For most hiring managers, the last thought on their mind is retaining employees when they make a candidate an offer. At that happy stage of the hiring process, neither the new employee nor the hiring manager is thinking about a letter of resignation.
But in many instances, the new appointment is fatally flawed. Statistics released by job board Indeed in 2016 revealed that over 50% of US employees were active in the job market looking for better prospects. More recent research from Gallup confirmed these statistics.
That means that one out of every two new engagements won’t last as long as you’d expected — not good news when you consider the impact and costs of hiring.
Recruitment is much more than meeting a need
In a fast-paced and stressful environment, finding the first most suitable candidate to fill the immediate needs of a job opening can easily take precedence in the hiring process. Every day that a vacancy languor’s in any department is a day too many for line managers. It’s not difficult to see how we can overlook critical factors in our drive to avert a departmental crisis.
Retaining employees should be a priority from day one though. A job offer is in reality entering into a partnership with another person for the benefit of both parties. Ensuring that the expectations of both parties are met in the long term is what employee retention is all about.
People change jobs for many different reasons, and sometimes it has nothing to do with their employer. However, repeated patterns of misplacements and high staff turnover are an indication that your recruitment process is lacking.
Employee retention techniques should be built into your hiring procedures from the point at which a new job opening is identified. Here are some tips to get you started:
1. Write retaining employees into your recruitment policy
A high staff turnover results in reactive recruitment and hiring and is also mostly the result of reactive hiring that can become a vicious circle. When an organization fails to take a comprehensive approach to retaining employees, they become more prone to making bad hiring decisions.
Reactive hiring is short-term thinking; meeting an immediate need! Unfortunately, people aren’t commodities, so they come with long-term expectations. Employers have their own set of expectations as well. If one or both parties believe they aren’t benefitting, the job will soon be open again, kicking off another costly recruitment drive.
Retaining employees must become part of your company culture and recruitment selection and process policy. But before you can weave employee retention techniques through your company culture, you need to understand why people would want to work for your corporation. That way you can identify the best candidates for your environment.
Employees who feel comfortable at work are happier and find satisfaction in their job. They’re more productive because they believe that their work contributes towards the success of their employers, and therefore to their own success.
2. Find the right people
Identifying the right candidate is about more than just technical skills and experience. Identifying people who’ll be the right fit for your company is equally important.
Just because someone can do the job well doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll be happy in your job. Considering how many hours we spend at work, being at ease in our environment is essential to job satisfaction. If an employee feels uncomfortable, unappreciated or disrespected at work, they will re-enter the job market and ultimately resign.
Personality assessments, job fit interview questions, panel interviews and informal interviews (outside of the business environment) are all excellent tools for getting a glimpse of the person behind the professional.
3. Manage expectations through good communication
Many people resign because they feel disillusioned in their role, and often it comes as a shock to management. Never assume that candidates know certain things. Even if it looks like you’re stating the obvious, make sure that all communication is detailed throughout the hiring process.
When a job opening is first identified, write a detailed job description or carefully review the existing one. Ensure that the job description also includes soft skills, level of responsibility, remuneration and employee benefits. When you post the job advert, expand on the details by adding information about the division as well as the company brand and culture. Also, promote your employer brand clearly.
Reinforce these details throughout the interview process and check that no candidate is misled for any reason. For example, if there are no prospects for promotion in the foreseeable future, be honest about it. One person’s loss is another’s profit. Some people look for job titles and authority, while others see more value in gaining broader experience.
Neither attitude is wrong, but only one will work out for your setting. It’s about finding the person who’ll be the right fit.
4. Build a genuine employer brand
Employer brands and company cultures are as diverse as the many applicants that respond to your job posts. Knowing “who” your company is, and what type of people would likely want to become part of your business is key to identifying not only top talent but the right talent.
The value of promoting your employer brand genuinely and accurately can’t be emphasized enough. Your line of business must compliment your values. People align themselves closely with the ideals of their employer brand. You need to appoint people who’ll be comfortable working in your environment.
A simple example: someone who lives a vegan lifestyle isn’t going to be comfortable selling hunting safaris, even if they have extensive experience in the travel industry. For them, this type of travel isn’t fun, no matter where in the world the destination.
5. Great candidate experience
The candidate experience goes way beyond recruitment. You can’t employ every applicant who responds to your job posts, but every applicant will remember how you treated them. How you respond to job applicants and deal with shortlisted candidates has an impact on your employer and company brand.
Always keep in mind that looking for a new job is a profoundly personal experience and often leaves people feeling vulnerable and exposed. How they’ve been treated leaves an impression – negative or positive. That’s why it’s vital to automate your recruitment process to ensure that there are reminders in place to prompt you and others on the hiring team. People always remember how someone else made them feel; make sure that you leave a positive impression.
6. Implement employee referrals
Depending on your line of business, employee referrals could be your most valuable recruitment tool. Specialized industries and jobs with hard to find skills need referrals not only to save on hiring costs and reduce time to fill but also for retaining employees. Specialized roles can stay open for months if you don’t have a well-developed talent pipeline.
What makes referrals so successful is that existing employees know your employer brand and the environment very well, so they’re unlikely to recommend someone who won’t fit in. Also, they have first-hand exposure to the job requirements, and they know the referee. Effectively your initial screening is taken care of, and the likelihood of a good fit is high.
Implementing a referral program for your recruitment policies encourages employee loyalty. Not every role in your business needs to be included in your referral program, and you can look at traditionally challenging roles only. Rewards for successful referrals need not only be monetary either. You can consider bonus leave days, redeemable vouchers or discounts as well.
Implement employee retention techniques from ground level to the boardroom
Once you’ve got the right person in place, you want them to stay. Being aware of how your workforce feels about your company is essential. Issues like trust, remuneration, brand reputation, respect and employee development all contribute towards retaining employees. Ensure that employee engagement programs are implemented and kept up to date, promote employee development and reward staff for their contributions.
You need to adopt an evolving and comprehensive approach to retaining employees if you want your business to be competitive in the talent market. Many companies view retaining employees as an HR function for the existing workforce, but proper retention techniques must begin with recruiters.