Attracting and Retaining Your Best Talent Requires More Than the Basics

If you want to attract and retain the right kind of talent, you must offer the right kind of benefits.  The benefits I’m referring to encompass everything from healthcare to advancement opportunities.  What motivators do you offer? Do these motivators distinguish your organization from others that may want to woo away your best talent?

Becoming an attractive organization requires creating an environment where employees receive more than the basics.  Having an extraordinary culture with noteworthy opportunities will enable you to attract and retain top talent. When employees value your culture, your time and resources are freed up, better enabling you to move your business forward.

Employee Satisfaction

Employee Satisfaction Requires a Balance of Fundamental Factors and Motivational Factors

To be considered an acceptable place to work, there are some basic factors that all organizations must have in place.  However, if you really want to win-over your employees, you need to have additional motivators in place as well. Surprisingly, these motivators do not come in the form of ping-pong tables, tread-desks, or other cliched offerings that may have recently been connected to great places to work. These motivators dive deeper, and become part of the employee’s intrinsic attitude toward their employment.

Renowned psychologist Frederick Herzberg studied motivators in the workplace.  Although he published his findings several decades ago, there’s a relevancy for his research in organizations today, especially on the topic of talent attraction.

A Quick Primer–Satisfied, Dissatisfied, and Neutral Employees

According to Herzberg, the opposite of “Satisfaction” is “No satisfaction” and the opposite of “Dissatisfaction” is “No Dissatisfaction”.  Herzberg’s categories do not follow our natural logic to assume “Dissatisfaction” is the opposite of “Satisfaction”.  Therefore, we can assume that there’s another category, a neutral category, that stands between being happy in your company and wanting to run for the hills.

The employees that are neutral may not find great fulfillment in their job, but they’re not necessarily dissatisfied.  And inversely, they may not be dissatisfied in their job, but they wouldn’t go as far to say they’re satisfied, they’re simply not dissatisfied.

What makes the difference?  The difference is the balance of Satisfiers and, what Herzberg calls, Hygiene Factors.  Hygiene factors are the fundamental requirements of a job necessary to have in place to avoid dissatisfaction.  These factors include fair pay, suitable working conditions, and adequate equipment and training, to name a few.  For the purpose of this article we’ll call these “Fundamental Factors”, which feels a little more modern than Herzberg’s original “Hygiene Factors.”

Fundamental Factors – Definition and Importance

Boiled down, Fundamental Factors are the essentials.  It’s the bare minimum of what you should offer your employees.  As an employer you should do some research and find out if you are competitive in your wages, benefits, training, and working conditions.  If you fall short in this area, start here.  Improve these basic factors to enhance your reputation, retention, and long-term hiring appeal.

Satisfiers – Definition and Importance

If your organization has the Fundamental Factors in place, start evaluating the Satisfiers.  These are the motivating factors that can exponentially increase job satisfaction and make people want to stay.  These will also increase your attractiveness to outside talent.

Motivating Factors to Consider:

  • Achievement – rewards for doing a good job
  • Recognition – regular, public praise
  • Meaningful work – challenging and interesting work
  • Advancement – room for promotion and new opportunities
  • Growth – development opportunities

These 5 factors come from Herzberg’s research, but we know there are more and would love to hear your top motivators.  We welcome comments to help improve all organizations.

How these factors affect your organization

Now that we know a little more about these factors, let’s look at practical examples and how they can be applied to you.

  • We are currently in a candidate’s market. Companies are experiencing the challenges of trying to hire great talent who may already have other offers and opportunities on the table. If organizations are not putting forth competitive offers that satisfy Fundamental Factors and also provide highly sought-after growth and development opportunities, they’re going to find it difficult to recruit and retain top talent.
  • When employees’ Fundamental Factors are not being met, they can be very easily recruited away by organizations that can meet these needs. If organizations are aware of less-than-satisfactory conditions in their companies (i.e. problematic relationships, lack of perceived job security), the leadership team needs to address these conditions.
  • Even if a company is able to provide motivators like achievement, advancement, and responsibility, it may still be a challenge to retain top talent if critical Fundamental Factors are not met. Don’t forget the basics when implementing the Satisfiers.
  • In today’s economy, certain factors may have greater impact than others. For example, healthcare and health insurance benefits play a significant role in job satisfaction. Having a quality, competitive benefits package in place may present a bigger draw to an organization depending on candidates’ and employees’ current needs over workplace relationships.
  • Many leaders are looking for an opportunity to advance, grow a business, or strengthen certain skill-sets. Even if the salary and working conditions are fair, if there are fewer opportunities for development or taking on new responsibilities, there’s a likelihood that those top leaders are eventually going to consider other new opportunities.

Balance Your Fundamentals Factors and Satisfiers to Maximize Your Talent

It can be challenge to find a balance between Fundamental Factors and Satisfiers, but ultimately, companies that are able to do so will have a better chance at not just recruiting but retaining and advancing top talent in their organizations.  This is something we see firsthand as we interact with exceptional leaders from all industries.

If you’re not certain that you have a clear grasp on defining and understanding employees’ needs, give us a call: 888-366-3760. We welcome the opportunity to connect and discuss how you can retain and develop your top talent.

Centennial recruiter and blogger Lauren Kenney holds a masters degree in Industrial Organizational Psychology from Xavier University.

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