How Google, Zappos And Salesforce Attract Top Talent

Written by Andrew Nicholas on Feb 24, 2015

Every business wants top talent, but as the power continues to shift from businesses to employees it’s not enough for them to just be good at what they do or pay the most. Companies like Google, Zappos and Salesforce attract and retain the best talent around the world, but how do they do it and how can you do it too?

Top talent is discerning, and more and more businesses are fighting to attract and retain top talent. Businesses need to stand out from the crowd, to clearly articulate the benefits of joining them, and to do that they need to become destination employer’s - top talent magnets that are renowned for understanding and nurturing human potential.

What Is A Destination Employer?

People see working for a destination employer as the pinnacle of their career – it’s where everyone wants to be. It’s an obvious case study but there’s a reason why Google, are consistently voted as the best company to work for and receive over two million applicants a year. It’s not just their famous work perks they offer, but how they communicate their values, culture, strength of leadership, employee rewards and opportunities. Google offers growth, development, freedom, autonomy and exciting challenges.

While not every company will be able to recreate the draw that Google, SAS or Salesforce has, the reality is you don’t need to be the best employer on the globe, just the best employer within your space. We talk more about how businesses can hire smarter and develop into destination employers in our talent gamble slideshare, have a flick through if you haven’t already.

6 Common Themes Among Destination Employers

So if you want to be the most attractive company in your space, how should you go about it? We’ve put together 6 themes that these businesses all have in common, and that any business considering elevating themselves to destination employer status should be implementing too:

1. They Understand The Investment Top Talent Makes

While you are investing time and money in your hiring process and retention strategies for employees, individuals are also investing in the company in terms of what they give to a business. Top talent rarely sees their job as something the do 9 to 5 - succeeding in the work environment is a key part of their life. They pay the price for that through the blood, sweat and tears they put into succeeding for you. When you are crafting a job brief for a new role or rewarding your top employees for their hard work always be conscious of what those employees are willing to put on the line for you. Value them, believe in them, trust them and make sure you communicate this to potential recruits.

2. They Treat Their Employees Like Their Best Customers

Your most important customers do not accept mediocrity and will not tolerate it, so why should your employees? Employees have access to unprecedented amounts of information about their market worth, and top talent is regularly approached by competitors hoping to lure them away. Your employees are at the heart of your business. They want to know that you are in the trenches with them, and if push comes to shove you’ll take their side over the client’s.

3. They Demonstrate High Quality Leadership

Strong leadership is the single most powerful feature in motivating and retaining staff. Poor leadership limits the success of the company, damages the work environment and restricts your employees’ ability to develop and build a career. Employees want leaders that are respected and allow them to develop and lead from the back, not leaders that limit a person’s abilities because they are afraid or intimidated by them. Destination employers demonstrate the strength of their leadership team to new recruits and show how their business leaders create an environment of success.

4. They Understand That Culture Trumps Strategy

Culture is one of if not THE most important driver of long-term, sustainable success. Your culture is your identity, it’s the badge of honour your employees wear and as a business you want to make them proud to be associated with you. Zappos are an amazing example of this. Their culture embraces the weird and wacky personalities we all have; creating a working environment that is exciting and fun. They communicate their core belief of truly outstanding customer service by delivering truly outstanding employee service, spending $18 million to move and renovate it’s offices so that employees interact more with each other and in turn build stronger personal relationships.

I encourage you to take a look at some of the photos employees share about life working at Zappos. From free ice cream to events, competitions, fancy dress and even llamas, Zappos lets it’s employees carry the message of how great their business is by creating a culture that employees want to share. To be a destination employer your culture and working environment should reflect the type of people you want to attract, and if it does social media platforms will carry that message for you and pull the right people towards your business.

5. They Demonstrate How They Grow People

Offering a personalised career path and development plan that shows employees you understand them on an individual level and are committed to developing talent. A personalised career development plan will give your employees more ownership of their career and help highlight skill gaps that need to be worked on. Broad, generic career plans are restrictive to top talent who know that they are better than the average employee. If you do not provide the opportunities to fulfil their ambitions, your competition will.

6. They Comprehensively Reward

The majority of employers think about wages and benefits when reviewing employee rewards, however, after a point, financial rewards will not appeal. What really matters is the fulfilment employees get and the sense of belonging they feel. Having a recognition programme that celebrates employees with excellent performance but also creates a culture where employees are recognised for their commitment and embodiment of company values gives people a sense of purpose and belonging. Destination employees know how to reward their best employees in a way that will ensure their heads aren’t turned by competitors or rivals.

Developing your business into a destination employer is vital to attract and retain the best talent. After flicking through our ‘Talent Gamble’ slideshare, download our ebook Hiring And Holding Onto Your Superstars’ where we look at more retention and reward strategies you can use within your business.

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