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Recruit To Retain, Retain To Succeed

February 15

Recruiting the best and the brightest will always be integral to the overall success of a company. But as we hit the stride of Baby Boomer retirements and the new mix of labor, the ability to retain will be the real difference in success and failure for American businesses.

On the surface, knowing why someone exits and another stays seems too vague and personal for a company to really control - yet with good data and something akin to common sense, HR professionals can drive millions to the bottom line by keeping employees happy, engaged and with the company.

Greater retention begins with the right tools and training.

HR can't actually control retention, but they can provide the tools, training and programs for the managers who do control retention on a day-to-day basis. And, HR has a real vested interest in positive retention because without a solid employee base, their job is one of endless order taking and lack of control.

Typically, employees don't want to leave their jobs. They are forced out because of an unhappy situation. Poor manager behavior is routinely the number one reason. This isn't because managers don't care, it's because they aren't properly trained. So often employees have no choice but to abandon the work they like, their comfortable routine and their co-workers.

Address age segmentation among employees and you'll keep more people.

Generational differences are the underlying reason for much of the frustration of the work environment and the loss of employees. For the first time ever, the US workforce has four distinct generations working side by side, and they have little in common. In fact, they oftentimes feel disdain for each other. How many times have you heard a Baby Boomer complain that a Generation Xer has no work ethic and the GenXer complain that a Boomer needs to get out of the way because experience doesn't count for as much as being technology savvy?

Each of the four generations need to be recruited, communicated, mentored, oriented, trained and engaged differently. If your company doesn't know how, you are watching dollars fly out the back door. When managers know how to communicate with the four generations they can build a team that is cohesive because they are different. Flexibility follows and soon people wouldn't dream of leaving because they are getting what they want, according to their individual needs.

If you are still treating everyone the same, you have a retention problem.

Measurable data is the first step towards measurable results.

Many times managers don't want to believe they are responsible for retention problems, so measurable data is needed to convince them. You should utilize measurement in the form of exit interviews, new hire statistics and interim interviews as the most effective way to present a logical solution based on fact.

Forget open-ended exit and interim interview questions that allow managers to discount information based on emotion and anecdotal ramblings. Instead, conduct exit interviews that will provide numerical-based data that drives accountability and fact-base answers. And, make sure you are getting at least a 50% response rate from your exit interviews so the information and the answers are valid.

You can learn a lot about your company and culture from new hires.

New hire metrics explore how, as a company, you have made people feel during the attraction and recruitment phase. If you aren't making an employee feel special in the process, he or she isn't going to feel special about landing the job. Additionally, measure whether your recruitment staff views an open position as one more number to be crossed off the postings, or as something of great value. If you have been without a job, then you know what a real gift your recruitment staff has to offer. Everyone wants to feel special, not like just one more body who fogged up a mirror.

Start today to increase your retention initiatives at vulnerable times.

Know when a particular type of employee becomes vulnerable on the job and do an end-run around her possible plan to leave.

Entry-level employees consider, on average, leaving after they have been on the job four to six months. Registered Nurses leave after nine to 11 months - just when you have them trained. A simple interim interview will hold 50% of those thinking about leaving the company for at least an additional year. But remember, don't ask what they think unless you are ready to do something about the problems.

Money is the biggest factor driving the retention programs nationally, but savings come in both hard and soft costs. Remember to measure everything. Additionally, companies are finding it more and more difficult to find employees with even the most minimal skills. It is important to remember, when considering a retention strategy, that it is impossible to hire people who do not exist.

Let TMP help you solve your retention issues.

Top-notch recruitment will always be essential for successful companies, but understanding and implementing great retention programs and measurements will spell the difference as it becomes more and more difficult to simply find enough employees. With years of experience and a catalogue of Best Practice Programs, think of TMP when you want to look at your retention situation. Email me with your problems and let me tell you what is being done nationally to improve the work environment. Greta.Sherman@tmp.com. 502-244-5980.

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