#Winning: How Not To Screw Up Your Hiring Strategy

Recruit. Retain. Repeat. It’s not rocket science.
#Winning: How Not To Screw Up Your Hiring Strategy
Recognize employees who are eager to learn and encourage promotion within the company.

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One of the most difficult challenges that small-business owners face today is finding, recruiting and retaining new talent, yet few have a formal plan for doing exactly that. In a survey conducted by management consulting firm Watson Wyatt, 50 percent of company respondents indicated they didn’t have a formal strategy for retaining employees once they had been successfully recruited. Yikes! 

High employee turnover costs you time and productivity. If talent is hard to find and costly to train, shouldn’t you do all you can to retain and develop current employees?

In fact, having a strategy for both recruiting new workers and for retaining existing staff has never been more important. The available labor force is changing and you must adapt to find employees to fill labor needs. 

According to Socialnomics.net, more than 50 percent of the population is under 30 years old. Calm down, that doesn’t mean you’re ancient. The new workforce is young, often tech-savvy, and has different values from those of earlier generations. 

A recent survey from CareerBuilder found that one in five workers plan to change jobs this year (2014) — one-fifth of your staff will leave for another opportunity. 

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics also reports that the annual labor force growth rate is declining and is expected to continue falling through the year 2030, resulting in fewer people in the workforce. With a shrinking labor force and higher turnover, cultivating a team of loyal employees is more challenging than ever. 

If your company is one of the 50 percent that does not have a recruitment and retention strategy, read on for help developing one now. 

1. Stand for something meaningful.

Studies indicate that it’s not just about the money for most talented employees. Rather, they look for a company that will provide a meaningful job and opportunities for further training, development and career advancement. 

“For millennials, 85 percent want work that makes a difference and is enriching to themselves but also enriching to the world,” says author John Zogby. People have a desire to feel they’re succeeding and that their skills and talents are being used in a way that makes a difference to the business and benefits others in some way.

2. Be at the top of your game.

People want to work for a company that is perceived as a winner. Not only does this ensure employment longevity, it also creates a sense of pride and fosters a culture wherein employees strive to be winners, too. Identify what your company stands for and the values that are important. 

Understanding your company’s competitive advantage — the tangible and intangible benefits that make your company an attractive place to work — is a good place to begin. 

3. Hire and promote the right people.

Seek people who are inherently motivated and who show an interest in developing their skills. You want people who are self-motivated and eager to be a team players while also being a good cultural fit with your existing team. 

Anyone hired or promoted into management should have the soft skills needed to develop rapport and be fully engaged with employees. Hiring good employees when there is poor management in place won’t help employee retention. 

4. Set clear expectations. 

People want to feel that they are succeeding and that their efforts make a difference. Clearly defining expectations establishes parameters of performance that can be measured. 

When people sense that their actions are fulfilling this desire to succeed, they develop a sense of belonging and ownership in the company. They often become fully engaged and more loyal to the company and its mission. 

5. Inspect what you expect. 

Do you have a good system in place for evaluating performance? Meet with employees regularly to provide feedback on their progress and provide chances to grow and learn within the company. Develop a recognition program that encourages those who are going above and beyond and lets them know additional efforts are not only noticed, but also appreciated. 

This cultivates pride and a sense of purpose. Not everyone can rise to be a vice president or CEO, but every employee can build on his/her skills. By investing in employee development a company can improve the talents of its team, the quality and productivity of work performed, and the likelihood of retaining quality employees because they feel valued and appreciated. 

6. Provide career development and advancement.

A CareerBuilder survey found that 36 percent of workers felt they were overlooked for a promotion and that was a factor in changing jobs. Recognize employees who are eager to learn and encourage promotion within the company. 

Create a leadership ladder that can help individuals earn the skills they need to move up. Providing mentorship programs or cross training can help co-workers further develop their skills and add value to the company. 

7. Customize benefits and work expectations for individual employees.

It will take a lot of time and effort to understand individual needs, but doing so can improve retention. For example, offering a flexible work schedule may boost employee satisfaction and loyalty. Recognize that a healthy work-life balance can help employees operate at their most efficient level and keep them from harboring ill will against the company. 

Even simple things like paid birthdays off can go a long way toward keeping your employees happy. Employee retention is key to addressing today’s most pressing workplace issues, and offering unique benefits can help. 

8. Monitor and track the strategy.

Tracking one’s recruitment and retention efforts is important to understanding what methods are working or need to be improved. Set hiring goals and retention goals and measure performance. Re-evaluate efforts that don’t contribute to the overall success. 

With the economy improving and the job market heating up, finding new employees and retaining top performers will become increasingly difficult. A recruitment and retention strategy can be instrumental in attracting new hires and building a winning team and a successful company. 

About the Author

Beverly Lewis runs a marketing agency, the Beverly Lewis Group, dedicated to helping small businesses with marketing solutions. Having served as the director of sales & marketing for two portable sanitation companies, her unique background combined with an expertise in marketing is well suited for the portable sanitation industry.

She believes that a company’s image is represented in every aspect of the company. She is an active member of the PSAI and was awarded the distinguished Sani Award in 2008 for outstanding service. Contact Beverly at beverly@beverlylewisgroup.com or visit www.beverlylewisgroup.com.


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