Your employees are your organization’s most valuable assets. They bring the knowledge, experience, and commitment to their roles that make it possible for your organization to accomplish its goals. This is what makes recruiting and retaining employees such a critical aspect of HR. As you find the right people to fill the roles at your organization (and thrive in those roles) and you’re able to provide a great employment experience that encourages those employees to stay with your organization, you can experience the stability you need to pursue long-term growth goals.
However, employee recruitment and retention can be major challenges for many employers and HR teams. After all, the world of work has seen some big shifts in the last few years, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic as remote and hybrid work became the norm and employees began to make it known that they want better work-life balance. Additionally, lifelong employment with one organization is becoming a rarity as younger generations embrace job-hopping. Thus, we’re consistently seeing employees searching for the best pay, benefits, culture, and work environment.
So, how can your organization navigate the tricky landscape of employment to not only find the best talent but also retain those top performers? That’s where this quick guide comes in. We’ll walk through everything you need to know to improve your own approach to recruitment and retention:
- Employee Recruitment and Retention: A Basic Rundown
- 10 Strategies for More Successful Recruitment and Retention
- Busting Recruitment and Retention Myths
- Frequently Asked Questions
Whether you want to combat a high turnover rate, or you’re ready to make some preventative improvements to your larger HR strategy that will set you up for success with your employees, this guide can help. Let’s dive in.
Employee Recruitment and Retention: A Basic Rundown
To start off, we’ll establish some basic things you should know about employee recruitment and retention.
What is employee recruitment?
Employee recruitment is the process of working to fill an open role at your organization. It involves everything from writing thorough job descriptions to conducting interviews and extending job offers.
Check out these interesting employee recruitment statistics from Zippia:
- It takes 43 days to fill an open position, and on average, a job vacancy costs a company $98 every day.
- On average, top candidates are on the job market for only 10 days.
- 70% of job seekers want to know their potential salary range in the first message they receive from a recruiter.
- A strong employer brand reduces the cost of recruiting by 43%.
- At least 72% of employers find it challenging to hire skilled employees.
What is employee retention?
Employee retention refers to your ability as an employer to retain or keep your employees working for you over time. To retain your employees, you have to ensure that their working experience at your organization is positive and personally fulfilling.
Here are some eye-opening retention facts from TINYpulse:
- Employees who have solid work-life balance are 10% more likely to stay with their organization.
- Employees who feel their organization has a strong sense of purpose are 27% more likely to stay at that organization.
- 93% of employees would stay with their employer longer if the organization invested in their professional growth.
- Employees who are engaged in their work are 67% less likely to leave their jobs.
- Organizations that offer remote work options have 25% lower turnover than companies that don’t.
How Recruitment and Retention Fit Together
Both recruitment and retention are important to the growth and success of your organization. Recruitment allows you to carefully identify the talented individuals that will make up your team, and retention allows you to hold onto those talented individuals for the long run.
However, there’s no point in recruiting new employees if you can’t keep your current ones. In the big picture of organizational success, employee retention of skilled talent is much more beneficial and cost-effective than trying to consistently acquire new team members. This is because exhausting your resources to find new employees isn’t worth it if they don’t stay for a long enough period of time to add value to your organization.
It’s obvious that recruitment and retention are important for your organization to get right. But where do you begin?
10 Strategies for More Successful Recruitment and Retention
In order to design winning recruitment and retention strategies, it can be helpful to turn to other experienced leaders for advice.
According to research conducted by Dr. Jim Harris and reported in his book Getting Employees to Fall in Love With Your Company, there are five principles embraced by the best-run companies in America, including Walt Disney, Southwest Airlines, Marriott, and Ben & Jerry’s.
These principles are:
- Capture the Heart. The highest achievable level of service comes from the heart. The organization that reaches its people’s hearts will provide the very best service. Companies and nonprofits that help employees balance work and life demands, inject fun into the workplace, and create compelling visions of how they contribute to the organization’s success capture the hearts of their employees.
- Provide Open Communication. Employees are more loyal when they feel connected to the organization. Successful organizations encourage their employees to ask questions of their supervisors regarding the business and to have them involved in critical business decisions.
- Create Partnerships. Many of these organizations create partnerships by sharing financial numbers with employees, both in good times and bad, and by linking incentive compensation programs to both individual and team performance.
