Talent Magnetism: How to create a workplace that attracts and keeps the best
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Episode 13 Transcript:
Chris Curran: Growth Igniters Radio, Episode 13 – Talent Magnetism: How to create a workplace that attracts and keeps the best.
This episode is brought to you by Business Advancement Incorporated, enabling successful leaders and companies to accelerate to their next level of growth. On the web at www.businessadvance.com. Now here’s Pam and Scott.
Pam Harper: Thanks, Chris. I’m Pam Harper, Founding Partner and CEO of Business Advancement Incorporated. Right across from me is my business partner and husband, Scott Harper. Hi, Scott.
Scott Harper: Hi, Pam. It’s great to be here with you again.
If this is your first time listening out there, the purpose of Growth Igniters Radio is to spark new insights, inspiration, and immediately useful ideas for leaders to take themselves and their companies to the next level of success. Pam, what’s our focus for today?
Pam Harper: How to attract and retain top talent. The good news I see is that more and more boards, CEOs, and senior executives that we work with are acknowledging that employees are not commodities. Great news.
Scott Harper: That’s true. It’s just like the same with sports teams. Recruiting and keeping top talent really isn’t easy. (Just look at the Cubs, sadly.) There’s plenty of competition out there for A-list players.
Pam Harper: That’s why we’re so glad to have our friend, Roberta Matuson, here with us today. She’s going to talk with us about attracting, nurturing, and retaining the best talent in the world for your company. Roberta is the author of the book Talent Magnetism and Suddenly in Charge, a Washington Post Top 5 Business Book for Leaders. She’s a highly sought-after expert who helps leaders and companies of all sizes to achieve dramatic growth and market leadership through the maximization of talent. Now a full bio for Roberta is on the Growth Igniters page for this episode. Welcome, Roberta.
Roberta Matuson: Thank you. Thank you so much for having me today.
Pam Harper: We are delighted to have you here. Before we get into the topic, I always like to ask our guest about their business nicknames. Yours is “The Talent Maximizer.” How did you come to develop your passion on this issue?
Roberta Matuson: I’ve always been focused on talent and what organizations can do to attract top people, nurture their talent, retain talent, and create these exceptional workplaces where employees love to come to work and customers love to do business.
Pam Harper: You’ve coined the term “talent magnetism”. Can you talk about what this is and how it differs, say, from recruiting?
Roberta Matuson: Talent magnetism is really about creating attractiveness. It’s creating the type of workplace where people are lining up outside of your doors. Because they’ve heard about what you’re doing, they want to be part of your team, and so they are coming to you. If you compare that to what most organizations are doing, most companies are actually in recruitment mode. When you’re in recruitment mode, it requires lots of heavy lifting. For example, if you’re in that mode and you have a job opening, you have to write the job posting and then you have to sort through the dozens or hundreds of resumes, pre-screen the candidates, interview them, get the job offer, and then, hopefully, they’ll actually accept your offer. If you compare that to the concept of magnetism, where when you have an opening, you have 3 or 4 top people who would love to come to work for you. It’s a lot more effective and a lot less exhausting.
Scott Harper: We’ve seen over the years that companies are recognizing that talent is important, and they’re getting more selective. We just spoke with a CEO last week who told us that his company requires candidates to go through 6 separate interviews during the selection process, just to make sure that they have the right fit. That’s onerous not only for the company, but for the candidate. It’s not uncommon that people go to these lengths. Could the approach of talent magnetism streamline the process and make it smoother and more functional for everyone?
Roberta Matuson: Here’s what I would have said if I had been in that meeting. I would have said, “Are you kidding me?” By the time you got to interview number 3, that candidate would have had probably 3 or 4 job offers come through on their phone. You have to look at your process today and you have to look at what might be clogging up your ability to quickly look at candidates and determine whether or not they’re the right fit for you. Quite frankly, putting someone through 6 rounds of interviews is just crazy.
Pam Harper: It is pretty intense, but I think we’re encountering this more and more − that there are more companies out there that are doing this.
Scott Harper: Because they’re really worried about getting the right people.
Roberta Matuson: They should be worried about getting any people, because in today’s environment, there are websites like Glassdoor, where candidates are writing about their experiences on the doors of companies, so to speak. Let me tell you, if I were a candidate and I read that it took 6 interviews before I could land a job, I would think long and hard about putting my name in the hat.
Pam Harper: What you’re saying is that the leaders of companies need to be thinking about the fact that their company’s reputation is on the line. The more that they put people into situations where they’re jumping through hoops as it were − that could be a real turn-off.
Roberta Matuson: Absolutely. It’s all about having clarity upfront. By that, I mean knowing what kind of people that you’re looking for and then determining where to look for those people, because if you’ve ever played archery, if you’re trying to get a bull’s eye and you’re shooting arrows and they wind up on somebody else’s target, that’s not all that helpful. What you really need is one arrow going in the right direction in order to find that right person.
