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Smart Recruitment and Retention
Barbara Crouse

We are all looking for the best people to work and lead within our organizations. But finding and hiring them is only half the battle. We have to not only lure them in, but we also have to be imaginative and innovative if we want to keep them. So, recruitment and retention are intrinsically linked. It’s not enough to do a good job on one end, you have to do a great job on both in order to be successful in today’s tough job market.

Here are some suggestions to improve how you hire and then how to retain those best and brightest employees that will lead your company or organization into the future.

Employee referrals

Getting existing employees to spread the word about job openings is a great way to lure good candidates to a company or organization. Employee referrals are not new but putting additional incentives into an employee referral program can spice it up and make it more attractive. Employers are even paying their employees to post good things about their company online and through social media networks. The advantages are clear. If a current employee offers a good word about the company, their friends and contacts are much more likely to come on board. People who get hired through this type of approach are also much more likely to stay with the organization longer and even help to recruit additional staff.

Borrowing other employees

All’s fair in love, war and recruiting. Poaching is a negative term that some might apply to recruiting staff from other organizations, but it is a competition. As long as no false promises are made, and you stress the positive aspects of coming over to your side of the fence, most business ethics experts have no problem with offering staff at other enterprises the opportunity to work at your firm. Some businesses have made this part of their recruiting strategy and invest in covet initiatives within ‘enemy’ territory. That might be a bit much, but if you have a great place to work, there’s nothing wrong with telling the competition’s talent about it. They are the ones who ultimately have to choose.

Check them out first

In an attempt to hire better employees some companies are finding ways to check out prospective candidates before they hire them. They are even sending out some of their staff to see how they operate in real life. This is great for customer service or sales positions and anyone who might have to deal with the public. This real-life snapshot of how people behave in their current job is a great predictor of how they will perform in their next one. It’s also a good way to screen out some possible candidates who will bring poor attitudes or behaviour with them to their new employer.

New ways to get the message out

Everybody wants to find ways to spread the news about job openings and to get the message out widely and quickly. Social media advertising and promotions are one great way to do that. But many companies are going a bit further in order to stand out from the crowd. They are using a combination of traditional and social media marketing to brand themselves as a ‘great place to work’. They might share employee testimonials and then instead of using their own communication channels, they are trying to advertise where they think their potential employees might already be. That could include on bus shelters near the technical college or on social media platforms like Instagram that target a younger demographic.

Hiring more minorities

Once again, this is not new. Recruiters and hiring managers have been telling companies that there is an untapped labour market resource in plain sight. Women, people of colour, Indigenous people, and those living with disabilities are all under-represented in many segments of the marketplace. These groups are actively seeking employment and advancement and those companies who are investing in them are getting a leg up on the competition. In times of scarcity and high competition in the labour market, these groups are all worth a second look, even if it’s for the first time.


New strategies for retention

We know we have to do a better job in retaining existing employees. It costs too much to hire them in the first place and then there’s the dramatic costs of training them for their job functions. We can’t afford to do it twice. An American study by the Center for American Progress found that replacing an employee costs 10 to 30 percent of their annual salary. Other research have pegged that number even higher.

There are also the real, but intangible costs of losing key employees. This includes a negative impact on productivity and morale and the time it takes other employees to fill in while the position is being filled and their replacement trained. Here are a few suggestions to improve your employee retention rate.

Hire better

If you hire the right candidate in the first place you fix a whole lot of problems and avoid many more. Make your recruitment and selection processes about skills and potential instead of personality and fit. This can lead to happier employees who are confident and capable in their work, and happier employees stay longer with the organization.

<Make them feel welcome

Your orientation program should start on day one, earlier if that is possible. Set them up for success right from the beginning. Help them to learn their job and feel comfortable. But also let them in on the corporate culture and the way your organization or company does things. Let me see your goals and objectives for their section and the whole company. Make them feel welcome in their new home.

Give them a friend

Every employee will have a supervisor or manager but if you want to keep them, they will also need some friends. Their first friend could be a mentor, someone with more experience who can show them around and show them the ropes. Both sides benefit in a mentorship relationship. The new employee will find out how things really work, and the more senior staff member can see old problems with new eyes. It will help them both become more committed to the business.

Train better

Training keeps employees engaged and challenged, and is an investment, not just in their future, but their future with the organization. Career paths may differ for employees depending on where they are in the company, but everyone should feel like they have one within their chosen field. If they can’t get there from here, they will certainly go somewhere else. Good employees find ways to not only make better employees, but ones who will feel a sense of accomplishment and success. Those employees are loyal to the end.

Communicate better

Another great way to enhance retention is to have a continual feedback loop. Employees who feel that their voice is heard also feel empowered and more a part of the company. All staff want the ability to offer their ideas and suggestion and to be able to ask questions and raise concerns. This has shown to have a direct impact on both employee morale and subsequent retention rates. Employees who are encouraged to speak their mind will bring not just problems but in many cases, they also have the solutions. They start to feel like this really is their company, one that they want to stay with as long as they can.



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