4 Essential Ways To Attract Top Talent to Your Ag Dealership

The game has changed on how you attract, hire, and retain talent. Have you changed your game?

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Record-low unemployment and record-high retirement have altered the landscape. It is estimated that the current workforce will fill only 61% of the projected demand for talent in the ag industry in 2019. If that is correct, there will be nearly 20,000 job openings that will go unfilled. Your candidates and employees now have more options than ever.

This is the first article of a series on this challenge. The series will discuss four critical components to talent management that will enable your organization to be more effective in this highly competitive environment.

The four cornerstones of effective talent management are:

  • Attracting
  • Hiring
  • Onboarding
  • Growth

In times of talent shortage, it is often believed that attracting is most important. While it may appear to be the most difficult, each of these components is equally important. Without equal emphasis on each step, it will become increasingly difficult for an organization to hire and retain top talent in the future.

Beyond the low unemployment rate, another challenge for employers is that job seekers have countless ways to search for new jobs, including job boards, LinkedIn, company career sites, networking at events, and more. This enables job seekers to be more selective than ever before when choosing their next career moves. In turn, employers need to make a great first impression.

One way to capture the attention of quality job seekers is by developing an “elevator pitch” that your team can deliver any time they find a potential employee — not just when you have an opening! Whether reaching out to a prospective applicant, interviewing a candidate, attending a career fair, or randomly running into someone who might be a good fit for your team, you should be prepared with an elevator pitch to get job seekers excited about joining your team. Your pitch should be no longer than 30 to 60 seconds. Any longer and you’ll risk losing prospective applicants’ attention.

That’s why we encourage organizations to consider the COBS rule when crafting their pitch. While the acronym is a nice fit for an ag company, it has meaning far beyond that. COBS stands for Company, Opportunity, Boss, and Special Incentives. Your prospect needs insight into each of these components to develop any interest in your position. If you craft your message to include why your company is a great place to work, why this opportunity is a great step for them, why working for this culture and leadership team is a smart career move, and what incentives make it even better, you are very likely to engage the prospect in a good discussion.

Company

It may sound self-evident, but a clear description of your company is a critical first step. When you look at the About Us page of most company career sites, the fancy language sounds impressive but typically means very little to someone conducting actual research into your company. Your pitch can’t fall into that same trap.

You need to start with why. Why are you in business? Why are things done the way you do them? Who are your customers, and how do you serve them?

Opportunity

Every job seeker is thinking, “What’s in this for me?” when they are considering an opportunity. Have you taken the time to answer this question for your top prospects?

It’s well documented that millennials place “career growth opportunities” as the No. 1 factor in evaluating career moves. Organizations that discuss career path possibilities are far more likely to get the interest of a prospective employee. Therefore, it is critical that you explain to them not only the positions that are available but also what their futures can look like down the road.

Boss (Leadership and Culture)

Your leadership team and the culture they promote should be the most important recruiting tool in your toolbox. For some, your culture may look promising. For others, it might appear to be a bad fit for the way they like to work. Regardless, it needs to be defined to attract the right employees. Candidates who are attracted by the job alone and ignore the lack of cultural fit rarely become happy and engaged employees.

Special Incentives

There is an old saying, “If you attract talent with compensation alone, you enable competitors to attract that same talent with compensation as well.” Using compensation as a component of employee attraction is a dangerous path with few benefits. In fact, some states and major cities have now made it illegal to ask candidates about salary history.

Explaining the overall perks and benefits of joining a team is always the best way to go. A focus on overall perks, incentives, and non-compensation benefits allows candidates of all compensation ranges to consider the opportunity for its full value.

Remembering the COBS rule in a conversation is the quickest and most effective way to share your employer value proposition (EVP) to prospective employees. If you take the time to craft your message with this method, the right people will engage in a conversation and ask for an opportunity to meet with your team.

In the next article we will share proven and unique interview strategies to enhance your hiring success.

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