Scott Harper: Roberta, can you give us a story about a company that has used this concept of talent magnetism to their advantage and really made it work, and made things better for themselves?
Roberta Matuson: I think we can all agree that [with] organizations like Google, all you have to do is say, “Oh, there’s a job opening at Google.” If you have a friend there, you’re like, “Oh, my gosh. Can you get me in?” [On the other hand,] we all know of companies where their reputations are such that if there were a job opening and you thought that you were qualified for that job, you would just say, “You know what? I think I’m going to pass, because I don’t want to work there.”
Pam Harper: That clarifies it. The more that we can position our companies to have that magnetism of, say, Google, the more likely it is that we’re going to be attracting the best people in the world for the positions that are open.
Scott Harper: Who are right for us.
Pam Harper: Who are right for us.
Roberta Matuson: Who are right for us. That’s really key. What I do with my clients is I explain to them that they don’t need to be Google in order to have a line out the door. They need to do a much better job of branding their organization from an employment perspective. I know some organizations that are really, really fabulous to work for, but they’re really what I call one of the world’s best kept secrets. If nobody knows about you and if nobody knows about what the experience is working for a company like yours − and many of these are small players; they might be small businesses, they could be medium-sized businesses − but if nobody knows about everything that you do, then it doesn’t matter. You won’t be able to get the talent to come and join your organization.
Pam Harper: The more that we’re able to make our organizations – no matter what size they are – attractive, the more likely we are that we’re going to get the people that are going to be right for us.
Roberta Matuson: Yes, absolutely. When you say attractive, to me − and what I wrote about in Talent Magnetism − is it’s really connecting with the hearts and minds of your employees. It’s not creating this workplaces that look like a McDonald’s playground inside. It’s really about connecting to the heart and figuring out what’s attractive to the kinds of people that you’re trying to bring in and keep.
Pam Harper: That’s a perfect point.
We’re going to take a quick break. When we come back, we’ll talk more with Roberta Matuson about what today’s workers really want from their employers, and how to keep these valuable employees engaged. Stay with us…
Scott Harper: You’re listening to Growth Igniters Radio with Pam Harper and Scott Harper, brought to you by Business Advancement Incorporated, on the web at www.businessadvance.com. Subscribe to the Growth Igniters Community by going to www.GrowthIgnitersRadio.com and clicking the “Join Our Community” button in the upper right corner. This will let us send you weekly updates that will add value to each episode. You’ll get easy access to each episode’s play button, show notes, guest bio, and links to resources mentioned in the episode…
Pam Harper: Welcome back to Growth Igniters Radio with Pam Harper − that’s me − and Scott Harper. We’re talking with Roberta Matuson, “The Talent Maximizer,” about talent magnetism and what it means for your company’s success. Roberta, how can people find information on your books and on you?
Roberta Matuson: Pam, they can go to my website, www.matusonconsulting.com. They can also sign up there for my complementary newsletter to keep up on the trends in the world of talent.
Pam Harper: Sounds great. We’ve been talking about talent magnetism from what employers are looking for. Let’s go a step deeper and talk about what today’s workers want from their employees, because to attract top talent, we really need to understand workers’ mindsets as much as we need to understand our own. For example, recently, I was talking with a group of high-achieving millennials, and they were telling me about how they were looking for flexibility from their employers regarding hours, as long as they met their work goals, yet other workers have told us about different needs. How can employers tune into these different needs without going crazy?
Roberta Matuson: I think if you filter the request down, if you look at the different generations and you say, “Okay, this is what the baby boomers want, this is what gen-Xers want, and millennials.” You’ll see that there’s a lot of common threads.
It’s interesting that you would bring up this concept of flexibility. I was facilitating a session on millennials in the workplace and, in preparation for that conversation, I interviewed a number of millennials. The one comment that was consistent was the following: I asked them what they wanted me to tell their boss and they said, “I want you to tell my boss that just because I can get my work done early and efficiently doesn’t mean I’m lazy.” I just said, “Oh, my gosh.” All those years that I wasted sitting in my office, waiting for my boss to go home so I could just get the heck out of there. These young people, they’re smart. They’re not sitting around, they’re not going to wait. They’re going to leave when they’re done, but that doesn’t mean they’re not productive. When we look at what today’s top talent really wants, flexibility is certainly up there, but I believe the number one factor that everyone is looking for is really the autonomy, the ability to get one’s work done without being micromanaged.
Scott Harper: That really requires that leaders have a very clear way of establishing what those goals are, and what are reasonable goals, so we know when we’ve done the work. That means you have to have a clear idea of the objective, the outcome, and success metrics.
