Imagine a set of balanced weighing scales. On one side you have cash (salary, pension, health, etc) and on the other side you have all of the things that make your organisation amazing.
When recruiting you want to accentuate the things on the culture side. Ideally you want the culture side to outweigh the cash side.
When thinking about the elements described later, think about whether they are a selling point for people looking for a new role. After all, you want great people to join your organisation, not just someone who wants a job. So these people have choices of where to go, and it’s your job to entice them to come and work (and then stay) at your company.
So if, when you read the following list you are underwhelmed, embarrassed, doubtful or dubious about listing any of these as selling points, then why is that?
Isn’t that a red flag that you need to work on these elements? Could you do something about that? Yes.
Because when we do something about the following, and make them really great, we’re not only making them great as a selling point for new candidates, we’re making them great for the business and existing staff. And that means we’re making a great business. And with a great business, we can always outweigh salary.
I’ve met very few people who wouldn’t take a smaller salary to join an amazing company. And your goal is to make that amazing company.
Don’t low ball
When I talk about the weighing scales idea it resonates with most and inevitably, I get asked whether this means, because we have a great company, that companies can offer really low salaries.
No. Don’t low ball. Don’t be so far away from market rates that it’s insulting.
Look at it this way. If the market rate for a role is around £50k, then try to be close to it, if not on it. You can guarantee there will be a company who are offering £60k. So, your competition is at that £60k. They are taking money off the table. They may even be nudging £70k. They are keen to bag themselves a great candidate.
Don’t be lowballing in at £40k. Although money can be outweighed by culture, that’s going to take an almighty outweighing to stave off a gap of potentially £30k.
Be close to market rates – it’s a market rate for a reason.
Get above it if you can. But don’t low ball.
If you really can’t afford to get close to market rates, then lower your expectations and hire someone more junior in their career.
Of course, you may be up against a really great hiring team who can take money off the table AND have an amazing culture. That’s harder work.
THE CULTURE SIDE
The best way to start balancing the scales is to grab your team and a whiteboard. Virtual or in-person (this was written during lockdown).
On the one side write down the salary, pension, bonus etc
On the other side start writing down the things that are great about your organisation. Try to focus where possible on the behaviours that lead to that great thing.
For example, if you have an amazing delivery process that is rapid and agile then put that down and explore how and why it came to be. What behaviours do people exhibit? And then try and codify those into the description.
Vision, mission and values
Let’s start with the big one. People really are willing to trade cash for work that is meaningful. And it doesn’t get more meaningful than changing the world, no matter how small that change may be.
The vision, mission and values of the organisation are important to articulate to candidates. The Painted Picture is really important. It’s what attracts people to come and help you achieve it. It’s what guides your team. It’s the thing that keeps people going when the times get tough.
Are you in a dying market or a growing one? Hard to sell a role if you’re in a dying market, but maybe there is a change of direction and a new path – a recovery plan that might work?
Are you pre-IPO? Are you trying to be the company that owns a certain market space?
Are you creating a brand-new market?
Are you a start-up or well-established company?
These are all possible elements to add to your scales – to make your company stand out from others.