Today’s Reality of Attracting Talent [Part 1]

Today’s Reality of Attracting Talent [Part 1]

Insights into How to Compete for Qualified Talent in Today’s Competitive Market

Part 1 of this two-part podcast (, hosted by Nikki Lewallen, Partner Performance Coach at Emplify, features Kathleen Quinn Votaw, CEO of TalenTrust. This interview highlights how employers should stand out in today’s competitive market.

According to Votaw, recruitment/engagement is key. HR professionals need to engage sales and marketing; their roles are no longer viewed as merely administrative. It is important for HR to position itself as being seen from a more strategic perspective. Companies should provide the tools/resources HR professionals need to embrace this technology and help them switch to serving as functional experts, where they make more data/driven decisions and align with a company’s C-suite and business objectives. HR personnel need to be given a strategic seat at leadership table.

Strategic thinking is where today’s HR leaders need to shift, versus the administrative roles they have historically filled. Tools are available to help them achieve this, which, in turn, aligns them with the rest of the executive team. One example Voltaw gave was an HR recruiter who had 21 open positions with a company. She learned the HR staff do not like the sales and marketing component of their jobs.

To step up to the C-suite table, HR professionals need to attract, retain, and develop new hires. As a C-suite executive in a company, you need to know who you are and what you stand for. Messaging and branding matter and need to be dialed-in for candidates. Then, the company has to develop good sources/candidates to fill the top of that funnel.

Engagement with candidates is a critical component. How do you get viable candidates to talk to you?

Next, assessments guide/direct the company in terms of answering the question, “Why do we want this person?” “Does the candidate align with the company?”

Finally, what will you offer qualified candidates? How skilled is the HR professional in closing the deal? The process takes time. Did you know that 74% of those currently working for you are looking for their next job? Once hired, there’s a difference between the orientation and the onboarding process.

The onboarding process starts with the first touch. How does the candidate experience your company from the initial contact? How does the candidate navigate through the engagement process? It’s important to make sure every touch is meaningful to both the candidate and company. What are the next steps?

Generally, the onboarding process takes 6-months from the date of hire. It goes back to employee engagement at the top of the funnel. Employee satisfaction is not enough to keep employees in a company.

Engagement needs to be measured. One survey found that 27% of employees are engaged in a company. Based on where your employees are in their lives, what’s important to the them? People need to engage the same way they want to be engaged.

What is in it for the employee? Why does the employee choose to work for a particular company? There needs to be alignment.

Do you know what your employees need? Based on survey results, surprisingly, the answer is not glitzy office space. It is nice to have, not a need. Today’s employees want to be valued, know that their opinions matter, be heard, and do purposeful work that is attached to something—not just make money. As the employer, ask yourself, “What’s the attachment?”

Or, as an employer, you can provide these accoutrements but will often find employees don’t use them, because they are not important to them. The shift is that candidates pick you.

Nikki Lewallen is Partner Performance Coach at Emplify. She conducts the weekly podcasts—Guts + Science. These podcasts showcase the nation’s greatest leaders and CEOs.

To hear Part 1 of this edition, which features Kathleen Quinn Votaw, CEO of TalenTrust, go to:

Kathleen is the CEO of TalenTrust, a professional services firm that uses the “People Puzzle” approach to help executives and human resource teams strengthen culture and drive employee engagement.


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