- Drive Learning. These organizations require employees to develop their skills to perfection and ask their employees to learn something new every day. A number of these organizations make available industry-specific reading material and provide in-house seminars, allowing employees work time to develop their skills.
- Promote Employee Action. These organizations understand that to increase employee loyalty and retention, they must go beyond traditional empowerment programs. Rather, they give employees the freedom to succeed. A rule at many of these organizations is to use your best judgment at all times.
These five principles can help guide you when you’re thinking about your own recruitment and retention practices. Using these principles, we brainstormed our own surefire strategies that organizations should follow when recruiting and retaining key employees:
- Be clear about what you’re looking for and move quickly during the recruitment process. Write thorough job descriptions and respond quickly to interested candidates so that you can quickly identify (and make offers to) your top picks.
- Hone your onboarding approach. Instill new employees with confidence in their roles by providing a robust onboarding process. Train them in what their role entails, and empower them to quickly take on the responsibilities of their roles. This will help employees quickly engage with their teams and find a sense of purpose at your organization.
- Provide continuous training and opportunities for growth. Demonstrate to employees that you’re invested in their professional growth by offering frequent opportunities for growth. For example, you might invest in online courses to help employees upskill, encourage them to attend industry conferences, or host regular training seminars.
- Use the right tools for performance management. Keep your recruitment and retention processes and monitor the employee lifecycle using dedicated talent management software.
- Create an employee recognition program. Employees need to feel seen and valued for their contributions toward your organization’s larger goals. Design an employee recognition program that will motivate your employees to keep achieving and be consistent in how you administer recognition.
- Take a total rewards approach to compensation. A total rewards compensation strategy is a holistic approach, encompassing both indirect and direct forms of compensation that can lead to better employee satisfaction. It may be helpful for you to work with a compensation consultant to create or design your approach.
- Encourage employee feedback and act on it. If you’re wondering how effective your recruitment and retention processes are, go straight to the source—ask your employees! You should also ask your employees for feedback on different aspects of your operations. Often they can help you find the blindspots or close the gaps in how you run your organization, sell products, interact with clients, and more. And, once you make it clear that you want to hear your employees’ feedback, be sure to act on the responses you get. This will help you develop a reputation as an organization that really listens to employees and their ideas.
- Make your organization a great place to work. Hone your internal culture and make your workplace inclusive and welcoming. To truly retain top talent, you want your employees to look forward to coming to work each day and interacting with fellow team members!
- Build trust. Be transparent and create clear communication pathways so employees always learn important information firsthand, from the good to the not-so-good. This will help your employees view themselves as part of your organization rather than cogs in a machine and will increase their confidence in you as an employer.
- Conduct exit interviews when an employee leaves the organization. Although it can be disheartening to hear that an employee is leaving, it will happen. Be prepared to gather information and feedback from the employee on their experience so that you can improve the employment experience for other team members. Also take the opportunity to leave your outgoing employee with a positive impression of your organization by thanking them for their work and taking an interest in your future.
Your employees are the heart of your organization. With the right tools and best practices in mind, you’re sure to attract top talent and implement programs and benefits that make them stay for the long run. To take your efforts a step further, consider working with an HR consultant. These experts can objectively assess your current approach and make tailored recommendations to help you further improve the job candidate and employee experience you offer.
Busting Recruitment and Retention Myths
Because employee recruitment and retention are such hot topics in the world of human resources, there are often many myths that leaders have to address every day when executing their duties. It’s important to be aware of these misconceptions so that you don’t risk derailing your own employee recruitment and retention efforts.
- Myth: People most often leave for more pay.
- Reality: While most people do not leave a job for more money, very low-income workers will leave for more money in order to make ends meet. Others use pay to express a perception of unfairness in how the organization values their contributions. More often than not, the deciding factor on whether an employee chooses to stay or not can be based on the indirect forms of compensation that are offered.
- Myth: Productivity-based incentive programs produce long-term impacts and improved morale.
- Reality: Carrot-and-stick motivation programs do not pay off with long-term employee retention. Employees want a chance to learn and grow in the job, perform meaningful work, collaborate with good supervisors, and receive appreciation for a job well done.
- Myth: Employees do not want more responsibility.
