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There’s no doubt that the prospect of a well-paid job is highly attractive; a role that gives a candidate enough to eradicate any financial concerns is always going to be appealing. However, with the continued ‘war for talent‘, companies are stepping up their game to fulfil the demands of top candidates who want more from the place where they spend the majority of their waking lives.

In the wake of the COVID pandemic, which saw the majority of employees working remotely over the last year, candidates are looking beyond what’s available in the workplace, and instead turning their attentions towards wellbeing and how their employer can help balance their home life. While salaries in large corporations might be impressive, being treated as another cog in the machine isn’t, and there’s increasing demand for candidates to be treated as human, complete with their own individual needs, values and ideologies. Increasingly, top talent in our field is seeking far greater satisfaction than pure monetary gain. A poor company culture, even if the salaries are excellent, simply doesn’t cut it if you want to secure the best staff.

In this blog, we find ways companies in the life sciences can take alternative routes to salary when reeling in top talent to their roles. Read on for our tips on how harnessing your company culture and taking a broad, human approach to recruitment can help in more ways than one.

How to attract top talent – minus salary

Creating the soul of your company

How exactly can a firm go about creating and promoting its image as an employer of choice for the best candidates? A survey conducted by an SHRM found that company culture was the main reason why candidates chose a particular workplace over another. The next was career progression, with company benefits nestled into third place. With this in mind, consider the following advice for attracting top talent to your company:

1. Involve real employees in the recruitment process

Overly-slick corporate videos have had their day when it comes to gaining trust from potential candidates. People want to see real employees talking honestly about their experiences. While a polished production may seem impressive initially, if a candidate finds this to be an inaccurate depiction of the workplace, they won’t stay around for long.

This will lead to another, potentially costly, recruitment process and possibly irreversible damage to your reputation. Something that any company would be keen to avoid, particularly in a clearly defined and highly connected industry such as life sciences.

2. Make sure processes are focused on positive relationship-building

Motivating people to want to apply to work for your firm is one thing. But neglecting the way candidates feel during and after the interview process can undo all of your hard work.

Creating and maintaining a good relationship is essential. Even if you are using automated communication at various points in your recruitment process, make sure that it is tailored appropriately. Remember, your candidates are important. Just as you may be interviewing multiple people for a role, they will be comparing you with other employers too. Make sure your focus on building relationships keeps your business at the top of their list.

3. Invest in mentoring new talent

After making a new appointment, an effective mentoring programme offers many benefits for both the new employee and those taking on the mentoring role. Given that so much learning happens via informal channels, encouraging good relationships between new and existing employees can help new starters to learn the ropes and perform at a higher level far more quickly than would ordinarily be the case.

In addition, evidence also suggests that those performing the mentoring duties also benefit from greater job satisfaction; a win-win situation all round.

4. Consider your total rewards package – beyond salary

Following the implications that the COVID pandemic had on workplaces internationally, there’s increasing demand among employees for benefits that go beyond the take-home pay each month. What is your company doing to address your employees’ needs – whether it’s private healthcare, work flexibility, childcare benefits, or travel expenses? If top talent is going to give 40 hours of their working week to your company, they’ll be much more productive knowing that some element of their life admin is being managed for them. More than ever, work-life balance has proven important, and salary unfortunately doesn’t offer enough to contribute to this. Give your employees the gift of time, and you’ll see dividends paid back to you in workplace productivity and longevity.

It’s not about the money 

It is a rare professional indeed who will agree to work for peanuts. A passion for their work is one thing, but realistically we all have bills to pay. It would be naive to suggest that salary isn’t important at all. However, the research and points above do tell us that employees who feel valued and engaged in ‘meaningful work’ are far more likely to take on roles which pay less. Additionally, the same talent is more likely to stay working in that role for longer, put in more time each week and take fewer days’ leave than those who find little meaning to their work.

This is encouraging news for the life sciences sector and a strong indicator to employers as to what they should aim to offer in order to secure the best talent the industry has to offer. Using these tips to create a welcoming and rewarding environment could be the key to a successful hiring process, over and above the hard financial package.

Love our advice but not sure where to start? Feel free to give us a call to discuss your reward packages or recruitment strategy further, or book a 1:1 consultation with our experts here.