If your business were a car, your key employees would be the engine. These are your superstars, the heavy hitters who apply their talents and skill sets in their positions and generate massive results every time.
As most managers already know, however, the reason why key employees are so in-demand is precisely because they don't grow on trees. If you're hunting for your next key employee, here is some of our best advice on where to look.
1. Professional Recruiters
The thing about key employees is that they're generally either employed or snatched up very quickly during the brief times they're unemployed and looking for a position. So who better to help you find your next key employee than someone whose business it is to match companies with excellent clients day in and day out? Professional recruiters have the relationships, experience, and the avenues needed to find candidates and find them quickly.
Although the saying, "It's not what you know but who you know" gets thrown around at job-seekers a lot, the same logic also applies to employers who are searching for talent. You may not be immediately aware of anyone who could fill a key position, but perhaps a colleague you met at a seminar or a fellow professional association member might know someone. Or maybe instead of a professional peer it's a friend of yours who knows a recent college grad or a veteran who would be perfect for your position. All of this is to say that your professional and personal network is a resource that just might surprise you.
Do you have any high-flying talent in your organization? Is there an employee who seems to have all the knowledge and personality traits needed to step in and do a fantastic job? Sometimes your future key employee is standing right in front of you. A lot of companies get so caught up in internal policy and creating a rigid system for potential advancement that they overlook the talent and potential for growth that's already there. An added bonus with this approach is that the candidate's familiarity with you and your company's culture are a potentially easy way to guarantee a relatively smooth transition.
The Internet has long been used for research, networking, and business. Now, with the help of sites like LinkedIn, Indeed, and even Facebook, finding talent is literally just a few clicks away.
As effective as these relatively mainstream sites can be, companies don't have to resign themselves to these relatively mainstream avenues. Forums, Twitter, specialized job boards, and Internet hotspots like Reddit are all places where employers can find and discover talent with relative ease. When you're searching for your next key employee, you don't want just anybody to take the wheel. You want the best person for the job. However finding that future key employee is often easier said than done. Online sources, tapping into your existing network for possible referrals, promoting internally, and hiring professional recruiters are all options that can make finding your next key employee easier. Try one of these options and see how it works for you.