For many, many businesses today the only competitive differentiator they truly have is the quality of the people that they can get, grow, and keep on their team… and the relationships they create with their customers.
Competitors can copy your products, beat you on price, match all of your distribution channels, spend more money on marketing and advertising, and outmaneuver you on social media. However, if you can attract, develop, and retain top talent and then get them insanely focused on taking great care of your customers… that is not something your competition can easily copy.
So, what attracts top talent to work in a company? I was interested to know this so I did a survey of more than 10,000 high potential employees at top companies around the world and they told me there were six things they look for from an ideal employer.
- Fair Pay – which they defined as 10% above or below what they would make to do the same job at a different company.
- Challenging Work – work that was engaging, meaningful, and matched their skill set.
- Cool Colleagues – A-players only want to play on a team with other A-players.
- Winning Culture – a place where people smile just as much when they come to work as when they leave.
- Personal/Professional Growth – the chance to learn and improve every day, as well as seeing a place for themselves in the company 5 to 7 years in the future.
- A Boss I Respect And Admire – which was actually one of the most important things they wanted!
If you think about it, all six of these factors are actually elements of a winning culture. If you want to bring top people in your company you’ve got to do these six things exceedingly well. On the flip side, the vast majority of people that leave a company exit because they hate their boss and are disengaged by the culture. I just listened to an interview with David Burkus talk about his new book Under New Management (which I highly recommend) where he mentioned that only two employees out of 10 are fully engaged in their work. Think of the wasted time, money, resources, and opportunity. However, if you could engage another two or three people, you would likely create a company that would dominate the marketplace.