How to Attract and Retain Senior Leadership Talent

The leaders of your membership organisation are crucial to your success.  

People in leadership positions contribute towards setting the strategic direction of a professional body or trade association as well as inspiring and leading their team towards achieving the goals and vision.   

According to a study by McKinsey, high performers in senior positions are up to 800% more productive than their counterparts. The question for most membership bodies is how they can attract the most skilled senior leadership talent and retain them.   

Here at membershipbespoke we frequently find the ideal candidates for positions ranging from heads of finance, public affairs, policy, digital and social media to membership services. These are the strategies that we’ve seen to be the most successful in attracting and retaining leadership talent.


1. Start with Recruiting the Right People



The first step in any effective talent acquisition strategy is making sure you know what to look for in your candidates. While it’s easy to say that your new Head of IT needs a background in the digital world, or your Head of Finance needs an extensive accounting education, it’s essential to go beyond technical talent.  

When working with a recruitment company like membershipbespoke, think about the kind of attitudes that will fit well with your current company culture. People in leadership roles need: 

  • A commitment to continuous learning: Look at how each candidate has developed their skills over the years. Do they take part in the latest training opportunities, and attend industry events?  
  • Passion: Why does the candidate think they’re right for your role? Have they tailored their CV and cover letter to demonstrate why they’re the ideal fit?  
  • Shared values: Do the candidate’s values align with your organisation’s vision? People who see meaning in their roles stay in them longer.  


2. Deliver Excellent Candidate and Employee Experiences

Focusing on candidate and employee experience from day one has a significant impact on your ability to both attract and retain talented employees. When people enjoy your interviewing and onboarding process, it creates a foundation for a stronger relationship with your business. Remember to: 


  • Use a structure: A structured hiring and onboarding process goes beyond asking the same competency-based interview questions. Make sure you’re clear about interviewing and onboarding timelines, so everyone knows when to expect further information. Employees with a well-structured onboarding experience are 69% more likely to stay with an organisation for up to 3 years.   
  • Be proactive: Anticipate employee and candidate needs whenever you can. For instance, send information about onboarding to your new employees over email before their first day,
    so they know what to expect. 
  • Communicate clearly: Whether it’s an interview or a work evaluation, make sure that you give your employees and candidates clarity. Lack of clear communication can lead to frustration among your staff. If this happens frequently, it may begin to raise questions in an employees mind about whether your company is the right place for them after all.    


3. Develop your Employee Value Proposition

The law of attraction is crucial for recruitment.  

Highly talented people want to work for fantastic membership organisations. If you create a great place to work, then you’ll have a much easier time finding and retaining talent.  

One way to create an appealing work environment is to clarify your employee value proposition. This means outlining what you can give your staff, in exchange for their hard work and commitment. Outline your benefits in everything from the job description, to the interview, and make sure that you follow through on them. Examples of benefits include: 

  • An attractive office environment with workspaces that encourage collaboration.
  • Simple things such as complimentary refreshments. 
  • Flexible schedules or remote working.
  • Clear career pathways.
  • Opportunities for training and professional development.
  • Financial bonuses and rewards.
  • Senior Leadership Team social events where successes are celebrated.  

Consider customising your benefits package:  During the interview process, seek to understand what types of benefits are important to individuals and use this to tailor your package to suit each new senior leadership appointment.


4. Implement Internal Training and Mentoring Programmes



Finally, if you want your leaders to reach their full potential, then your membership organisation must be the catalyst that empowers them to get there.  

Long-term retention is easier to achieve when employees can see a future for themselves within your business. Transforming your organisation into a place where great talent can accomplish incredible things develops your employer brand, and makes you stand out from the crowd.  

Sit down with each leader in your professional body and ask them about their career ambitions and development plans. For instance, does a department head want to be a CEO one day? If so, would some lateral movement get them to where they want to be? For instance, a head of marketing might become a head of membership services or vice-versa. 

Once you know more about your staff members’ career plan, support them to implement the mentoring and training opportunities they need and remember to offer plenty of feedback, both developmental and motivational.  Have regular reviews and look to create opportunities to delegate responsibilities and projects that will create opportunities to experience your broader organisation.  





About Us 

The membershipbespoke group remains the only specialist recruitment organisation in the UK, which offers a dedicated service tailored to the needs of Trade Associations, Unions, Professional and Regulatory Bodies. 


We use our considerable expertise in successfully recruiting for positions across every department within a membership context. To find out more call us on 0203 4403653 or email us here. 

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