your culture with intention and then knowing how to describe it. What are your organization’s core values or operating principles? Ideals like “sharing credit” and “gossip-free zone” are two good examples. Once you have them, it’s important that you both live them and talk about them continually and consistently.

Make Sure Your Messages Are Consistent

Why it matters. Messaging consistency is crucial for effective marketing as well as for attracting and retaining the best talent. How many people will candidates meet during the interview process? Are they all saying the same things about your organization, its work, and its culture? If they are not, candidates will leave confused and headed towards other potential employers who do have a consistent message.

What to do about it. Having your organization’s message down pat is, of course, the first step. Reinforcing it day in and day out with your team is the next. If you do not have some form of an internal communications strategy, you are holding your organization back. Check out our podcast on internal communications. It’s a good one! If you are in the process of developing your messaging strategy, then it’s important to at least provide interviewers in advance with an honest message they can deliver consistently.

Your messaging strategy plays an important role in practically every aspect of the work your organization does—attracting and retaining the best talent is one of the most important.

Want to talk about your messaging strategy and what it can do for your mission? Excellent. We do too.

This article was originally published here.

Douglas Spencer

Douglas Spencer is founder and president of Spencer Brenneman and an independent consultant with the 2GO Advisory Group. Douglas is a brand strategist who helps mission-driven organizations reframe their focus and remaster their messaging to thrive in any environment. He has more than 30 years of branding and marketing experience, working with professionals from around the world in verticals such as financial and professional services, high tech, higher education, healthcare, and not-for-profits. He has worked with professionals from around the world in verticals such as financial and professional services, healthcare, biotech, media, and nonprofit. Before starting Spencer Brenneman he was most recently Vice President, Global Head of Brand Management for Thomson Reuters, a leading provider of intelligent information with offices in more than 100 countries worldwide. In that role, he guided the migration of the multiple Thomson and Reuters businesses to form the new Thomson Reuters brand which consistently ranked within the top 50 of Interbrand's Best Global Brands survey. Douglas is also the author of Do They Care, a book that shows business leaders how they can create meaningful connections with customers, employees, and others. He is a frequent speaker on how strong brands improve business performance through strategic alignment, employee engagement, brand governance, verbal and visual identities and more.

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