- Reality: Employees are not looking for more work, but are looking for opportunities to grow and develop their skills. Employees want to try new things, feel skillful, and experience the personal satisfaction that comes from higher levels of achievement.
- Myth: Loyalty is dead.
- Reality: Employees want greater work-life balance as well as the opportunity to make higher contributions to the success of the organization. Employees express loyalty when given the opportunity to better serve customers and when given more learning opportunities.
- Myth: Improving employee satisfaction is expensive.
- Reality: Employees want a manager who listens and responds to employees’ ideas, supervisors who support people’s growth and initiative, organizations that provide more training in how to do jobs better, and effective, positive co-worker relationships. Meeting these needs does not have to be an expensive undertaking. It simply requires more thought and care behind each compensation plan and engagement strategy.
- Myth: Supervisors are the problem.
- Reality: Supervisors today on average have more staff reporting to them than in the past, yet the amount of training provided to supervisors is minimal. The root issue of underperforming supervisors may rest more with the organization than the supervisors themselves.
- Myth: My organization’s employees are different.
- Reality: Don’t skimp out on a compensation or benefit program because you think your employees just “don’t need it.” Most employee issues & needs are universal and not dependent upon industry or geographic location.
Employee recruitment and retention are crucial to the success of your organization, so it makes sense that there’s a lot of noise around the topic. Make sure to keep these misconceptions in mind and not fall into common pitfalls.
Frequently Asked Questions About Employee Recruitment and Retention
As you begin workshopping your own recruitment and retention processes, you may have a few questions crop up. Let’s tackle some of the most frequently asked questions about these processes:
1. How do employee recruitment and retention benefit your organization?
Employee recruitment is vital to ensure that your organization grows. However, that doesn’t mean you should be asking just anyone to join your team. Not only is a dedicated and well-planned recruitment strategy critical to reaching out to the right people and finding the best candidates, but it can also ensure that they’re excited to join your team and are properly onboarded.
Once you recruit and hire the right prospects, it’s then time to retain them. High employee retention rates are a solid testament to just how great working for your organization is. This not only results in motivated and hardworking employees but also rewards your organization with a positive and attractive reputation.
2. What are some common employee recruitment and retention challenges?
Recruiting and retaining employees is no walk in the park. Here are some common challenges that employers and HR leaders often face:
- Developing fair pay and compensation. It’s hard balancing all the factors of a fair compensation plan, especially if you’re not sure which benefits are best and how to calculate pay. Working with a compensation consultant well-versed in compensation trends can help.
- Not finding the best fit for your organization. Recruitment efforts and resources can go wasted if you end up never finding the “best fit” for your organization. This might be because your job descriptions need adjustments or you’re not looking in the right places.
- People keep leaving under similar patterns. Do you find team members often leaving after one year? If retaining your employees becomes a consistent issue, it’s worth it to find out what that specific driving force might be. Consider implementing an exit interview process.
3. Who can help me fine-tune my organization’s recruitment and retention process?
An HR consultant can be a great resource for honing your approach. HR consultants are experts who can help you with everything from improving your hiring process to designing a recognition program and implementing a more effective performance management process. As mentioned above, some consultants specialize in compensation, which can be a big aspect of your HR strategy that impacts both retention and recruitment.
To find the best consultant for your organization, consider what you need help with and the budget that you have to work with. Then, begin researching potential partners and getting recommendations from trusted colleagues. As you get to know your potential candidates, make sure that they’re invested in seeing you succeed and willing to work with you in true partnership.
Working to refine your recruiting and retention processes can feel like a big task, but it’s definitely worthwhile. After all, an investment in your team is really an investment in the future of your organization, and finding and keeping the right people will set you up to succeed!
Want to continue exploring the world of HR? We recommend these additional resources:
- Compensation Consulting: A Full Guide & 16 Top Firms. Compensation consulting can help your organization polish its unique compensation strategy. Check out this full guide and our favorite firms!
- Communicating Compensation to Your Employees: A Quick Guide. Do your employees understand your compensation approach? Use this guide to learn how to better communicate compensation to your team.
- Nonprofit Human Resources: The Full Guide & Best Practices. Yes, nonprofits need HR, too! Get a full rundown of the essentials of nonprofit HR in this comprehensive guide.
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