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Five Secrets to Find and Keep Top Notch Talent Without Breaking the Bank

Do you feel like you can’t afford to pay what it takes to get—and keep—top talent employees? 

by Mike Campion
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five secrets to find and keep top notch talent without breaking the bank

Do you have employees that you constantly need to coddle, cajole, and cater to? Are their needs and wants constantly changing? Do you feel like you can’t afford to pay what it takes to get—and keep—top talent employees? 

You are about to discover five actionable strategies to help you find—and keep—the best employees without spending the GDP of Uzbekistan in payroll. Fear not, none of the five strategies are about base salary, benefits, or bribing. 

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Think more effective and less expensive. Imagine your company as the sole provider; the sole source of something special that your employees are desperately looking for and can’t find anywhere else. 

Secret #1 - Build a Community - NOT A Workforce 

Chances are you are not hiring people for their first job. Some are even coming from a job they hate. A job that paid the bills and nothing else. Invite prospective employees to join a community—not to sign up for another less-than-fantastic job. 

When you create a community of people with shared values that care about each other, the tendency to steal, quit, come in late, complain, whine, or partake in other non-superfantastic behavior decreases exponentially. 

Typical Employee/Employer Workflow 

Step 1 - Comply with these many rules

Step 2 - There is no step two 

New and Improved Community Deal: 

Step 1 - Build an appealing community

Step 2 - Invite talented amazing people into that community

Step 3 - Reinforce what it looks like to be a good community member

Step 4 - Live happily ever after 

Secret #2 - Provide a Sense of Purpose 

Once you build a community, your team will have a sense of belonging. Supercharge that with a sense of purpose and your organization becomes extremely sticky to top talent. People desperately want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. Something they believe in. 

Your employees and potential new hires desperately want something bigger than themselves to belong to. Provide that for them and unleash the floodgates for an avalanche of talent at your doorstep. 

Don’t be fooled by the old, “Sure that works for brain surgeons, but MY business is different...” nonsense. Whether you own a cleaning company, an industrial fasteners plant, or any other business that doesn’t feel like you are changing the world, the only reason you are in business is that you provide value to the people you serve. 

If you are categorically closed to the idea that your business changes lives—adopt a cause. Become active in your community, give to a charity—do something as a team that creates value and gives everyone a reason to bound out of bed and be excited to get to work day-in and day-out! If you aren’t careful—you just might find yourself addicted to making the world a better place. 

Secret #3 - Offer Experiences Over Expenses 

Do you have a trip that you took as a child that you still look fondly back on? A holiday that you will never forget? A vacation years ago where everything went wrong, but you and your family still talk about it? 

Salary and benefits are commodities. A sense of purpose in a community of people you care about are not. A study by Harris Group found that 72 percent of millennials prefer to spend more money on experiences than on material things. 

Shared experiences build bonds, families, communities, and companies. Don’t just hope these experiences happen—create them! 

  • Have monthly events
  • Rent a bounce house
  • A dunk tank employees can dunk management in
  • Comically oversized sumo suits employees can battle to the death in… 

Anything to help create experiences for your employees to build that community. 

Don’t keep the fun to yourself. Invite employees’ families, customers, prospects, prospective employees, even vendors! All of this creates an environment your team is proud to be a part of and makes it very difficult for them to leave. 

Secret #4 - Appreciation 

This is your secret weapon. Not only can it be had for the low, low price of zero dollars, it can be the most valuable. Even better—it can be a ton of fun. 

Once you have built this community that the members are proud to be a part of, working towards a worthy goal and experiences that bond everyone together, your employees will crave recognition from you and the community. 

When you have events give awards. Lots of awards. Not just the typical performance based awards- award for everything. Enjoy a few examples to get your creative juices flowing: 

  • Best looking family
  • Best hair
  • Customer favorite
  • Most likely to win at arm wrestling

Small things like this make big differences in employees' lives and their contribution to your organization. Few things are more rewarding than seeing awards given and pictures taken of you handing an employee an award proudly displayed in homes years later. Let loose, use your imagination and love on your people and you might just be surprised that you are the one who gets the most benefit. 

Secret #5 - Put a Bow on it With Core Values 

Core values are your secret sauce to attracting top level talent without breaking the bank. Not an old school string of meaningless words displayed on a plaque at your front office. Three to four key beliefs; summed up in a word or two each. The guiding principles that provide your company’s special brand of awesome. 

Shared core values are the rules your company lives by to accomplish that community. They are a golden thread that runs throughout your company. 

  • Employee hiring ads
  • Your website
  • Your interview process
  • Your employee review process
  • Your on hold music/script for your phone system
  • Who you accept as customers, vendors, and employees 

Core values is the final secret that brings the first four all together and gives them power. 

It is impossible to get people to act outside of their true beliefs for an extended amount of time. It is far easier (and more enjoyable) to help people live out your mutual shared beliefs and values for the benefit of a shared larger purpose. 

About the author

Mike Campion is a celebrated speaker, entrepreneur, and author of I’m a Freaking Genius, Why is This Business So Hard?. A small business expert, Mike has built several multi-million dollar businesses, the most recent achieving $4.3 million in sales in the first 18 months. As the host of the “Conversations with a Genius” podcast, Mike imparts his business wisdom on his listeners. For more information about bringing in Mike Campion for your next event, please visit