The War for Stars: Is Your Company Jedi-Worthy?

If you have been sensing a disturbance in the talent market lately, you're not alone. Companies wise in the ways of the Force are no longer settling for A-players, mere stormtroopers. They want Jedi, professionals with the skills and motivation to start being productive right off the bat. Companies know Jedi will continue making valuable contributions autonomously across the employment continuum from resume to retirement.

Bear with me as I tour the universe of Star Wars analogies, for there is insight to be found. Listen to the voice of reason, you should.

Here are some Jedi mind tricks you can use to attract and engage these elite warriors:

Be Jedi-Worthy

To attract and engage elite talent, your company must be Jedi-worthy. Be crystal clear about who your company is and what it can offer top talent. Search your feelings. Define your employment value proposition and communicate that message across the galaxy.

To understand what drives Jedi and other employees, check out RESPECT: Delivering Results by Giving Employees What They Really Want by Jack Wiley and Brenda Kowske. The book, by two prestigious Jedi Masters, summarizes more than 30 years of research. "RESPECT," it turns out, is an acronym that sums up what employees want most:


Exciting work


Pay that is fair

Education and career growth

Conditions they can thrive in

Truth and transparency

Jedi Attract Jedi

A Jedi will seek out and follow a great leader. You don't have to live on a swamp planet to be a great leader, but you do have to perform at the same high standards as the Jedi you're recruiting. Your company's track record speaks to that, but leadership shows in other ways as well.

As an example, according to the 2017 Engage2Excel "Trendicators Report," 69 percent of jobseekers say their first-day experience will impact their decision to stay with a new company for more than a month. If day one is less than stellar, they'll jump back in their X-wing fighter and head to that most dreaded of all galaxies – your competitor.

A strong leader will ensure a positive recruiting and onboarding experience. Instead of having your new Jedi spend the entire first day filling out paperwork, schedule time for socialization to help them feel at home with teammates. Plan a welcome mixer in the break room, or take the Jedi and select coworkers to lunch.

Your Culture Is Your Soundtrack

Jedi know they can pick and choose, and culture plays an important role in their decisions. Think of your culture as the soundtrack to your company film. We may not always be conscious of a movie soundtrack, but try watching Obi Wan Kenobi and Qui Gon Ginn battle Darth Maul without the urgent orchestral/choral score, let alone the hum and crackle of lightsabers.

Jedi want to work at companies that invest the same creativity and inspiration into their cultures as John Williams put into theme after theme in so many movies. To leverage your culture in attracting Jedi, start by talking with the Jedi already on your team. What is it that attracted them to your company? What keeps them engaged at a high-level day after day?

Don't Power Down the Tractor Beam Too Soon

Even after a candidate is hired, they are still vulnerable. In the "Trendicators Report," 72 percent of respondents indicated that their overall onboarding experience would affect their decision to stay longer than a year. They may be in your building, but they're still deciding. You need to convince them: "Those are not the jobs you're looking for."

Show them you are Jedi-worthy. At minimum, you should have their phone, computer, business cards, lightsaber, and other tools ready on day one. Be sure to think outside the carbonite freezing chamber, too. For example, at Decision Toolbox, we send a welcome gift in the form of a giant fortune cookie saying there's a bright future ahead. It's edible, but far from being a simple snack, it symbolizes our commitment to the new relationship.

I'm having fun torturing this analogy, but there are some practical tactics here. The good news: They aren't difficult or expensive to implement.

Kim Shepherd is CEO of Decision Toolbox, a 100 percent virtual organization providing recruitment solutions. Tom Brennan is manager, creative services, at Decision Toolbox.