10 Simple Tactics to Attract Talent [While You Do the More Complex Work]



If you've hired anyone lately, you know that - more and more - the war for talent is affecting associations. The pandemic (and relief efforts related to it) hastened the arrival of a structural workforce shortage that's been coming for a long time and will not be going away any time soon. As a result, HR professionals and workforce gurus advise leaders to lean into building a corporate culture (and related policy) that will help attract and retain talent. But building culture takes time. Today's blog lists ten relatively simple tactics associations can use to resolve staffing shortages while also doing the more complex organizational work.        


  1. Look within. 
    There's an excellent chance the perfect combination of experience and talent won't be available, so before you post the position, give serious consideration to promoting from within and providing the professional development to ensure that individual's success. It's much easier (and less costly) to fill an entry-level position.

  2. Offer flexibility. 
    Today's candidates are looking for - and making decisions based on - scheduling and location flexibility. This is not a trend; it is the new reality. In the big scheme of things, flexibility is smart and cost-effective.  

  3. Beef up your benefits.
    Associations are competing with gig work - creative benefits can be enough to coax talent back to the regular workforce. Consider offering workcations, an hour a week with a personal trainer, gas cards, paid team volunteer service projects, in-office massage therapy every monthly, home office technology tune-ups...the possibilities are endless! (Pro tip: Choose benefits that will reinforce the culture you're trying to build while appealling to your prospective candidates!)    

  4. Offer free food or laundry service. 
    Any parent of a college student knows that great food and laundry service can be real motivators. Stocking the company fridge and pantry, picking up the tab for delivered meal services, or providing a wash and fold service could set your organization apart.     
  5.  Embrace internships. 
    Some associations have shied away from interns because of the work involved in setting up and supporting the position. However, interns transition into employees 65% of the time, so this is worth the effort for practical and altruistic reasons. 

  6. Offer a sign-on bonus. 
    Substantive sign-on bonuses can be a real incentive for candidates. Plan to pay it out in increments throughout the first year of employment, so you have time to onboard your new employee before they consider leaving. 

  7. Pay a finders fee. 
    Want to get people talking about your position? Consider paying a finders fee to current employees, board members, or members who refer a candidate your way—for example, $100 for every applicant and $500 if their candidate accepts the position.  

  8. Reduce the time-to-hire.
     Reconsider the practice of waiting to review applications and scheduling interviews after 4 to 6 weeks. Review applicants daily or weekly and get promising candidates into the pipeline asap.  

  9. Lead with your strengths. 
    A job posting is an advertisement - remember to sell your organization! Catch your prospect's eye by leading with the *best* things about working with your association. 

  10. Explore creative partnerships. 
    Consider partnering with other associations, suppliers, members, and even competitors to resolve a shortage or improve your value proposition to employees. Can certain projects be outsourced to contractors? Can you trade services according to operational strengths? Can you leverage a member's specialty as a benefit to employees? Work with your team to brainstorm possibilities. 

They say necessity is the mother of invention. Today's workforce shortage requires that we get creative about how we will get things done. Let us know what new ideas and practices are working for you! 

If you're looking for help with hiring beyond today's blog, email me. I'm happy to connect you with a fellow MSAE member with expertise in HR and hiring.