If you want to keep an employee for the long haul then you had better have a retention strategy in place before the recruitment begins.
Many companies treat retention as an afterthought, focusing all the efforts on recruiting the key employee. But if they want that person to stay more than three to six months they need to have a retention strategy in place from the start.
“The recruiting strategy and the retention strategy need to be one in the same,” says Karen Droz, co-founder and president of human resources software maker Ovation Technologies. “If you desperately try to get them on board and when they get there it’s not the job they were presented with or don’t feel the love anymore, that’s a failure in the recruiting process.”
One of the worst things a company can do to a new hire is the bait and switch. In that scenario the company tells them what the job will entail and the potential career trajectory, but when the person starts he or she finds the job is completely different than what they were selling. Doing that will often breed resentment and ultimately the employee will quit for greener pastures. To avoid that from happening, it’s important that the hiring company is upfront and honest about what the person’s days will be like. “You want to provide the candidate with the things people love about the job and culture as well as the challenges and demands,” says Droz. Companies need to be specific about the tasks and skills that will be utilized.
Where you recruit will also have a big impact on retention. When Steven Canale, manager, global recruiting and staffing services at General Electric is recruiting college grads, his team tries to match recruits with the office they will be working in. For instance, they know it’s unlikely that someone from Miami is going to want to work at the Grand Rapids office for that long, just like someone who doesn’t want to travel all the time isn’t going to stay in a position that requires travel the majority of the time. “We might not recruit in Miami for a Chicago job,” says Canale. “Part of the recruiting process is to recruit from parts of the country that are similar to where they will be working,” he says.
In addition to aligning location with the recruit, GE makes sure to provide an opportunity for the new employee to have a challenging work environment and one that fosters growth and development. “We continue to invest in them beyond the initial training and throughout the individual’s career,” says Canale.
While people are motivated by money they also want a job where they can advance and stay for years to come. Because of that, companies need to have a plan in place for a particular hire in terms of their career path before they even start the interviewing process, says Kathy Harris, managing director of recruiting firm Harris Allied. Not only do they need to come up with a long term career path for the individual, but they have to articulate that plan to the candidate and be specific about what will happen to their career granted they meet the job performance goals. “They have to create a plan if they want to attract the right talent” and keep them, she says. “Most companies don’t think about retention. They go on auto pilot with some sort of process they have and they don’t deviate from it. Yet they are surprised when they lose someone they really wanted.”
Once the person starts it’s a good idea to help that person get acclimated and immersed in the culture instead of letting them navigate it on their own. It also goes a long way to keep an employee if the company checks in periodically to make sure the job is living up to the person’s expectations. “Schedule catch up meetings as they go along, create a mentorship program once they’ve been there for about six months and ensure someone is communicating with them to get feedback,” says Harris.
Donna Fuscaldo is a freelance journalist hailing out of Long Island, New York. Donna writes for numerous online publications including FoxBusiness.com, Bankrate.com, AARP.com, Insurance.com and Houselogic.com. As a personal finance reporter for years, Donna provides invaluable advice on everything from saving money to landing that dream job. She also writes a weekly column for FoxBusiness.com focused on technology for small businesses. Previously, Donna was an equities reporter for Dow Jones Newswires and a special contributor to the Wall Street Journal. Through the Glassdoor Blog, Donna will provide tips on how to find a job and more importantly keep it.