Online retailer Zappos is committed to offering its workforce an outstanding company culture and work experience. Located in the heart of Las Vegas, Zappos operates from a location that provides employees with a great place to live. While the city of lights has the draw of shows, restaurants, golf courses and national parks, nascent companies in remote locations may not have the benefit of similar cachet. Even if your organization has the DNA of a great company, candidates may not flock to your opportunities if the location is geographically undesirable or unfamiliar.
Even in a busy metropolis, finding specialized talent is challenging. For example, individuals with cloud computing skills are in high demand, but in short supply. Triangle Park may have no trouble recruiting this talent pool, but companies in Richmond, VA may experience greater difficulty. What’s a company to do to overcome geographic challenges and attract the talent it needs?
Be willing to relocate qualified candidates - Bringing people to the location may require dangling a few carrots, whether that’s offering a full-fledged relocation package or set dollar amount to augment moving expenses. Switching geographies may be appealing to candidates looking for particular experience, climate or proximity to schools, shopping or other amenities, but they may require incentive to commit to a move.
Know the market – Research and market intelligence can help advance your organization’s talent acquisition efforts. Keeping a pulse on companies that are hiring, promoting or laying off talent can provide insight into the availability of passive candidates or be helpful when benchmarking positions in your organization. Wanted Analytics provides heat maps on data such as candidate supply and hiring demand, and social tools such as Google Alerts and LinkedIn can also provide insight into candidate and company movement.
Communicate the culture and community – A company’s mission and compensation package are important, but they are not the only things candidates consider when making employment decisions. Share information about the workplace culture as well as what the community has to offer to help candidates understand what to expect and how they might fit in. Communicating culture is also beneficial to the organization; the right cultural fit can be the difference between a candidate who succeeds and one who falters.
Offer mentoring programs – An organizational culture that supports growth and development demonstrates to employees that they are valued and that there is a future for them. In addition to offering employees valuable guidance, formal mentor programs communicate a long-term commitment to employees, aiding in recruiting and retention efforts.
Look to local resources – There are more sources than ever for attracting top candidates, but when looking for local talent, think beyond job boards and the company career site. Consider participating in online message boards and sharing job openings via professional associations, and at churches, synagogues, the local community college or other places where local residents gather.
Have the right mobility tools – A performance management system can help organizations identify top performers and understand where talent resides in the organization. With a systematic approach to defining job competencies and performance, organizations can manage development and career paths and illuminate opportunities to internal candidates.
Think out of the box – New media literacy may be an important skill set to advance business goals, but it may not be readily available in the market. Planning for growth may require an investment in training or cultivating the skills the organization needs. Keep options open by looking to comparable skills that can be transferred for business benefit.
Be flexible – The proliferation of social collaboration tools has redefined what it means to be “in the office.” Many organizations allow workers to work remotely, which is beneficial to staff as well as the organization. A flexible approach to work can increase worker satisfaction and productivity and serve as incentive to attract top talent.
Recruiting and retaining the best talent can provide significant competitive advantages, from preserving the company culture to supporting operations. Once, a remote location meant significant barriers to hiring; but with today’s suite of talent acquisition tools, those in the business of identifying and retaining top talent need not let geography get in the way.