How to... compete for the best talent

In this article: The five methods that Helen Burrows, HR director, Marshall Motor Group uses to get (and hold onto) talented people

A business is only as good as its employees, so tracking down the top talent, and making sure they stay instead of heading to a competitor is one of the most important tasks. Do it, and do it well, and your business is more likely to be a success. So how do you attract and keep hold of the best talent...

Recruit people who enhance your business, but retain its identity

“Our approach is to make sure that we are the best workplace we can be. Our focus is around our employer brand, and making sure it's very clear what we've got to offer – why anybody would want to come and work with Marshall.

“In an ideal world our employees become advocates for us. We have lots of colleagues recommending Marshall as a place for friends, family, and associates to come and work. We have a lot of referrals too, and that comes from our internal advocates – our own colleagues saying ‘yes, this is a great place to work.’”

Create an environment that focuses on retaining staff

“We work with a programme called Great Place to Work, which helps companies to measure colleague engagement. We've been measuring that for nine years or so. Each year we’re able to assess how our colleagues feel and, once we know what's important to them and what they think, we can put programmes in place.

“Many of the things that we have in place today as part of our colleague engagement programme came about directly as a result of colleagues saying ‘we'd like to see more of this’ and ‘how about you do that’. It could be the smallest thing – such as the canteen in their dealership needs a lick of paint – or bigger things.

Embrace social media in recruitment strategy

“Social media plays a part in getting Marshall out there. We're fortunate in that we're a well-known brand in automotive retail. We're successful and growing, and that in itself attracts people to Marshall. If we put something on social media, we get a lot of interaction. Daksh [Gupta, Group CEO] will put something on LinkedIn and he'll have a whole host of people reaching out and making contact.

“When we've done recruitment campaigns through social media we do get lots of engagement. That's partly due to the way we've built the brand. People know what that stands for, know what Marshall is about, and are making the decision to reach out to us. It's great for us, not having to rely on our own efforts to search externally.

Make sure that new recruits are a good fit

“We're not recruiting clones. Everyone brings something new and exciting, but at the heart of what we do is a set of values. It's not a pre-set person description or personality profile, just people that understand the pillars that underpin what we do. We want to bring all of the diversity and the wealth of talent that we can, but provided they understand what's fundamental to what Marshall is about.”

Marshall is in the midst of making a change to enhance its talent acquisition, and it’s something all firms should be looking to do

“We are in the process of putting a centralised recruitment team in place. We've had a decentralised model up to now – management will still absolutely own the recruitment decision, but the team in the centre will help pipeline talent.”

Helen was talking to Andrew Evans. Visit Autocity for impartial information and advice on careers in the retail motor industry.

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