How much value do you place on loyal people, those who stay with you and grow with your business? Pretty high, I’d imagine. When you lose people it can be expensive to replace them. Every dollar you spent in induction and training, every bit of experience and knowledge walks out the door with them.
So why don’t more companies plan for retention in their recruitment strategies? Too often, recruitment and retention are seen as different things.
Think about three big reasons why people don’t stay. First, the job wasn’t what they expected. Second, they just don't fit in with the culture. Third, they weren’t able to develop in the way they were promised. These are issues for recruitment.
The first bit of advice is to be honest. It’s tempting to write job descriptions that make roles sound like more than they are. Sure, you want to be positive and sell the opportunity. But as soon as it dawns on somebody that this isn’t what they were sold they’re going to be looking for the next role.
The same goes with development opportunities. The experience has to match what people are told when they are recruited.
Know Your Culture
With a good cultural fit people will stick around because they can relate to your values, rather than because of a specific role that may not always be there.
Culture can be hard to define. It’s a set of shared beliefs about what’s important, how people behave, what gets applauded and what gets frowned upon. It’s a sense of how things are done.
To know your culture, look inside your business rather than outside. Beware of presenting the culture you think you ought to have, rather than how things really are. It has to be real.
The good news is that there seems to be no single cultural model that works better for retaining staff or even for business growth. You build success in your own way by being true to yourself. What messes things up is when candidates are given one picture in an interview and then find it bears little relation to what happens day-to-day.
Tell the Same Story
These days, any serious candidate is going to check out your website and whatever they can find out through social media, online reviews and so on. When did you last do this for yourself to see what the world sees? Do the words, images and the overall feel of your website appeal to the type of people you want to attract?
One message in the recruitment pack and a different one through a Google search and you’re already sowing the seeds of doubt.
Beware of Bias
Recruitment for retention doesn’t mean hiring carbon copies of yourself. Every business needs different experience and perspectives. Here’s where understanding the core of your culture and values really matters. When you have a real grasp of culture you can see how different personalities can fit around that core and still feel at home.
A Match Works Two Ways
Make sure that candidates are a good cultural match by finding out what’s important to them and exploring how they might react in different situations. Selection processes that do this take more planning but they deliver better results.
Get it right and you’re not only bringing people who will stay, you are also strengthening your culture, one hire at a time.
If retaining staff feels like a headache, just remember - that might not be the problem after all! It could be time to look at how you’re recruiting (and maybe who’s doing it for you).