Imagine you had a crack in the foundation of your home. Now imagine you “fix” the crack with super sticky glue only to find another crack, and another and another. The next think you know you are constantly patching cracks with a less than perfect solution, but it is all you can do to keep your house standing.
For some organizations their recruiting, hiring and retention efforts are very much like the super sticky glue. It can patch the problem, but it can’t “fix” the problem as more and more cracks appear. The next thing they know they are on the Merry-Go-Round Named “Recruiting”. The never-ending cycle of patch and repeat.
A large part of the problem lies in the recruitment process itself. Having unclear expectations of skills and ability, poor selection practices and ineffective communication with candidates all play a significant part in how a company attracts talent.
But (and this is a big but)…….you can really hone in and create a terrific recruitment strategy and still fall short. This is where many of the folks I work with are left scratching their heads. They identified a portion of the problem causing the cracks, invested in extra super sticky glue, but still see the cracks.
I believe that is because there is little to no effort going into the long-term retention plans of the workforce as a whole. A faulty foundation cannot sustain a structure and understanding what is happening and why will provide us the solutions we need to stop the madness if we are really wanting off the merry-go- round.
In all my years in HR there are a few fundamental components that many companies don’t invest in which can have such an impact on their overall recruiting, hiring and retention:
Onboarding (not just orientation!) – every company needs an onboarding process, not to be confused with orientation. Filing out new hire paperwork is not enough. Your new hire should be set up for success as of day one. Training, support, and mentorship is what creates an especially important part of the employee experience. Do not undervalue this step.
Communicate, Communicate – oh …..and Communicate!! The flow of communication between employees and their managers should be constant and on-going. Questions, concerns, feedback, and expectations are daily, weekly, and monthly occurrences. Containing them to yearly “reviews” gives problems a chance to fester and go unaddressed. Connecting with each employee on a regular basis is much more effective than sticky glue after the crack. This becomes an even bigger requirement with a new hire. Lack of communication in the early days will see them disengage much quicker than a tenured employee.
Training (and do not think you are too busy to invest in this!) - Part of new hire onboarding must include a training plan. New hires don’t just walk in knowing the job even if they have all the skills. They need to be shown the ropes. And to be honest, you should want to show them how to do things correctly from the beginning. But more than that, employees seek opportunities for skill development and growth. Is there really a downside to this? Where you can develop skills and train for tomorrow’s needs proactively, maybe, just maybe you won’t need to jump on the merry-go-round quite as often.
How you hire and how often you hire is up to you. If you find that using extra sticky super glue works on your merry-go-round named recruiting, I wish you success. But if you really want to fix the issues and create a structurally sound foundation look at your recruiting, hiring and retention strategies yearly (at a minimum). Replace what isn’t working with something you can build on. Your employees and your organization will be better for it.
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