Roberta Matuson: That’s why, in my book Talent Magnetism, I say I think you should throw out job descriptions and instead use what we call “results descriptions” − “What are the results that I expect the person in this job to be able to achieve?” That’s a much better place to start with rather than, “These are the 10 things that you’re responsible for, even though this job description is 5 years old, and we don’t really do 4 of those things.”
Pam Harper: Sure. Everything’s changing so quickly. One of the questions − building on that − in this discussion, [was from] a woman who had an executive level position with a more traditional construction firm. She was questioning whether you could do that kind of thing − having the goals − because she said, “We need people there; we need them there at certain hours.” Does this apply to even those types of organizational structures − companies with those needs?
Roberta Matuson: I think you have to look at each position and, first of all, you have to change your mindset and say equal is not really fair. For example, let’s just take your situation and say that this construction company probably has people working in administrative roles. They may be able to do some of their job from home; it may not matter when they’re physically present. Of course, if you’re working on a construction crew, you need to be there, unless somebody’s invented something that I’m not aware of.
Pam Harper: Exactly.
Roberta Matuson: But you do need to be there and you need to be working with the other people in order to build whatever you’re building. By allowing the people inside the office to have flexibility, that’s fair. That makes sense. On the other hand, it also makes sense to allow your workers in the field extra time off if there is no work to be done on the job site.
Scott Harper: Very good. That comes back to the whole idea of outcomes. “What is the outcome we need to see, and how you get to it − we’ll work that out.”
Roberta Matuson: Exactly. That comes back to feeling like you have control over your job and the way your work gets done. That’s what today’s top talent wants.
Scott Harper: That makes sense. One of the things that we’ve seen when we work with companies, no matter where they are in the world or how big they are, is that people want to feel that their work makes a difference, that what I do helps the company, that I understand how it helps the company, and the people in my upline − my leaders − understand how I help the company, and appreciate that. What else do you see, other than the flexibility and this appreciation that people want from their companies?
Roberta Matuson: They want to work for bosses who are actually good leaders. I do a lot of executive coaching. You might not believe this, but people don’t set out trying to be lousy bosses; it just happens. Oftentimes, as I write about in Suddenly in Charge, which is my first book, people are tossed into management roles. It’s really unfair for us to expect that they’re going to become these great leaders through osmosis.
I’m working right now with some Fortune 500 companies like General Motors. They’re really invested in creating great leaders. I think we’re going to see some amazing changes in that organization as a result of this investment that they’re making right now.
Pam Harper: That’s exciting. I think also − what you’re bringing up − people get thrown into things, and they fall into the habit of whatever they saw that they had. What I hear you saying [that] is very exciting, is that as people are learning from you and others in their organizations about what it takes to be that really excellent leader then they’re going to be able to … We’re going to see a whole revolution of sorts.
Scott Harper: That’s right. Leadership, of course, is situational. What makes one person a great leader in one situation is going to be different from a different one, right?
Roberta Matuson: That’s very true, but I want to share an example of how this plays out in organizations. I was recently brought in to do some leadership development on site for a company called Alarm.com. They’re a fabulous company. They’re in Washington D.C. area. Originally, the person who contacted me said, “Could you come in and facilitate this program one time for 30 leaders?” Then she called me back and she said, “My CEO doesn’t want to do that.” I said, “What do you mean?” She said, “He wants you to come in 3 times and facilitate that program because he believes that if we have 10 people in the room, they’re going to get a lot more out of it than if we throw 30 people in there.” My gosh, my hats off to that CEO. He really got it. He wasn’t just providing this training so that he could check off the box. He really was investing in the growth of his people.
Pam Harper: That’s what you need to do.
We’re going to take another quick break. When we come back, we’ll continue our conversation with Roberta Matuson, “The Talent Maximizer,” about what you can start doing right now to increase your company’s talent magnetism. Stay with us.
Scott Harper: You’re listening to Growth Igniters Radio with Pam Harper and Scott Harper, brought to you by Business Advancement Incorporated. We enable successful companies to accelerate to their next level of innovation and growth.
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Pam Harper: Welcome back to Growth Igniters Radio with Pam Harper and Scott Harper. Over the last 2 segments, we’ve been talking with Roberta Matuson, “The Talent Maximizer,” about the whole concept of talent magnetism − what it is, and why it really works so well in enabling companies to be so successful. Also, we’ve been talking about what employees and workers out in the workforce want from their employers.
Now let’s get down to some specifics. What are things that company leaders can do right now to increase their talent magnetism? Before we do that, Roberta, can you tell us one more time how people can find you and your books?
Roberta Matuson: They can find me at my website, which is www.matusonconsulting.com. My books are on Amazon. Go on over there and order one today.
Pam Harper: Sounds quite like a great idea. Getting back to these points, what is one thing, what’s the first thing that leaders who are listening can do to increase the talent magnetism of their companies?
