Great Mondays' Hierarchy of Talent Needs
Updated: Oct 12, 2022
The tool Directors of HR need to elevate their talent campaigns and attract the best people.
In a recent client workshop, we led a group of PagerDuty cultural all-stars through a series of exercises to capture what makes it a unique place to work. We translated our findings into a talent campaign to drive attraction and retention. One tool, in particular, proved extremely helpful—our Hierarchy of Talent Needs framework.
Think of your talents’ needs as a pyramid — similar to Maslow’s hierarchy, our 5-layer framework is a structure of needs. But, in addition to each layer building on the next, ours increases from lowest impact on the bottom to the highest impact at the peak. Below, we break down each element of the framework and explain how they help build a better, more unique message to attract and retain your best talent. Each layer of the pyramid answers a question from the talent’s point of view. Read on to learn how to elevate your company’s offer to future talent, then download the tool to put it into action.
1. PACKAGE: WHAT DO I GET TODAY?
Package refers to the basic benefits organizations offer, salary is the first (but not only) item on the list. Insurance, time off, and bonuses also fit here.
PagerDuty had great things to say about their benefits packages, a favorite being the Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). Of course, it’s great to have more, and in a lot of companies today, the practice of beefing up your perks is attractive, but it’s not a long-term strategy for keeping butts in seats.
This layer is the easiest to define, but in the context of the pyramid, it also provides the least value and differentiation in the market. Especially in Silicon Valley, if you’re trying to win people with perks, you’ve already lost. A 2019 Glassdoor survey found that three in four adults consider company culture before applying for a job. Over half of Millennials, specifically, rank company culture and values over a higher salary.
[Are your values doing their job? Refresh or relaunch them with our Values Quick-Start Guide.]
2. POTENTIAL: WHAT DO I GET TOMORROW?
Potential refers to personal career growth. This growth can encompass skill development, experience within new roles, or even the promise of a current job being a resume builder for the next.
At PagerDuty, things like leadership experience and career advancement were ranked highest on the list of desired and accomplished opportunities—things you can expect from a hyper-growth company. With other results like career exploration and new challenges, we learned that our best candidates would likely be folks ready to jump in and contribute right away.
Potential, like Package, is top of mind for a candidate and this layer reveals what current employees are most interested in gaining from their efforts. There’s a lot to be learned from your conversations around potential; this slice is also pretty easy to define, so don’t be afraid to start defining this quickly.
3. PEOPLE: WHO WILL I BECOME?
This layer refers to the people with whom you work. Many studies say that who you work with is more important than what you do. We asked participants to think about who they admire at the organization.
In our time working with PagerDuty, we observed that Dutonians (PD employees) were amazing, everyday people, and our results supported that. We heard from employees at every level, in multiple locations, and from various backgrounds that the folks at PagerDuty inspire each other to grow and lead.
Culture is driven and maintained by the people in your company. We ask, “Who will I become when I join” because we spend way too much time with our coworkers not to admire and aspire to be like them. So, finding out what your employees celebrate about each other and value in a coworker will define who you’ll need to scale your business.
4. PURPOSE: WHAT ARE WE ACHIEVING TOGETHER?
Purpose refers to why we are all here; It is the reason an organization exists beyond making money.
PagerDuty’s cultural all-stars shared a variety of lovely definitions for the company's purpose. Understandably though, as a company that’s growing fast and pioneering a new category of business, the results lacked a clear sense of shared understanding around their ultimate goal.
As we move up the pyramid, the layers become more differentiated but harder to define. When a candidate joins your company, they’re joining your cause. Being able to articulate this is something we’ve worked on with numerous clients on. Not only is it a key driver of your core business strategy (see: HBR research), it’s a rallying cry that boosts employee morale and unites all company functions. If your purpose is not clearly defined, trust us, you’ll know from the data you gather with this exercise.
“Having a compelling mission, culture and values are critical when it comes to attracting and retaining top talent in a competitive job market — it is what differentiates each and every employer.” — Christian Sutherland-Wong, President and COO, Glassdoor
[Do you need to define your company's purpose? Find examples of great purpose statements when you download our Purpose Quick-Start Guide.]
5. PROMISE: WHAT WILL I SAY WHEN I LOOK BACK ON MY TIME HERE?
The top layer, Promise, refers to what employees hope their personal or professional achievements will be during their time at the company.
We weren’t surprised when PagerDuty’s cultural all-stars predicted noble causes for their time spent as Dutonians. This layer is powerful because it reveals so much insight into your top talents’ goals at work and in life. Some of our favorite results include: “working for a company doing things the right way” and “increased opportunities for underrepresented communities.”
This can be the hardest part of your offer to articulate, but it reveals the highest value your company can offer an employee. When an employee leaves, they leave behind their purpose and their people, but they will continue to carry their accomplishments and successes with them for life. Imagine your current employees retiring after 25 years at your company. What will they toast to at their live-streamed VR retirement party? The results may surprise you.
Attracting and keeping the best talent requires taking a moment to listen to your current employees. Your message to candidates should be compelling, inspiring, and driven by the unique components of your company’s culture. Use Great Mondays’ Hierarchy of Talent Needs to gather valuable insights from the best of your culture and craft a pitch your ideal candidates can’t ignore and competitors can’t steal.
Ready to amp up your talent campaigns?
Download our free worksheet to get started,
or send us an email about defining your employer value proposition.
Thanks to Josh Levine