How can your organization attract the best Jedi -- er, talent?
By Kim Shepherd and Tom Brennan
In a talent market far, far too close to home, the War for Stars rages. However, the companies that are winning the battles have a secret: They know they can jump their company to lightspeed by attracting and retaining Jedi. Let the others settle for mere "A" players. Jedi have the skills and motivation to start being productive right off the bat. And they will continue to make valuable contributions autonomously, across the employment continuum.
No two Jedi are exactly alike. The Jedi Academy is very proactive about EEO. Unfortunately, there isn't a simple formula or search string for finding them. Look for accomplishments you must, evidence that a candidate has achieved and surpassed goals on a consistent basis. Often Jedi have demonstrated this quality throughout their lives -- perhaps they were high school valedictorian or earned athletic distinctions in college. They own their own destiny, so look for examples of initiative and autonomy.
Jedi-Worthy You Must Be
Jedi are smart. They know they have choices in the War for Stars. Your company must be Jedi-worthy to be attractive to them. To understand what Jedi seek, you don't need to seek total enlightenment. Instead, you can read RESPECT: Delivering Results by Giving Employees What They Really Want, by Jack Wiley and Brenda Kowske. RESPECT stands for Recognition, appreciation and respect; Exciting, engaging work; Security and stability; Pay that's fair; Education and career growth; Conditions, both social and physical; and Truth or transparency.
Wiley and Kowske built their model on 30 years of research. But search your feelings and you will know it to be true. Aren't those the things you want? Now that you know, of course, you need to make sure your company offers at least several of those things. Craft that list of offerings into an employment value proposition that speaks to Jedi, and beam it across the galaxy.
To attract Jedi, be a Jedi. They will seek and follow a great leader. You don't have to live on a swamp planet, but you must perform to high standards, starting from first contact. According to the 2017 Engage2Excel Trendicators Report, 69 percent of jobseekers say their first-day experience will impact their decision to stay with a new company for more than a month. If the first day is less than stellar, they'll be back in their X-wing fighter headed to that most dreaded of all star systems -- your competitor.
A strong leader will ensure a positive recruiting and onboarding experience. For example, instead of having your new Jedi spend the entire first day filling out paperwork, schedule time for socialization with teammates. Plan a welcome mixer in the break room, or take the Jedi and select coworkers to lunch. The Mos Eisley Cantina supposedly has a great lunch buffet.
Your Culture is Your Soundtrack
Culture is also important to Jedi. Think of your culture as the soundtrack to your company film. We may not always be conscious of a movie soundtrack, but try watching Obi Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn battle Darth Maul without the urgent orchestral/choral score and the hum and crackle of lightsabers.
Jedi want to work at a company that invests the same creativity and inspiration into culture that composer John Williams put into theme after theme in so many movies. To leverage your culture in attracting Jedi, start by talking with those already on your team: What is it that attracted them to your company? What keeps them engaged at a high level day after day? Now incorporate the answers into your value proposition.
Retention Starts on Day One
Even after a candidate is hired, they are still vulnerable, so don't power down the tractor beam too soon. The Trendicators Report indicates that 72 percent of respondents said their overall onboarding experience would affect their decision to stay longer than a year. Those new Jedi may be in your building, but they're still deciding -- you need to convince them: "Those are not the jobs you're looking for."
Generate an irresistible gravitational force of retention. At minimum you should have the new Jedi's phone, computer, business cards, lightsaber and other tools ready on their start day. But think outside the carbonite freezing chamber. For example, at Decision Toolbox we send a unique welcome gift, a giant fortune cookie saying there's a bright future ahead. It's edible, but far from being just a snack, it symbolizes our commitment to the new relationship.
Clever analogies aside, there are practical tips here. Not only are they backed by solid science, but they aren't difficult or expensive to implement. As Master Yoda himself said, "Do. Or, do not. There is no 'try.' "
Kim Shepherd is chairwoman of Decision Toolbox. Tom Brennan is manager of creative services.