Roberta Matuson: The first thing that they should do is every leader should − after they listen to this recording − they should go on to their own websites and should apply for a job.
Pam Harper: Talk to us about that.
Roberta Matuson: I guarantee you that within 20 minutes, they will be heading down to their HR departments, going, “What the heck?” Most leaders have no idea how difficult it is for candidates to go on to their websites and apply for work or even find their job openings.
Pam Harper: Have you seen people do this? Have you gotten some feedback from people when they’ve done that?
Roberta Matuson: Yes, but I cannot repeat what they have said.
Pam Harper: Oh, no.
Roberta Matuson: It is that bad.
Pam Harper: That’s bad.
Scott Harper: Wow! They go on, they see that it’s bad… Then what?
Roberta Matuson: Sometimes you need a fresh eye. You need somebody who can look at it and say, “Oh, my gosh. It’s so obvious.” You don’t even have a button on your website that says, “Apply here,” or everything you’re writing about is all about you, it’s not about need a candidate, or you don’t even have these jobs on your website. There’s a lot of things that having a fresh eye could be really helpful [in spotting what can be improved].
Pam Harper: What’s the second thing then?
Roberta Matuson: The second thing is to go through the rest of the process of applying for a job with your company with the intention of removing any road blocks that are really slowing you down. I bet if that CEO that you mentioned earlier did that, he could get that down from 6 interviews to probably 2. He could get an offer out to somebody in half the time. More than likely, he would accelerate the number of yeses he got and still hire the right people.
Scott Harper: That’s from the recruitment standpoint. One of the things you said way at the top of our conversation that really intrigued me was that, as companies, we don’t want to be so much into recruitment mode as into the attraction mode. You said you want people lining up around the block waiting for jobs. How does a company that’s not Google, that doesn’t have this huge reputation you alluded to, how do they become that [company] that people know about and want to work at?
Roberta Matuson: It really comes down to the leaders. I’ve seen that over and over again. If you create magnetic leaders, they will attract other like-minded people to your organization. If you only had X amount of money and time to invest, I would strongly suggest that you do so in the area of leadership. By that, I mean I would invest in my top leaders, I would help my top leaders be even more exceptional. I would not try to bring up my bottom leaders to the middle because, quite frankly, most will never make it. I’d really put my money like the New England Patriots do; I’d put it in the Tom Bradys of the world because they are the ones who are really going to take your team to the top.
Scott Harper: What’s one thing that − I’m a CEO, I want to take my top performers even higher − one thing that I can do starting right now that will make that process start to go?
Roberta Matuson: I would help them find an executive coach who can build upon their strengths so that they can be in a position of becoming more magnetic and finding other people that will work under them who will be equally as magnetic overtime.
Pam Harper: Are there things before they call the coach that they can do? In other words, I agree, I’m all in favor of executive coaches, but are there things that people can do just to be able to be ready for the executive coach − things that they can do right now?
Roberta Matuson: They can. Again, they have to go through their − CEOs have to go through their organizations and identify who their top performers are. Once they do that, they’ll be in a much stronger position to figure out where to place their investment.
Pam Harper: They can do a little bit of diagnostics upfront and know who those A-players are.
Roberta Matuson: I believe that most already know. They may not have ever said it out loud, but most know.
Pam Harper: That’s good to know.
You’ve given us some really excellent points on this. We are pretty much out of time now, but can you give us some last thoughts as far as how we leaders can make our companies more magnetic?
Roberta Matuson: I think that if you keep the following in mind, you will become more magnetic. That is, your company is only as good as the talent you keep. What do you need to do in order to have people feel more connected to your workplace? What systems and processes are in place that need to be readjusted so that your employees are interfacing more with your customers? You have to look at your organization holistically. Only then will you be able to really become magnetic.
Pam Harper: We couldn’t agree more. Roberta, thank you so much for being our guest today.
Roberta Matuson: Thank you.
Pam Harper: If you have any questions related to today’s episode, or any episode, go to “Open a Conversation With Us” at the bottom of the episode page. To find out who our guest will be next Wednesday, go to www.GrowthIgnitersRadio.com and look in the side bar for a schedule of upcoming episodes over the next few weeks.
Scott Harper: Thanks for listening to Growth Igniters Radio with Pam Harper and Scott Harper. To check out resources related to today’s conversation, share on social media and subscribe to the podcast series on iTunes or Stitcher. Go to www.GrowthIgnitersRadio.com and select episode 13.
Pam Harper: Until next time, this is Pam Harper …
Scott Harper: And Scott Harper.
Pam Harper: Wishing you continued success, and leaving you with this question to discuss with your team …
Scott Harper: What can you do, starting today, to make your company a talent magnet?